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Dagenham mum tackles graffiti by painting murals on her street

PUBLISHED: 14:47 30 October 2018

Builder Marek Pitera and Tracy Drake-Tapscott, who began the project to brighten their street. Picture: Tracy Drake-Tapscott

Builder Marek Pitera and Tracy Drake-Tapscott, who began the project to brighten their street. Picture: Tracy Drake-Tapscott

Archant

A mother from Dagenham is painting the walls of her street in a bid to brighten up the area.

The wall before Tracy and Marek began working on it. Picture: Tracy Drake-TapscottThe wall before Tracy and Marek began working on it. Picture: Tracy Drake-Tapscott

Tracy Drake-Tapscott, who lives in Bonham Road, said she was tired of opening her curtains every morning to see walls covered in graffiti.

Together with her neighbour, builder Marek Pitera, she decided to give the road a makeover.

“It was crumbling, it was so rotten, it looked like we lived in the slums,” the 37-year-old said.

“The litter, the smashed bottles, it was getting too much. We wanted to improve the area, and this is what I can offer.”

Valence House, a tribute to the Ford Dagenham workers and the Essex flag make up three panels of the wall. Picture: Tracy Drake-TapscottValence House, a tribute to the Ford Dagenham workers and the Essex flag make up three panels of the wall. Picture: Tracy Drake-Tapscott

Tracy, who teaches art at a secondary school in Enfield, went to the council to ask for permission just before summer. After clearing it with the shopkeepers who own the wall, her and Marek began repairing and painting.

The wall is made of six panels, three of which are completed. There’s a painting of Valence House, the Essex flag, and a tribute to the Dagenham Ford women, in homage to Tracy’s Auntie Irene, one of the original strikers.

There’s also a panel which reads, ‘We love Dagenham’, which Tracy said brought the biggest challenges.

“I did the ‘We love Dagenham’ stencil first because I thought it wouldn’t take as long,” she said.

Tracy said vandals attempted to graffiti the 'We love Dagenham' panel, causing her to buy protective graffiti paint. Picture: Tracy Drake-TapscottTracy said vandals attempted to graffiti the 'We love Dagenham' panel, causing her to buy protective graffiti paint. Picture: Tracy Drake-Tapscott

“But we got a bit disheartened with it. We got some grafitti saying ‘I hate Dagenham’.

“So we had to spend some money and get graffiti protection.”

Fortunately, there’s been no damage to the rest of the panels, and Tracy, who’s lived in the borough for six years, hopes it’ll stay that way.

“The whole point of it was to brighten up the area, make it somewhere people want to see,” she said.

Builder Marek Pitera and Tracy Drake-Tapscott, who began the project to brighten their street. Picture: Tracy Drake-TapscottBuilder Marek Pitera and Tracy Drake-Tapscott, who began the project to brighten their street. Picture: Tracy Drake-Tapscott

“As I’ve been doing it, I’ve been meeting people. They stop and say how fantastic it is. A lady from across the road said she’d lost her mum a few weeks ago, but seeing my wall makes her smile. It’s so worth it when people say things like that.”

Tracy and Marek have spent about £400 on the wall. They’re hoping to finish by December, in time to make it a Christmas present for Dagenham.

Tracy said vandals attempted to graffiti the 'We love Dagenham' panel, causing her to buy protective graffiti paint. Picture: Tracy Drake-TapscottTracy said vandals attempted to graffiti the 'We love Dagenham' panel, causing her to buy protective graffiti paint. Picture: Tracy Drake-Tapscott

Builder Marek Pitera and Tracy Drake-Tapscott, who began the project to brighten their street. Picture: Tracy Drake-TapscottBuilder Marek Pitera and Tracy Drake-Tapscott, who began the project to brighten their street. Picture: Tracy Drake-Tapscott

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