Sandhurst: Calls for ‘iconic’ bridge graffiti to be repainted

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Calls have been made to repaint a fading piece of graffiti on a railway bridge that was painted almost 60 years ago.

“Happy Christmas” was daubed on the structure in Sandhurst in 1967 by college students and has since become a well-known local landmark.

A recent Facebook post suggesting its restoration gained hundreds of likes and supporters – with people coming forward to share memories, and what the graffiti meant to them.

Network Rail said it was “exploring the possibility” of granting permission.

Harriet Fraser, who lives in Sandhurst, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service her uncle Martin Malorie was one of the college students who painted the bridge after leaving a Christmas party – apparently with the help of a grand piano.

She said: “There were a lot of them – about six or seven went up there. They were at a party at the time. They wheeled a piano from the house up to the bridge and used it to climb up. Martin lent over and painted it upside down.”

She said her uncles and friends had since “spoken about that night with howls of laughter”, with each version of the story told coming with its own elaborate details.“They seem to think it was a grand piano. One of my uncles, Tim, was with them.

“He said when they had finished painting the bridge they wheeled the piano down to Yateley to the Hampshire-Berkshire border, and the Hampshire police came and pushed the piano back into Berkshire.”

The legend stuck – and so did the words, leading the bridge to become affectionately known as The Happy Christmas Bridge by all who lived nearby.

Guy Gillbe, the Bracknell Forest councillor who suggested getting it repainted, said it had become “iconic”.

“I love the memory of coming back in the car and seeing The Happy Christmas Bridge, and it was that feeling of coming home,” he said.

Network Rail said it had a meeting with Michael Forster, a Bracknell Forest councillor who represents Sandhurst, to discuss the matter.

A spokesperson said: “We’re currently exploring the possibility of permission being provided to the local community for ‘Happy Christmas’ to be repainted.”

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