Volunteer lands creative role in lantern parade

AFTER six years working as a volunteer, artist Andy Keir has landed a role working to create the Light Up The Valley lantern procession in Stacksteads.

Andy, 41, from Bacup, will be working alongside respected community artists Ruth Evans and her son Felix to run workshops to create the lanterns.

The Boo, the Horse and Bamboo Theatre in Waterfoot, is managing the Valley of Light procession for community group Stacksteads Countryside Park Group and the parade will be held on Saturday October 28.

Andy is originally from Bury but has lived in Bacup for 13 years. He said: “The Job Centre in Rawtenstall sent me along to a careers’ fair and alongside more traditional industries and jobs there was a display by The Boo.

“I got talking to Executive Director Esther Ferry-Kerrington and offered my services as a volunteer and it all started from there.

“I have always enjoyed creative things because I have a weird imagination. It has been good for me to volunteer at The Boo because I have got to spend time in a creative environment rather than just be working on my computer on my own.”

Andy studied media, film and TV production and has a degree in animation.

At the popular Puppet Festival at The Boo, Andy was invited to create an animation that was shown to the public.

It was a montage of some old ideas and new creations and was well received by the audience.

One of his animations on recycling features a cardboard box trying to escape from a recycling centre and another tells the story a robot that is trapped in a cave and is trying to get out.

He also helped to run creative workshops so children could make their own puppets and characters that they would then see on stage.

Andy said: “I am looking forward to working with Ruth and Felix and to helping people be creative and explore their imaginations to create some exciting lanterns for the procession.”

The Arts Council funded lantern procession was first held in 2015 and since then has grown each year.

Public workshops will be held in Bacup on: Saturday August 26 from 10am to 4pm at Stubbylee Community Greenhouses and on Thursday August 31 from noon to 3pm at Bacup Cricket Club.