Heartfelt tributes have been paid to the “inspiration” behind a stunning new mural at a housing estate who sadly died before it was unveiled.
The family of local artist Kevin Stonehouse were guests of honour at a special ceremony at the Tre Cwm estate in Llandudno.
The brightly-coloured mural is the result of a successful multi-agency partnership which has transformed the boundary wall surrounding the estate on a key route into Llandudno.
From the distinctive Kashmiri goats, whose cheeky antics in the town centre during lockdown made global headlines, to Alice in Wonderland, the Great Orme and seafront, Llandudno’s heritage and best-known landmarks are widely celebrated in the design.
Among those involved in the community-led project were Culture Action Llandudno and the MOSTYN gallery, housing associations Cartrefi Conwy and North Wales Housing, along with residents of the estate and community leaders.
Much of the credit for the final design was given to Tre Cwm resident Kevin S, who provided the estate’s artist-in-residence Kristin Luke with the scroll that inspired the end product.
Sadly, Kevin died at the age of 65 in May following a short illness.
In a moving ceremony to mark the official unveiling of the mural, the father-of-three’s significant contribution to the project was celebrated.
Applause broke out in his honour as the assembled group of Kevin’s family, project leaders and Tre Cwm residents fondly remembered his kind nature and artistic flair.
His sister, Pat Anthony, was kindly presented with a framed painting of the mural artwork by Kristin.
“I really appreciate what they have done,” said Pat. “It is a very nice gift.
“We are extremely proud of what Kevin did. He loved painting and was proud of the Tre Cwm estate.
“He would have loved to have been here for this event and to have seen how the painting looks on the wall.
“We all really miss Kevin. But it is nice to see how much people appreciate what he did.”
Llandudno Town Council member Angie O’Grady, who served as Mayor of Llandudno from 2019 to 2021, has been a prominent supporter of the project.
She hailed Kevin’s efforts to make it possible that the mural should be completed.
“The work Kevin has done on this project means he will go down in history,” she said. “He will never be forgotten.
“Kevin was a kind and caring man. He would regularly give me a lift to bingo and he was always helping out people on the estate.
“He is greatly missed and we are very sorry he cannot be here for this occasion.”
Kevin, who earlier this year had expressed his pride about the artwork going on the wall, enjoyed a particularly close working relationship with Kristin.
He presented the scroll to her last year, at a time when the project’s future looked uncertain amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The American-born artist poignantly described Kevin as the “lynchpin in unlocking what was possible for the wall” during a series of speeches given at the nearby Maesdu Golf Club.
“The scroll he made came at a time when there was very little hope left,” she said.
“It was a bleak time for everyone. But what he did symbolised hope.
“I also wish to thank the other members of the community for their involvement.
“It is nice to see so many people I have met during the project back together at this event.”
Sabine Cockrill, a director of Culture Action Llandudno, was involved in helping secure funding for the mural.
She praised those present for “managing to help get this massive project over the line”.
Sabine added: “We wanted to take the opportunity to pay tribute to Kevin, whose sketch helped spark the final artwork that is there.
“I think it’s a beautiful tribute to his creativity and his talent that it is in a such prominent place in the town where he lived all his life.
“We are really proud to have known him and to be able to pay tribute him in this way.”
Sabine also praised other members of the community for their creativity and ideas during the lengthy engagement process, working alongside Kristin under the project name of ‘The Wall is ____’ to help establish the best usage for it.
Those present at the ceremony included Tre Cwm resident Byron Parry, 18, who has worked closely with Kristin and penned a science fiction story set on the estate.
Byron, who was joined by 12-year-old sister Elisha at the ceremony, said: “It is nice to see how the wall now looks.
“We have been involved in this project for a long time and it is good that the artwork is now on the wall.
“Kevin was a friend of our family. He did a good job and it is sad he isn’t here for this event.”
The mural, which is accompanied by an interpretation panel, will be seen by large numbers of motorists every day as they enter Llandudno from Deganwy.
Cartrefi Conwy has played an important role in the regeneration of Tre Cwm, helping strengthen its reputation since it took over the management of the estate.
Successful projects have included the Tre Cwm Environmental Regeneration Scheme, with Tre Cwm becoming only the second social housing estate in Wales to be awarded the coveted Green Flag status.
Owen Veldhuizen, community regeneration manager with Cartrefi, said: “It has been an inspiring project. The ideas have come from the community and they have been a big part of the process since day one.
“It’s such a positive thing for the whole area. Thousands of people come past here every day and will be seeing it.
“It has been a really good partnership involving several organisations. A lot of good work has taken place over the last few years.
“There has been lots of positive feedback about the artwork.”
Iwan Evans, of North Wales Housing which owns the wall, was a member of the project’s steering group.
“We are very pleased with the end result,” he said.
“This is one of the main entrances into Llandudno and people will be seeing this when driving past each day.
“It has been good to work in partnership with other organisations. It has been a good team effort.”
Another steering group member was artistic expert Alfredo Cramerotti, of MOSTYN gallery.
“I drive past here every day and it is very nice to see the artwork each time,” he said.
“We have worked together for a long time to help make this happen.
“We are very happy that the artwork is now on the wall.”