Hebburn children leave hundreds of hand-painted stones at beauty spot to help brighten community's days

An idea started by two best friends has seen hundreds of hand-painted stones cheering residents up in Hebburn.

Five-year-old Harriet Barry and her friend Ellie Griffiths, eight, had no idea how big their idea would grow when they left a selection of stones on Mill Lane at the entrance to Hebburn Quarry pond last week.

Harriet and Ellie, pupils at St Oswalds CE VA Primary School in Hebburn, dedicated one to the NHS and painted others in bright colours to cheer people up.

Now more than 140 different ones have been left nearby, all decorated by local children and their parents.

Harriet Barry (left) and Ellie Griffiths decorated the first stones at Hebburn quarry.

Harriet and her mum Leanne Evitt have been taking a daily walk up to the Quarry since the school’s closed and the country went into lockdown due to the outbreak of coronavirus in March.

After seeing other displays elsewhere in the region, Harriett and Ellie decided to create their own for Hebburn residents.

Now they are hoping to see it snake its way all the way around the quarry path.

"I was going to take the girls to see a snake that had been made by children in Gateshead, but we thought why not just create our own so that all the kids in Hebburn can get involved,” said Leanne, 39.

More than 140 stones have been painted by local children and their parents.

“It’s taken off so well, we’ve had an amazing response from the kids and their parents.

“People are adding to it every day. I counted 140 stones just a few days after we started it.”

Leanne says Harriett and Ellie have been going to check on Quarantina the Quarry Snake every day, come rain or shine.

Everyone is invited to add their own stones to the snake.

“Me and Harriet have been going up to the quarry for our walks during lockdown so now we go to cheek on it every day.

“We’re seeing it grow all the time, and we’re hoping it’s going to reach all the way around.”

It even has it's own Facebook group with more than 600 members.

Leanne added: “The children get really excited watching it grow.

Some of the painted stones are dedicated to the NHS.

“We don’t know when they are going to be able to go back to school so it's nice for them to have something to cheer them up and keep them smiling.”

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