A SEAHORSE costume has provided inspiration for a community art project by Budmouth College students.

The 45-foot carnival-style costume has been in production since early December and was created by artist and designer Sarah Butterworth at her studio in Compton Valence.

Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park asked the designer to make the seahorse after learning of her earlier project – Horace the Pliosaur – a prehistoric marine reptile which app-eared at festivals and events all over the South West last summer.

The costume will be used for a Chinese New Year event in Manchester but Bud-mouth students got the chance to have a sneak preview of the model at the end of Jan-uary.

Laura Culshaw, marketing co-ordinator for Wey-mouth Sea Life, said: “Budmouth College is using seahorses as the theme for a community art project this year.

“They plan to produce 150 decorative wooden seahorses, which will be featured as a spectacular wall display at the Sea Life Park.”

The students were asked on a visit to see living assorted seahorses at the park after their visit to Compton Valence.

Vikki Gibson head of art at Budmouth College, said the project is part of the Chesil Partnership with ten different schools, who complete two collaborative projects per year.

She added: “Projects like these can be seen by hundreds in the community in the summer.

“Students from all different schools really enjoy seeing their designs up in the community and love being part of the projects.

“This seahorse project design will go up in July at Sea Life and I cannot wait to see it there.”

Weymouth Sea Life marketing manager, Lucy Putt, added: “The big seahorse appeared on January 30 at Manchester’s Chinatown, as part of an appeal by Manchester Sea Life Centre for China to remember the ‘seahorse’ during its Year of The Horse.

“They thought it would be a very striking way of appealing to the community to help stem the annual toll of seahorses killed for traditional medicines.

“Latest estimates suggest the number killed every year could be as high as 150 million.”