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Tractor man's Easter message

Tide waits for no man (courtesy: Diocese of Exeter)

Six hours' visibility at Bigbury

A Devon farmer has used his tractor to create a giant piece of sand art with the message Easter = Hope on Bigbury Beach, near Modbury.

The installation was filmed from above by a drone while the words were ploughed into the sand.

The strip of beach on which the message was created is a tidal causeway connecting Burgh Island to the mainland. Farmer John Tucker who created the message said, “The beach lends itself to it. I go down there to pull vehicles, tractors or cars stuck on the sand and then you can do [the drawings] with the wheels.”

John occasionally creates big murals on the sand for community causes and anniversaries for individuals, with messages and images. His favourite design to draw in the sand is a Celtic Knot but he has also done love hearts and flowers along with short slogans and hashtags. 

The hashtag next to the Easter = Hope message was #TPWK, short for Treat People With Kindness.

John said: “I’ve written various things, like people say ‘can you do a love heart for me’ for a wedding anniversary on Burgh Island. I have done many a love heart. I can go down there and either do a love heart or a Celtic Knot, or a flower depending on what vehicle I’ve got.”

The message takes half an hour to draw on the sand and lasts until the tide comes in and covers the whole strip, washing it away.
“If you do it at low tide, six hours later it will be gone,” John said.

The short time the message lasts, however, seems to make a big impact on social media with a video of one of John’s murals reaching 38,000 views.

The Rev’d Matt Rowland, vicar of the Modbury Mission Community, had the idea for the message to remind people of the hope the events of Easter brought to Jesus’ followers 2,000 years ago and the parallel with the lifting of lockdown restrictions now.

He said: “Normally we would do lots to invite people to come along to a church service but obviously this year that is not as easy. 

“Easter feels like the beginning of hope as the lockdown starts to fall and we start to look ahead to being able to meet up with friends and family in gardens and after that in homes, and then into June with the restrictions being completely relaxed.”

“Not only is it a hope of coming out of lockdown but the wonderful hope of the resurrection with Jesus beating death, Jesus showing us that, as he walked out of the grave, that he will have the last word.”

John’s next project is to use the sand to encourage people to donate to getting the Bigbury Church bells ringing again.

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