NORTH Shore parishioners have painstakingly created a colourful mosaic at their church using 60,000 hand laid tiles.
Cash for the vibrant floor piece, which stands at the entrance of St Stephen On The Cliffs Church, was provided by United Utilities.
The Water Company stumped up money for the ambitious project after upgrade work on local waste water facilities has seen the church grounds repeatedly dug up.
Now after more than year of planning and some delicate work by the local community, the piece is finally complete.
It shows a colourful 2.4m image of Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr after who the church is named.
Canon Andrew Sage, the church’s vicar said: “We were thrilled to finally bless the mosaic.
“It looks wonderful, and has added a whole new dimension to the church entrance.
“The fact the tiles have been laid by members of the congregation and local young people makes the piece extra special.
“Our thanks to United Utilities, and to the artist Bernadette, who worked so hard to bring the project to life.”
Parishioners worked with local school pupils laying the image under the expert supervision of artist Bernadette Hughes and her assistant Susan Whittle.
Mrs Hughes said: “The mosaic has been a labour of love, and I’m very pleased with the finished piece.
“I have been a regular guest at the church for the past 12 months, pitching up with a trestle table at the end of Sunday service, to enable members of the congregation to make their own small mark on the mosaic, by laying tiles.
“It has been a real community effort.”
United Utilities funded the project, through its United Futures community regeneration programme.
Sean Mooney, senior project manager from United Utilities said: “This is a stunning piece of work, and we’re delighted to have been able to support it. It’s a beautiful addition to the church.
“We try to give a helping hand to local schemes wherever we can.”