BY TOBY PORTER
Usually, you have to grow your fingernails two feet long or get a custard pie in your face to get in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Pupils in Herne Hill are smartening up their neighbourhood, though, at the same time as getting their achievements into the book of the world’s best.
Next month they are transforming Herne Hill’s long, dark and grotty underpass between Station Square and Milkwood Road with the world’s most contributions to a colour by numbers painting.
About 1,500 primary kids from the area have agreed to help beat the Guinness World Record for the most contributions to a colour by numbers painting, and are aiming to complete this mammoth task on a single day.
Previous record holders Sam’s Club achieved 455 participants, so the organisers, Herne Hill Forum, are confident they will successfully beat the world record.
Herne Hill Forum has commissioned artist Victor Szepessy to create a design for the 40-metre long mural, which will incorporate Herne Hill’s key people, places fables and myths.
Children from seven schools in Herne Hill – Jessop, Michael Tippett, Herne Hill School, St Jude’s, Turney, Rosendale and Judith Kerr – will be aiming to colour in the whole mural with paint pens on just one day.
The record-breaking attempt will take place on Wednesday, September 12 in Station Square, Herne Hill.
Once completed the mural will be placed on the wall that runs the whole length of the piano side of the underpass.
Lucy Reynolds, project manager of Herne Hill Forum said: “The idea behind the world record attempt was to give the children of Herne Hill a day they will remember for the rest of their lives, while creating a beautiful space right at the heart of the Herne Hill community.
“The mural was inspired by local residents who wanted to have a focal point where they can understand the history of where they live.
Victor Szepessy said: “I hope that creating a nice space together as a community will give the kids and everyone involved a sense of connection to and pride in their area. And that we can experience what we’re capable of when we all work together in divided times.”
The renovation of the underpass is just the start of a wider regeneration programme in Herne Hill, which is intended to culminate in the renovation of the space above the station.
Currently the room above the station is mothballed and inaccessible.
However, Herne Hill Forum is working with South Eastern to plan how they can develop the space as a new town hall and community centre for Herne Hill.
They are exploring ways to raise funds for the new space, including a bid to the GLA Good Growth Fund.
Ms Reynolds said: “The space above the station is huge, with beautiful views across Herne Hill. Our vision is to turn this place into a vibrant forum for events and activities, harnessing the demand for a new civic space right at the heart of our community.”