Litfest is a key partner in the Mythic Coast project, which is part of the regeneration of Wyre’s waterfronts. The project resulted from a cash injection from the Government’s Sea Change programme, which recognises schemes that have the potential to regenerate seaside towns through cultural and environmental enhancements. Match funding came through contributions from Wyre Borough Council and the support of the Lofthouse family, makers of the world-famous Fisherman’s Friend, manufactured in Fleetwood.
The project developed a narrative for the seafront from Cleveleys to Fleetwood to draw people along the coastline and connect communities.
The Sea Swallow was written by children’s author Gareth Thompson and published by Litfest. His story brings together the project’s aims: to reference landmarks across the Wyre; be appropriate for staging or outdoor performance; have contributions from the local community; include educational and geographical reference points; be adaptable for website and other multi-media follow-ups and open up themes for large-scale sculpture and public artworks. The Sea Swallow is his fourth book. His previous novels, published by Random House, met instant critical acclaim.
The book is illustrated by Wyre Way Mythic Coastline competition winner Hannah Megee. Hannah’s creative flair saw her beat off stiff competition from over 100 artists in the nationwide search for the right illustrator to convey the The Sea Swallow’s themes in captivating imagery.
Hannah’s designs also provided the inspiration for the Mythic Coast artworks which have been created by public artist Stephen Broadbent. Stephen is creating a sculpture trail, telling The Sea Swallow story, that visitors can touch and play with. The first sculptures were unveiled on Cleveleys promenade in Autumn 2011, with more sculptures to come, up and down Wyre’s waterfront. Other artists are taking inspiration from this project to create their own brilliant versions of the story, including a mural installation at Fleetwood’s Marine Hall, and Louise Wood’s hand-sized ceramic sculptures.
In July 2011, copies of The Sea Swallow were given to 4,200 Wyre schoolchildren aged 7 – 11. The book is also available to buy online.