Today's Object of the Week revives memories of a unique 60-year-old artwork.

A  decades old mural made from stones and fossils collected by schoolchildren from a North East beach has been restored to its former glory.

The 'Evolution of Life in the Sea' mural, based in the east Cleveland coastal village of Skinningrove, received a thorough clean-up by volunteers from the ICL Boulby mine during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The mural was created in 1963 by Phillipa Threlfall and was originally displayed at the now-demolished Rosecroft School in Loftus.

The Northern Echo: Artist Philippa Threlfall stands beside the mural about seven years after is was completed,

Materials for the ceramic and stone piece were gathered from Skinningrove beach by the school's students.

When the school was dismantled, the artwork was moved to a play park in the village where it had become visibly untidy over time.

Loftus Mayor and Councillor Barry Hunt, recognising the mural's deterioration, decided to intervene.

The Northern Echo: The mural in its new home in Skinningrove has now been cleaned up

Using his connections with the ICL Boulby mine, he asked for assistance and a group of eager volunteers responded, cleaning and restoring the mural to its previous brilliance.

The Mayor said: "This is a unique, one-off piece of artwork that the whole village is proud of.

"The involvement of the local children who gathered materials from the beach which are included in the finished work makes it very special to me, and to the community as a whole."

The Northern Echo: Mayor Barry Hunt at the muralMayor Barry Hunt at the mural (Image: peter dodson media)

Artist Philippa Threlfall has completed more than 100 major works on sites all over the United Kingdom, but 'Evolution of Life in the Sea' was the first mural she ever did as a young artist then aged 23.

Bob Adams, a partner at the architects Hadfield, Cawkwell and Davidson, had seen a work by Philippa titled 'The Hermit' - which she describes as '"unremarkable" - and wrote to her to ask if she would produce a design for the new school.

Children who were about to attend the new school were encouraged to collect fossils and stones from their local beaches.

Philippa then spent two weeks arranging ceramic pieces she had made with the stone and pebbles, placing them into a layer of cement applied to the surface of concrete blocks. The resulting blocks were very heavy, and it required a pulley and several men to hoist them into position.

The Northern Echo: 'Evolution of the Sea' at the entrance to the now demolished Rosecroft School in Loftus'Evolution of the Sea' at the entrance to the now demolished Rosecroft School in Loftus (Image: PHILLIPA THRELFALL)

The school was demolished and pupils moved to a different site. The relocation was the brainchild of Skinningrove residents Barry Hunt and Tom Evans who wanted to preserve the mosaic and it 2009 it was moved to Doorstep Green Park.

Previous Objects of the Week:

Remains of hillfort in County Durham could unlock secrets of ancient conflicts

Coal miner and inspirational trade union pioneer honoured at his former Durham home

How this striking sculpture is a nod to town's sporting heritage

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Philippa travelled to the village from her home in Somerset to see its new surroundings when it was moved to Doorstep Green Park in Skinningrove in 2009.

The Northern Echo: Close up detail from the Evolution of the Sea muralClose up detail from the Evolution of the Sea mural (Image: PHILIPPA THRELFALL)

Now aged 84, Philippa told The Northern Echo that she was pleased that the mural is still on view and that it's immediate future is assured.

"The mural has been a big part of my life," she said.