Council covers Banksy art over fears it echoes girl's death in 2018

Council removes new Banksy mural of children being flung into the air on over-inflated dinghy after girl, three, was thrown to her death from exploding trampoline on nearby beach in 2018

  • Banksy mural shows inflatable dinghy flying through air with girl hanging off side
  • Great Yarmouth Council covered art over fears it echoed death of three-year-old
  • Ava May Littleboy died in July 2018 after inflatable trampoline burst on a beach
  • Council say there is no suggestion Banksy knew the incident happened nearby 

A council has covered up a new mural by anonymous street artist Banksy over fears it may remind the community of the death of a three-year-old girl on a nearby beach.

The artwork which appeared last week showed a drunk man over-inflating a rubber dinghy causing it to fly into the air with a child inside and a girl hanging off the side.

But it was painted on a wall close to where a three-year-old girl was killed by an exploding inflatable trampoline in Gorleston-on-Sea near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Ava May Littleboy died of head injuries after the over-inflated device burst, sending her up into the air before she crashed on the sand on July 1, 2018.

There is no suggestion that Banksy knew anything about the horrific accident when he sprayed his artwork beside the town’s seafront yacht pond.

His piece showed a man swigging from a bottle and looking the other way while using a foot pump as the dinghy burst away from the air hose and was propelled skywards.

A work of art by anonymous street artist Banksy has been covered up by Great Yarmouth Borough Council over fears it may remind the community of the death of Ava May Littleboy


Three-year-old Ava-May Littleboy (pictured left and right) died of a head injury after being thrown from an inflatable trampoline on a beach in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, in July 2018

Banksy admitted spraying ten pieces in Suffolk and Norfolk last week when he released a video on his official Instagram site, entitled A Great British Spraycation.

The three minute video which did not reveal his face showed him at work and travelling around East Anglia in a battered camper van. It has been viewed nearly six million times.

One of his artworks on a seawall in Lowestoft, Suffolk, showing a rat on a deckchair was defaced with white paint in an attack by a vandal over the weekend.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council said officials had taken the decision to cover up the artwork showing the exploding boat and would be moving it.

The spokesperson said: ‘In light of the tragic fatality of a child in 2018 which involved an inflatable not far from the yacht pond at Gorleston, the illustration at that location has been removed.

‘Council operatives, acting in good faith, and aware of the local sensitivities, arranged for it to be covered over as part of their normal inspection and maintenance regime of the yacht pond.

Pictured: the Banksy work in Great Yarmouth has since been covered up by council workers

Cordon at Gorleston beach in Norfolk, where Ava-May Littleboy was thrown from an inflatable

‘However, the council is confident that the work can be restored and placed in a more suitable alternative location.

‘We believe in the circumstances it was the right decision, respecting local people and feelings.

‘We thank Banksy for all the wonderful artwork and fully appreciate these circumstances would not have been known by the artist.’

Perspex covers have been erected to protect other Banksy pieces in the area as they are ‘creating so much interest’ and the council wants to ‘continue to celebrate his gifts to the town’.

Barriers have also been put around one piece showing a couple appearing to dance on top of a bus shelter, accompanied by a man playing an accordion.

The spokesperson added: ‘We are asking visitors to come and enjoy this fabulous work but please be respectful to local residents.’

Pictured: One of the new works by Banksy, above a bench in Gorleston. The artist has confirmed he was behind various pieces of street art which appeared in Suffolk and Norfolk

A series of artworks (one pictured) appeared across Norfolk and Suffolk at the end of last week

An eight day inquest held in Norwich in March last year heard how Ava-May was bouncing on the trampoline when it exploded with a sound like ‘a cannon’

A witness said the youngster from Somersham, Suffolk, ‘flipped five or six times’ as she was thrown up to 40ft.

Members of the public, lifeguards and paramedics tried to revive her, but she was declared dead at hospital.

Ava-May who was described by her mother Chloe Littleboy as ‘a perfect little girl’ was taken to the Bounce About attraction by her aunt and a family friend while her parents and grandparents were on the beach.

Other works completed on Banksy’s ‘holiday’ in the area include a mural of an arcade-style toy-grabbing crane appearing to grab people sitting down in front of it.

Another piece showed three children playing as pirates in Oulton Broad, Suffolk, with the message: ‘We’re all in the same boat’.

A new work by Banksy appeared on a beach wall in Lowestoft and was later vandalised

Pictured: Another one of the new works by Banksy, in Nicholas Everitt Park in Lowestoft

Banksy shared a video on his social media channels which showed him carrying out the work last week. Pictured: Another one of the new works by Banksy, on a beach wall in Cromer

Banksy also daubed a group of hermit crabs on a sea wall in Cromer, Norfolk, with one holding up a sign saying: ‘Luxury rentals only’.

The most unusual piece was a model of a miniature stable, left at the Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth, with the slogan ‘Go big or go home’ daubed on a wall.

The image of a cocktail-sipping rat reclining in a deckchair was covered over with white roller paint, prompting East Suffolk Council to say it was ‘appalled’ by the ‘selfish and mindless’ act.

The council announced at the weekend that it hope to get the picture restored.

A second giant mural in Lowestoft showed a seagull swooping down to steal fake ‘chips’ in a skip.

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