Thinking it has been spray painted with offensive graffiti, I asked what had happened. "Someone has pasted a photograph of a Mr Bean over Tom's face."
Much to our team members surprise, rather than being outraged, I burst out laughing. I thought it was amusing and light-hearted, and at a time when Conservative posters are being obliterated by crude and thoughtless obscenities, it was actually an enjoyable piece of political satire.
Each day since the (still unknown) culprit has replaced the face. We have had Dame Edna, Brian Blessed, Gail Potter, Tom Sellick, Tommy Cooper and many more. Not a single day has been missed.
It is done either very late at night or at dawn, as each morning there is a new face to greet the thousands of drivers who pass this spot each day. The trouble the "artist" goes to is considerable. The face is a high quality colour print out, in perfect proportion to the body and cut out and attached with great care.
The ever changing poster has now taken on a life of its own. The local Parish Council Facebook page posts a new photograph each day. Drivers can be seen pulling into the lay-by to take photographs and the poster has been featured on BBC Radio Kent and in both local newspapers. One lady was quoted "I have changed my route to work as seeing who it is each day it brightens up my morning."
Such is the goodwill generated that Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle MP/Candidate) suggested that I was doing it to gain publicity, and said he wished his local vandals were as creative as ours. I can assure readers that it is not me, I only wish I was so artistic.
Although I genuinely do not know who is doing this, I know the area well and I know most of the local "movers and shakers" in the parish. I have sent a message to ask for a very special face for tomorrow to cheer us up on the eve of poll. I await with eager anticipation to see if my request is granted.
For posterity, here are all the posters from day one onward. To whoever has been doing this, well done and thank you for cheering up what has been a somewhat long and difficult election campaign.
|Barry (Chuckle Brother)|
|Dame Edna Everage|
|Gail Platt (Coronation Street)|