Emu hero honored with mural in Malmesbury

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A mural of the emu who helped foil a suspected drunk driver’s getaway in Malmesbury now adorns the window where they crashed.

The incident, which grabbed headlines around the world, saw the driver flee the car he had crashed into the window of a shop in Gloucester Street. After breaking into Malmesbury Animal Sanctuary, his escape was thwarted by an emu and he was arrested shortly afterwards.

While many were amused by the story, it was less funny for Andrea Herbert who had signed a lease on the store three days earlier.

“It was a bit of a shock, to say the least,” said Andrea, who will open antiques shop Antiquary next Saturday.

After realizing the shattered window could not be repaired in time for the grand opening, Andrea enlisted the services of street artist Luke Hollingworth who completed the striking mural this week.

“I thought we would try to make it something positive,” she said.

“I saw Luke’s work, so I thought it might be a great fundraising idea.

“In a whirlwind it materialized. I’m absolutely blown away. It’s amazing.

“Luke donated his time and material, we are extremely grateful to him.

The mural depicts two of the shrine’s emus, one wearing a police helmet and the other a chef’s hat – in recognition of the Old Bell Hotel’s executive chef, Dean Wade, who assisted police in carrying out his arrest.

When the window is repaired, Andrea intends to auction the painting to raise money for the animal sanctuary.

In the meantime, Luke will be selling 20 smaller versions of the mural at Malmesbury Carnival’s Petticoat Lane event on Sunday – with part of the sales going to the animal sanctuary.

“It was a fun thing to do,” said Luke, who painted the mural with help from his 10-year-old daughter, Daisy.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Luke Hollingworth working on the muralLuke Hollingworth working on the mural

“It was nice to mix work with childcare during the school holidays.”

“A lot of the emu story happened just before I went on vacation. It was interesting to watch it develop from afar. It takes some explaining.

“I hope he can get a lot of support.”

Janinka Diverio, who runs the Malmesbury Animal Sanctuary with Gary Walsh, said: “We are really delighted that this incident has had a positive outcome and we are really grateful to Andrea and Luke for their ideas, time and support.

“All of this connects us to the community that has always been our vision of the sanctuary.

“We love collaborations and working with local artists is close to our hearts.”

“In addition to the Stencil Shed creative initiative, artist Lucia Leyfield has also donated a design which we used for a range of limited edition mugs which will be available at Petticoat Lane.”

The mural can be seen outside the Antiquary at 36 Gloucester Street. The store is having a grand opening on Saturday.

See more of Luke’s work at The Stencil Shed Facebook page.

You can donate to Malmesbury Animal Sanctuary at bit.ly/3QLOIxc

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