Community restore Lancing’s iconic Millennium Handshake

Volunteers working to restore Beach Green's Millennium Handshake
Volunteers working to restore Beach Green's Millennium Handshake

Aliens will once again be able to spot an ‘iconic symbol’ of friendship on Beach Green – thanks to renovation work carried out by the community on the sculpture.

The Millennium Handshake, a maze carved into the grass and marked with engraved wooden posts, designed to be ‘seen from space’, was thought up by teenagers from Lancing Youth Centre and Boundstone Youth Wing in 2000.

The opening ceremony in 2000. Natalie Gander is pictured in a white t-shirt

The opening ceremony in 2000. Natalie Gander is pictured in a white t-shirt

The sculpture, which supposedly looks like a handshake when viewed from above, had not been ‘sufficiently maintained’ and had begun to look ‘neglected’, according to Widewater ward councillor Geoff Patmore.

He has enlisted the support of Keep Lancing Lovely and other community members to help excavate the path of the maze. A group of around six met for a second clearing session on Friday morning.

Mr Patmore said: “It’s been a community enterprise, to get it cleaned up and into a tourist attraction. It’s such a shame to let it get into the condition it has. The kids love it – they’re fascinated by it.”

Natalie Gander, who came along on Friday, was one of the original people involved in setting up the project.

“Natalie was overjoyed to see the renovation work and it brought back fond memories for her from 17 years ago,” Mr Patmore said.

The project, originally coordinated by Tarmount Community Artists, also included five flower beds on the green, which have been well maintained.

Mr Patmore hopes the restoration work will be finished by tomorrow, allowing the community to ‘rediscover’ the sculpture.

He also plans to secure funding for a new plaque at the site, explaining its history.

The ideas will be brought up for discussion at a Parish Council meeting tonight (Wednesday, January 11).

His long-term plan is to develop a history trail around Lancing, featuring the maze.

He said: “Lancing has so much history, but we will lose it forever if we don’t encourage people to take notice.”

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