The Wokingham Paper

Twyford’s colourful umbrellas brighten up polluted crossroads


UMBRELLAS in Twyford are a common enough sight.

But when a row of brightly coloured brollies suddenly appeared above an alleyway, they raised an eye – and a smile – or two.

Some people wondered how they got up there. Others were just glad they brightened up one of the darkest passageways in the village.

Now, Paul Cassidy, a volunteer with Twyford Together, has shed some light on the popular parasols which have become a permanent fixture, whatever the weather.

He explained they are part of an arts project which could eventually see a giant lollipop installed to combat pollution at the crossroads that links the High Street, Wargrave Road, Church Street and London Road.

“There have been a lot of positive comments about the umbrellas which most people say cheers them up,” Mr Cassidy explained.

“That alley between Ballards estate agent and La Fontana is very dull. It needed something to brighten the spot and the brollies seem to do it.

“I got the idea while on holiday in Cyprus. I saw a similar project and I just thought it would look good in Twyford.”

As well as the brollies, a series of pictures painted by local pupils near Tesco and new flower beds have also won praise.

All three projects have been funded by Tesco’s token scheme where shoppers nominate a local charity or good cause.

But Paul says a fourth, more ambitious, project will probably require extra financial support from businesses and even the University of Reading.

“The Crossroads have been designated the second most polluted spot in Berkshire,” he explained.

“It’s caused by a combination of traffic idling at a number of traffic lights and the roads forming something of a bowl so that the pollution stays longer in the air. One way to combat this is to build what is called an active living wall which looks like a huge lollipop.

“However, it contains plants which will absorb the pollution and pump out good clean air. It’s still in the very early stages and would need extra funding but hopefully that would be forthcoming from a variety of sources.”

Locals on the Twyford Together Facebook page have thrown their weight behind the umbrellas and other arts projects.

One person said: “I love the umbrellas. A lovely surprise when I cut through the other day.”

Another added: “All these things make our village look so lovely – thank you.”

And a third wrote: “Fabulous idea. That alleyway was always so dismal.”

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