An exhibition about Red Rum - one of the world's most famous horses - has opened in the town where he trained.

He won the Grand National an unprecedented three times - in 1973, 1974 and 1977. A mural by the artist Paul Curtis, best known for his street artwork The Liver Bird Wings, also features in The Atkinson gallery in Southport. Aintree Racecourse historian Jane Clarke said the exhibit celebrated one of its "true local heroes".

Bought with a debilitating bone disease, he was restored to health under trainer Ginger McCain by the Southport seaside, where the sight of him racing across the sands "thrilled many a local resident", a spokesperson for The Atkinson said.

His rise to fame occurred at the same time that the Aintree racecourse was put up for sale in the 1970s. Historian Reg Green has previously said Red Rum did more than anyone to safeguard the Grand National and "put it back where it belongs - at the summit of sporting achievement". The horse became such a celebrity that he switched on the Blackpool Illuminations in 1977 and also appeared in the studio for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. When Red Rum died in 1995, his remains were buried at the winning post at Aintree Racecourse.

Ms Clarke said she had been "constantly warmed by the obvious affection Southport people in particular still have for this great horse", adding that many had provided memorabilia for the exhibit.

The Red Rum exhibition runs at The Atkinson until October.

Updated: Jun 29

With 500 days to go until the FIG World Gymnastics Championships 2022 begin in Liverpool, Championship organisers are embracing the city region’s creativity with a new competition and ambassador. New ambassador Paul Curtis is the Liverpool City Region Artist of the Year, whose works have quickly become Liverpool icons. ‘For All Liverpool’s Liver Birds’ on Jamaica Street is one of the most photographed spots in the area, and his work also includes beloved murals for all three of the city region’s football clubs, the Abbey Road crossing on Grafton Street and bespoke work for restaurants, theatres and bars. He joins Olympians Beth Tweddle MBE and Max Whitlock MBE in supporting the Championships, which will be one of the largest international sporting events ever to be held in the city.

A total of 550 gymnasts from 75 countries will compete in the global event at the M&S Bank Arena, which takes place from 29 October until 6 November 2022. Paul is also spearheading a competition for people to creatively reimagine the Championship’s logo, the ‘Worldpool’. Entrants have free rein to interpret it how they like; paint it in wild colours, make a cross-stitch version, or even bake a ‘Worldpool’ cake, there are no limits. The winning artwork will be displayed at the event, and the creator will be rewarded with accommodation in Liverpool, provided by INNSiDE Liverpool, and four tickets for the Apparatus Women’s and Men’s Finals. The winner will be picked by a creative panel of judges including ambassadors Max Whitlock MBE and artist Paul Curtis, head of audiences at Tate Liverpool, Jemima Pyne, and designer Martin Boath - part of the team behind the Championship’s brand.

Paul Curtis said: “Creativity is a fundamental element in Liverpool’s character. That creativity comes in many forms – visual expression, musical talent, or through athletic achievements. I’m very proud to be supporting this fantastic event, which will attract the greatest gymnasts around the world to our famous waterfront and can’t wait to see how people reimagine the Worldpool for the competition.”

Max Whitlock MBE said: “I think all gymnasts have a strong creative side, which drives them to express themselves in competition. I certainly do, which is why I’m delighted to be involved in judging this competition. The excitement is in how open the brief is; I don’t have any idea what kind of entries we will receive, and what avenues people will choose to explore.”

Gemma Williams Fox, event director at World Gymnastics Championships Liverpool 2022, said: “This is the next step on our journey to getting people involved with the Championships. An event like this doesn’t just take place over nine days, the build-up and legacy are equally important. When looking at the ambassadors we wanted to have, we knew that someone who encapsulated creativity was one of them; and who better in Liverpool than Paul Curtis, whose artwork is so visible and beloved of locals and visitors.”

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said: “It’s a milestone moment that we have just 500 days to go until the world’s best gymnasts head to Liverpool to compete. “As a city we have become so used to proudly hosting events of this calibre, however after more than a year of the industry coming to an unexpected standstill, the expectation and excitement around this event is sure to grow. “It’s fantastic that Paul Curtis has been named as an ambassador and launched this competition, and as this city is a hot-bed of creative talent I’m sure the judging panel will be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a winner.”

During the summer of 2020, a large section of the main high street in the Wirral town of New Ferry was transformed. A row of shops which had somewhat ordinary facias, some in need of a little TLC, were transformed in just a few weeks into something very special. The centre pieces of this transformation was the farmyard murals at Boysenberry and Edge & Sons Butchers. Boysenberry was adorned with five black saddleback piglets, whilst the front of Edge & Sons Butchers was decorated with two moody brooding Highland Cows. The impact of the these street art works alone and as part of a larger 5 mural strip, was massive. The locals and visitors have unanimously given the work the thumbs up and really taken it to their hearts.

Phase one of the project has been so successful that Phase 2 has been given the green light by both the New Ferry Residents Association and Wirral Council and will begin in February 2021.

Head over to the webpage to check out more of the murals.

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