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Hidden treasure off Norfolk coast inspires major exhibition

Exhibition inspired by Norfolk's great barrier reef. Tompot blenney by Susan Purser Hope.

Exhibition inspired by Norfolk's great barrier reef. Tompot blenney by Susan Purser Hope.

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Norfolk's Great Barrier Reef is the inspiration behind a major exhibition in the county.

Exhibition inspired by Norfolk's great barrier reef. Great Human Achievements No.46 by Rainie Kay.Exhibition inspired by Norfolk's great barrier reef. Great Human Achievements No.46 by Rainie Kay.

The collaboration between fused glass artist Susan Purser Hope and painter Rainie Kay opens at the Anteros Gallery in Fye Bridge Street, Norwich on March 5 and runs until March 16.

It pays homage to the Cromer Shoals Chalk Bed Marine Conservation Zone, one of the world’s largest chalk beds, which was created when dinosaurs ruled the earth. It stretches 20 miles into the North Sea, with its extraordinary and beautiful world of marine life.

It will be officially unveiled by Anwen, Lady Hurt, the widow of Sir John Hurt, the late Oscar-nominated and Bafta Award-winning star, on March 7.

She said: “I am delighted to be involved in the opening of an exhibition which raises awareness both of one of our hidden coastal treasures and also of the man-made threat to our seas.”

Mrs Purser Hope, who is chairman of the Contemporary Glass Society, said: “Our work illustrates the fragile beauty of this ocean environment and the threat to the creatures that live within it from man-made plastic pollution.”

The collaboration began after a chance meeting with diver Rob Spray from Seasearch, which is a project for volunteer sports divers.

Mr Spray, who led the team that discovered the reef, described it at the time as, “like finding a natural Stonehenge hidden under the water”. He will be talking about this little known marine world in a lecture at Anteros on March 9.

Mrs Purser Hope lives in Cromer and her glass installations feature in public and private buildings throughout the UK.

Her main focus is on promoting wellbeing through community-based glass workshops. She will be running a series of workshops for children and adults during the exhibition.

Mrs Kay has a studio near Cromer and is a former professional photographer.

She is also chairman of the North Norfolk Organisation of Visual Artists.

The sale of her work, Great Human Achievements No 46 will benefit locally-active groups helping the coastal environment and its creatures.

Sir John and Lady Hurt made Norfolk their home before his death in January 2017, aged 77.

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