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Sign of the times for Griston

PUBLISHED: 09:34 12 July 2009 | UPDATED: 11:21 08 July 2010

Mick Savage taught painting and decorating at the prison and the Griston sign was the first and last one he worked on.

Mick Savage taught painting and decorating at the prison and the Griston sign was the first and last one he worked on.

A mid-Norfolk community is celebrating the renewal of its village sign thanks to the work of inmates at a local jail.

A mid-Norfolk community is celebrating the renewal of its village sign thanks to the work of inmates at a local jail.

People living in Griston, near Watton, are delighted after their decades old village centre piece was given a new lease of life in the workshops of Wayland prison.

But for Mick Savage, who for the last 29 years has helped prisoners at Wayland gain NVQ's in woodwork and decorating through working on the signs, seeing it take pride of place in village once again was a poignant moment.

The sign is one of the last he helped rejuvenate before retiring last week.

Over the years Mr Savage has seen hundreds of the village markers pass through the prison workshop and, because Wayland Prison is on the outskirts of the village, the Griston sign was also one of the first to get a makeover when the project started decades ago.

Parish council chairman, Francis Ulrych, said: “We are very lucky to have the prison in the village to help restore the sign.”

Councillor Don Lancaster added: “It has been a good month for the village. The sign has returned and we have a new playing field for the community.”

Inmates at Wayland have renovated an average of 34 village signs a year for nearly three decades with the villages donating the money that would normally have been spent on labour to charity.

Mr Savage joked that his time at the Wayland “felt like a life sentence,” but he said it had been good to have been able to give the prisoners opportunities over the years.

He said he would continue to support the prison part-time.

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