Wiltshire Publications

Grey mare to White Horse! Volunteers take to the hills to clean local landmark

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018 at 12:05 pm.

White Horse News reporter Lauren Balchin cleaning the horse. Picture: Ocuair.com


THE iconic landmark upon Westbury’s hills is gleaming once again, thanks to local clubs and volunteers who abseiled across the carved horse with pressure washers, revealing the bright white underneath.

Over the weekend of Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th June, volunteers from Westbury Rotary Club, Westbury Rugby Club and residents from the town took to the hills to complete the cleaning of the iconic White Horse. White Horse News reporter, Lauren Balchin, even took to the heights and cleaned parts of the horse’s head. The work was carried out under the supervision of organiser, Andrew Thomas from Westbury Town Council and Dave Talbot from Adventure Events based in Bristol, who was in control of the abseil ropes.

Many people in the town were following the progress on social media as the grey faded to bright white and were thrilled to finally see the horse back to its groomed self, thanking the volunteers who were involved.

Steve Carrington, volunteer and third time organiser of the White Horse clean-ups said, “It’s looking lovely and white now, but one thing is cleaning it and another is keeping it clean. We are currently looking into a long term scheme for the White Horse and this will be the next phase

of  our work.

“There is a lot of interest around this iconic landmark. National England are interested in it from a special scientific interest, with wild species of butterflies cultivating here in the grass. English Heritage are interested as it is a historic monument, Westbury Town Council’s interest comes from a matter of civic pride, local businesses who use it as a point of reference in their advertising and the local people.

“There has been a lot of stick from people about how grey it was and we are glad that people have volunteered to help us clean it, it means a lot. Westbury Rugby Club and the Rotary Club have been enormous help during the process and it’s great when people come together for civic action.  It looks fantastic at the moment, but we do need a long-term plan to keep it looking its best.”

Andrew Thomas, town council caretaker and organiser of the clean-up said, “We are so thankful to the volunteers that turned up over the weekend to help us achieve it in the given time.

“It is such an icon for the town and local area, which you can even see when driving in from Bath. During the cleaning, the car park here was full of foreign tourists who had come to use the hill for activities, so it definitely draws in tourism to the town.

“It’s great that the rugby club has got involved, they have been a huge help, it’s great that it also coincided with NatWest RugbyForce weekend where rugby clubs across the country are lending a hand doing DIY jobs for the local community.

“I would also like to thank the amazing support we have received from the Rotary Club, Hire Standards who have sponsored us with gloves and goggles and IdVerde who sponsored us with material equipment.”

Verity Bartlett, one of the volunteers who took to the horse told White Horse News, “It was really good to abseil down and clean the horse. It’s very worthwhile as it is such an icon that is part and parcel of the town, and to the West of England. It is important to try to keep it up together.”

Mayor of Westbury, cllr Ian Cunningham, visited the clean-up to offer moral support to the volunteers saying, “I am sure everyone will agree, it looks splendid. I would like to thank the following; the volunteers who undertook a variety of duties at the weekend including those from the Rugby club and the Rotary club; Andrew Thomas (Westbury Town Council’s town caretaker) who worked with English Heritage and Natural England to arrange all the necessary permissions and who, with white horse cleaning veteran, Steve Carrington, organised the weekend and ran the site; Hire Standards and Id Verde who helped out with additional equipment; English Heritage and Natural England for their input and all the staff and councillors at the town council who were involved in meetings, planning and preparation. It was a great community effort.”

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