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Former Postman Makes Special Artistic Delivery In Gressenhall

Artist Carl Preston left with Maggie and Tony Abel of Abel Homes at the unveiling in Gressenhall 500px

A former Norfolk postman has made an unusual delivery in Gressenhall, after he carved a new piece of public art for the village.

Keen amateur wood-carver Carl Preston, who now works at Royal Mail’s Norwich sorting office, was joined by Tony and Maggie Abel from Abel Homes to unveil a bas-relief sign which was specially commissioned by the Norfolk-based house builder to mark the completion of the newly-created Panhard Close in the village, where the firm has built five spacious family homes.

Residents of the new homes watched as the 3 foot by 2 foot carved oak sign, which shows the name of the close, was unveiled.  The artwork also features a carving of an 1899 Panhard car, which is believed to be the oldest working car in the county.  The vehicle is currently housed at the nearby Gressenhall Museum of Norfolk Life.

Mr Preston first started carving wood when he met his wife Valerie more than 30 years ago.  Stuck for ideas about what to get her for Christmas, he decided to make a cat out of a piece of wood.  Since then, he has branched out in his hobby, working in metal as well as wood, making things ranging from jewellery to weathervanes.  He creates the pieces in his shed-workshop at his home in Scarning.

His first professional commission came in 2014 when Abel Homes approached him to make a carved sign for their Oak Meadow development in Shipdham.

In 2008 Abel Homes made a commitment to commission a piece of public artwork from a local artist for each of the sites where it builds new homes, and this will is the eleventh such commission to be unveiled.  Two further artworks are currently being created as part of the scheme, for sites in Watton and Bawdeswell.

“The idea of these public artworks is to create a modern-day ‘village sign’, a focal point which can give the new community a sense of identity and act as its centrepiece,” said Abel Homes director Maggie Abel, who co-ordinates the firm’s art initiative.

“We loved Carl’s carving at Shipdham, and have always wanted to come back to him for a second piece, and the site at Gressenhall is ideal.”

Abel Homes has built three four-bedroom houses and two four-bedroom bungalows on the two acre site, with each new home standing on unusually large plots.