Stevenage’s Covid the Cobra – at 3,500 stones and still growing – will be preserved

PUBLISHED: 14:19 05 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:28 05 June 2020

Eddie, 10, puts a marker at 3,575 stones. Picture: Dawn Parnell

Eddie, 10, puts a marker at 3,575 stones. Picture: Dawn Parnell

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Covid the Cobra – a snake made of more than 3,500 painted stones, and still growing – is set to be preserved to ‘tell the tale of the great way we kept spirits high during the Coronavirus lockdown’.

Covid the Cobra started with just 16 stones and rapidly grew to 150 stones - pictured here. Now there are more than 3,500. Picture: Dawn ParnellCovid the Cobra started with just 16 stones and rapidly grew to 150 stones - pictured here. Now there are more than 3,500. Picture: Dawn Parnell

The brightly-coloured snake on Stevenage’s Grace Way cycle path was started by mum Dawn Parnell and her children Eddie, 10, and Owen, five, and people of all ages have been adding their own uniquely-decorated stones.

Dawn said: “We never imagined he would grow so long. When we started him we hoped he may have reached 1,000 stones. Never did we imagine he would reach more than 3,500 – and he’s still growing.

“Eddie and Owen are overwhelmed and so proud of how much he has grown.

“Covid the Cobra has achieved above and beyond what we had hoped he’d achieve. He was started to spread a little cheer and happiness, but has gone on to bring the whole community together in a time of uncertainty.

Eddie and Owen are excited to see just how long Covid the Cobra will get. Picture: Dawn ParnellEddie and Owen are excited to see just how long Covid the Cobra will get. Picture: Dawn Parnell

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“I have seen people of all ages place painted stones. One lady, who is 89, stopped to thank me for giving her a reason to make sure she goes on a daily walk.”

Stevenage Borough Council is set to preserve Covid the Cobra and is asking for the public’s help in choosing his final resting place, with Dawn hopeful it can remain close to where it started.

Councillor Richard Henry, executive member for children, young people, leisure and culture, said: “I am delighted to see yet another example of the young people of Stevenage coming together to create this amazing artwork during this difficult time.

People of all ages have added brightly-painted stones to Covid the Cobra on Stevenage's Grace Way. Picture: Dawn ParnellPeople of all ages have added brightly-painted stones to Covid the Cobra on Stevenage's Grace Way. Picture: Dawn Parnell

“Covid the Cobra will be preserved so it can be shared with residents and visitors to tell the tale of the great way we kept spirits high during the coronavirus lockdown. There are several ways to do this, but the priority is to make sure the pictures and paintings do not wash off the 3,000 plus stones.

“Our team is looking at turning the stones into an art installation in one of our underpasses, or on a wall, near Grace Way, or placing Covid the Cobra in Pin Green Play Centre for children to enjoy.

“We want to give the people of Stevenage - particularly the children who have helped create this piece of public art - an opportunity to vote on these options, so check our Facebook and Twitter accounts and share your view on the next chapter of Covid the Cobra’s journey.”


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