Wiltshire Publications

Painting completes White Horse makeover

BROADCASTER and journalist, Michael Portillo, helped volunteers put the finishing touches to the cleaning and painting project for Westbury’s White Horse last weekend.
The former Conservative government Cabinet Minister was in Westbury whilst filming the BBC documentary ‘Great British Railway Journeys’ and he took up the opportunity to help paint the White Horse. The project, led by the Rotary Club of Westbury, has got the horse looking its best for the Jubilee celebrations. Last month, volunteers scaled down the horse with brushes and steam cleaners to give it a much-needed clean and last weekend, volunteers followed up by applying multiple coats of paint. It is hoped that a painted surface will make it easier to clean the horse in the future. Keeping the horse clean in the present and future The paint was chosen in order to meet the requirements of both English Heritage, who maintain the horse as a monument, and Natural England, who are concerned with the surrounding Site of Special Scientific Interest. Produced by specialist mineral paint manufacturer Keim, the paint used is free from chemicals which would harm the environment, and which is naturally alkaline to inhibit growth. While cleaning the horse, volunteers discovered that it was much easier to clean the sections that were painted, in contrast to the sections where the paint had worn away. With a group of trained volunteers and a coat of paint now applied, it is hoped that the horse can be cleaned quickly and easily if required in the future. Rotarian Steve Carrington, who has been leading the project explained, “I think the best solution is to get it cleaned lightly more often – that way we’ll always have a horse. Now we’ve got a trained crew, it’s really quick to do.” With a lack of funds from English Heritage, the project has been funded by grants from Westbury Town Council and the Westbury Area Board. A significant anonymous donation towards the cost of the paint was also received.