An art project helping a community channel their creativity during the coronavirus pandemic has been hit by vandals.

Over the course of lockdown Waltham Abbey residents have been contributing to stone snake ‘loose mosaic’.

The project, which has flourished during the coronavirus pandemic, replaced the community’s tradition of placing painted ‘secret stones’ around Waltham Abbey Gardens for others to find, post a photo to Facebook, and then hide again.

The stone snake, in Waltham Abbey Gardens, is made of loose rocks and not set in the ground.

Epping Forest Guardian:

The stone snake has been keeping the community creative over lockdown. Photo: Michelle Moore

“We usually paint stones and hide them around the neighbourhood for people to find in order to share smiles”, explained one of the project’s organisers Michelle Moore.

“Normally people are encouraged to share a photo of it on our Facebook group and then move it for someone else to find. But with the worries about Covid-19 people were concerned about touching stones. So instead we decided to make a painted stone snake display.”

Over the lockdown months the community had been building the snake by painting rocks at home to bring to the park and lay out.

However, one contributor was shocked to find the mosaic had been ruined yesterday (August 4), with rocks strewn all over the park.

Epping Forest Guardian:

Residents were shocked to find the rocks had been scattered all over the park. Photo: Michelle Moore

Michelle said it was “very sad” that “thoughtless” vandals were repeatedly running the art project which had previously been plagued by thefts of key stones.

She added: “Our Secret Stone snake was very popular with our local community who enjoyed adding their own painted pebbles and the many visitors who admired the colourful display.

“Unfortunately, the snake head has been taken and the display has been completely destroyed.

“The stone display has now been moved from The Rose Gardens to the seating area outside Tesco. Although it is no longer a snake it is still a beautifully colourful stone display created by our community that should be enjoyed by everyone. We hope to make it a more permanent display soon.”

Epping Forest Guardian:

The stone snake has temporarily been moved to the seating area outside Tesco. Photo: Michelle Moore

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