This week marks the 30th anniversary of an amazing world record attempt in Scarborough which still stands today in the Guinness Book of Records.
On June 16, 1988, a section of South Bay beach was transformed into the world’s largest comic strip, measuring 170ft x 235ft.
The comic in question was The Beano and the giant front page was created by more than 100 children from 10 schools in the Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale area.
The project was the brainchild of David Hann of Crescent Arts, who, along with his wife Jenny, planned out the record attempt from beginning to end.
David struck up a good working relationship with The Beano after seeking permission to use the characters from editor Euan Kerr.
Euan commissioned a special, front-page storyboard for the 50th anniversary and the storyline was printed on the front page of the actual comic on the week of the event.
The edition shows Dennis the Menace ‘lost’ in the first frame, but found in the last, helping with the record attempt at Scarborough Festival.
A sponsor, DF Anstead Ltd, provided over £3,000 worth of non-toxic vegetable dyes and the coloured sand was mixed using cement mixers.
Each frame measured 50 square feet and was sub-divided into 25 frames to make the ‘drawing’ more manageable.
A total of 303 ‘squared up’ drawings on A4 paper were hand-produced by Jenny and contained all the measurements the children needed.
The work took around six and a half hours and when the record was finally finished there was just an hour and a half to view it before the tide washed it away.
Beano editor Euan and the writer of Dennis the Menace, Alistair Bernard, both came down from Dundee, and the event was featured on a number of TV shows such as Cheggers Checks it Out, Calendar and Record Breakers.
David said: “At the end of the day people were elated. It was really special for Jenny and me – and I hope it was for the youngsters too.
“I can remember them standing on the bridge in awe of what they’d done. It empowered people and showed public art at its best.”
David would like to know what the youngsters involved in the project are doing now – and whether it inspired them.
He added: “It would be great to hear about the now fully grown ‘Bash Street Kids’, who gave their all on the day!”
l If you were one of the schoolchildren involved and would like to share your memories, email firstname.lastname@example.org