SOUTHEND’S secret “Sandbanksy” was unmasked on Good Friday as he returned to create a special Easter sculpture.
Jim Kilpin, 44, from Southend, is a part-time minister at Avenue Baptist Church, in Westcliff, and gained notoriety last month for his intricate artworks in the beach below the Cliffs Pavilion, in Westcliff.
Only a select few, including his wife, Juliet, and members of the church, knew what the purpose of his art was and kept the secret hidden until Good Friday.
Mr Kilpin and some friends returned to the beach at 8.30am on Friday, armed with a stick and some rope, to mark out two labyrinths in the sand for people to walk through.
Other members of the church joined him on the esplanade offering hot drinks and hot cross buns throughout the morning.
Visitors to the seaside flocked to try out the labyrinth.
Mr Kilpin said: “Sandbanksy isn’t really one person, it’s more of a concept.
“The things I did last month were just practicing for today. I chose the day as the tides would be exactly the same as Good Friday.
“I only came down to do the labyrinth last time, but got carried away and did all the other patterns. It was quite therapeutic.”
Jim, who had to make a second labyrinth in the sand as the first became too busy, was amused with the reporting of Sandbanksy’s previous exploits.
He added: “It was funny reading people’s theories. I particularly liked a comment on the Echo’s website that said it was just a guy with a rake.
“They’re all drawn free-hand but there are some tools of the trade that we use.”
Joining the sand art on the beach were three crosses stuck in the sand.
The crosses had been decorated by different groups at the church, one by Sunday school children, one by teens, and another by the Seekers organisation, a group of adults with learning disabilities.
To see more of Sandbanksy’s work visit www.facebook.com /sandbanksysandart.
Jim Kilpin and friends, chose Good Friday to share his sand labyrinth with the public due to its religious significance.
Labyrinths are commonly found in the grounds of religious buildings and have just one way in and out.
Jim provided information sheets at the start of his creations, instructing people to pick up a small pebble before entering to symbolise any attitudes, habits or situations the person may be struggling with.
When walking to the centre of the labyrinth, people were asked to consider what they asked of God and what he asked in return. At the centre, they placed the pebble on the ground and returned through the maze while asking God to show them how things might be different after leaving the labyrinth.
Andrew Picton, minister at Avenue Baptist Church, said: “I think the Easter story can get trapped within a church building.
“For it to have a powerful impact, it needs to go out into the community and this is one way of doing that.
“It is a way of engaging with God over the Easter weekend and encouraging people to think about the Easter story.”