Community responds to vandalism in cow tunnel with beautiful mural

July 30, 2019, 10:38 a.m.
Visitors stroll through the newly revitalized Victorian cow tunnel in Portslade in the U.K.
Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Cif

There's an old tunnel in Portslade in Sussex in the U.K. that was once used to move cattle beneath a railroad line. The cows are long gone, but few people were using the dirty and poorly lit tunnel. Then, about six months ago, vandals started a fire in the tunnel, leaving it severely smoke damaged,

But community members weren't ready to give up. The Friends of Vale Park, who look after a nearby park, received a grant to rejuvenate the bovine pathway. About 30 volunteers went to work with buckets, scrubbing brushes and cleanser, tackling the soot and grime that covered the long-forgotten tunnel. They were backed by funds from the Hello Beautiful Neighborhood Project, a revitalization effort supported by Cif, a brand of household cleaning products.

"It was inspirational," Patricia Sauer, chair of the Friends of Vale Park, said in a release. "The volunteers, ranging from children to older residents, donned protective wear and scrubbed and scrubbed. Many told stories, told of walking to school under the tunnel years ago. One lady had been unwell last year and felt proud to be on her feet doing this."

After the volunteers spent about three hours cleaning, local artist HarpoArt plastered the walls with a colorful mural featuring a bright yellow ceiling and, of course, lots of cows.

Jeff Coventry-Fenn, Friends of Vale Park, mural for cattle arch in Portslade When the cow tunnel next to Vale Park became a 'no-go' zone, Friends of Vale Park members including Jeff Coventry-Fenn decided to do something about it. The cattle arch in Portslade looks much more welcoming after their efforts and the work of local artist HarpoArt brought the space back to life. (Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Cif)