Murals cover 1970s concrete Hardwicke Circus subways

Section of mural on subway at Hardwicke Circus, Carlisle
Image caption Carlisle's urban and rural history is reflected in the Sands Centre subway mural
Mural on Hardwicke Circus subway to Bitts Park
Image caption Nature and leisure were Paul Leith's inspiration in the Bitts Park subway

Murals of leafy parks, local history and custard creams are being painted on two 1970s concrete subways in Carlisle.

Illustrators Rosemary Cunningham and Paul Leith are revitalising underpasses leading from Hardwicke Circus to Bitts Park and the Sands Centre.

The work is part of the national Let's Colour project, supported by councils and other regeneration groups.

Ms Cunningham said it was an "exhausting" and "massively daunting" challenge.

But she said: "Now that there's paint on the walls and it's beginning to actually take shape, I'm in awe of it."

'Sick bags'

Her mural reflects local landmarks and history, including the Carlisle coat of arms and the custard cream biscuit, which is made in the city.

Lydia Leith, known for designing Royal Wedding sick bags, helped her father, Paul, co-ordinate plans for his mural in the subway leading to Bitts Park.

"The people who first got in touch with me must have heard of me through the sick bags and, last year, I did jelly moulds of the Queen as well," she said.

She suggested organisers contact her father, an established illustrator, instead.

His mural includes walkers, dogs, tennis players, trees and flowers.

Offenders working with the Cumbria Probation Trust pre-painted the subways' walls.

Trust programme supervisor John Morley said: "We are committed to making sure that offenders put something back into the communities they have damaged."

The artists have also been helped by more than 40 volunteers and were given 200 litres of paint by Dulux.

Carlisle City Council leader Joe Hendry said the designs would make a "lasting difference".

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