Tuesday, 13 July 2010

"Flying the Flag for Haydon" Arrives At Kingsmeadow!

The "Flying the Flag for Haydon" Community Arts Project finally arrived at Kingsmeadow on a bright, sunny and very hot Saturday afternoon, just in time for AFC Wimbledon's Match against Charlton Athletic on Saturday 10th July.

On the Friday several people had been around to the various schools collecting the flags and this was the first chance to see them gathered together in all their glory. I was at the ground early and spent a pleasant half an hour getting them all up in the back of the stand and here are the final designs from the five participating schools.

St Ann's, Morden

 St Ann's decided to ask all the children attending their art class to draw pictures of Haydon the womble and this design was felt to be the one that would have best impact when seen from a distance. They also had the opportunity to paint their own individual football which was then cut out and sewn onto the flag and the ball was then stuffed with capok to give it an effective 3-D shape. It looks as though Haydon is gathering the balls in together in a very protective way!

Abbotsbury School, Morden

 The children of Abbotsbury School volunteered for the project and had their own competition for the best design. This was won by Az Khan and work soon began turning his design into the masterpiece above. They also created a silver cup out of cardboard which looks great but you have to be careful making sure it doesn't get creased!

West Wimbledon Primary School, Raynes Park

A bright and cheerful flag, this one was made by the children of West Wimbledon Primary School and shows Haydon with the West Wimbledon Owl, their own school mascot. I can tell them that Haydon was particularly impressed with the quality of his boots in the picture and wishes he had a pair just like them!

 Links Primary School, Tooting

There is so much attention to detail on the Links School flag that you can really only appreciate it fully from up close. Everything has been given a black outline to make it stand out as much as possible and the grass-green canvas makes the badge look really vibrant! It must also have taken hours of work to cover every inch of the canvas and yet another excellent pun!

Poplar Primary School, Morden

This is the 'not quite finished' version of Poplar's flag although I have to say that it looks pretty good to me! Poplar used the project as one of their options for their 'Thrilling Thursday' where painting the flag was up against other possible activities such as rock-climbing and cooking! This flag really picks up on Haydon's dislike of litter and his tidy instincts. It also uses elements of collage and applique, as well as lots of glitter and sequins!

Having put all the flags up nicely I was struck by how smart the pitch was looking and how quiet everything was, so I decided to take a short film. This was the peaceful scene a few hours before kick off with all the flags up in place.
video

Before the crowds started arriving I positioned myself out at the front of the building to meet any of the artists and their parents as they arrived. It didn't take long for the stand to start filling up in front of the flags...


...and they certainly brightened up an otherwise boring stand!

 There was an article on the project in the programme which will also be on sale for the Millwall, Arsenal and Kingstonian games, but it looks as though they'll be missing out on actually seeing them.


 The score was 0-0 at half-time but while the players were warming up on the pitch some of the braver artists were invited onto the pitch to be interviewed about their flags with Haydon the Womble. Sadly the radio mic wasn't working so whilst we stayed on the pitch, two of the artists went up into the commentary box and had an interview there. We all could hear it and they all still received a round of applause from the crowd.


Here we all are trying to get our way back to our flags after the interview was over.


Hopefully they'll all have a tale to tell in School on the Monday!

The flags certainly did their job as AFC Wimbledon ran out deserved 2-0 winners over Charlton Athletic. To celebrate we waited until the crowds were gone and then re-arranged the flags to try to get them in all a picture together.


There were children from Abbotsbury, Poplar and West Wimbledon Primary schools at Kingsmeadow that day and we're very grateful to them and all the other artists for producing such colourful flags.

We tried a few diferent poses, a bit of waving and big smiles all round. Who knows, they might even end up in the local newspaper?

I'd already taken a movie earlier in the day but I thought I'd take another when the crowd were around. This was just a quick scan along the flags from the front of the terrace 

video

The next big job is to display the flags in an art galery where everyone can come along and have a peek! They are currently on display from now until Saturday 17th July at the Wimbledon Library Art Gallery and looking very fine they are too. I'll do a posting shortly so you can see what you think.

A special note of thanks must go to all the art teachers at the various schools engaged in the project. Without your help, guidance and assistance none of this would have been possible so I'd like to offer you all an AFC Wimbledon 'Thank you!' with the promise of a big hug from Haydon the next time you see him!

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