Eye-catching swimming hats made for sea swimmers for St Austell arts festival

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report from Gorran Haven

A group of nearly twenty sea swimmers near St Austell have been gifted a collection of truly unique swimming hats.

The larger than life designs - which range from horses to pineapples and sea ships - have been hand crafted by two Cornish artists in a series called Random Acts of Art.

The swimming caps are one of many events happening throughout April and May to mark 40 years of the Kneehigh Theatre company.

The Gorran Haven outdoor swimming group were given the 19 bespoke pieces to wear.

Jenny Beare was given the pineapple swimming hat, she says they're surprisingly comfortable.

Jenny's pineapple swimming hat.

"They're really warm because they are part of a neoprene hat, so it's fastened really securely under our chins and off we go."

Bob Browning has been swimming with the group for the past four years. He says wearing one of the horse hats does feel a little odd.

"Oh, without a doubt it feels a little weird," he said. "I have no idea what's going on but it does look good I must say."

Artists Meier Williams and Sue Hill designed the swimmers hats Credit: ITV News

Artists Sue Hill and Meier Williams designed and made the caps with the same type of foam which are used for yoga mats.

Sue says all of her creations have a special connection to Cornwall or her family.

She explained: "For instance, I made a model of my dad's boat. I made a pineapple that links to Heligan. Meier has named all her horses, each one has a name and worked out a character for each of them."

Meier added: "We've got Sam, Stowey-boy, Paddy, names have been shortened from all the beaches in and around Cornwall."

The Kneehigh theatre company have been surprising people in and around the St Austell area with impromptu performances or public art displays as a way of marking the anniversary while venues remain closed.

Sheila Vanloo, who is a community ambassador for the theatre group, says it is important performers and audiences are able to still connect.

She said: "Just the feeling of how desperate we've all been to have this getting together with other people and seeing things whatever form of art you like."

"It's been tough for the performers as well as the audiences."

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