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 Park asked the designer to make the seahorse after learning of her earlier project; Horace the Pliosaur, a prehistoric marine reptile which appeared 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 Budmouth students received a sneak preview first.

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

“They plan to produce 150 decorative wooden seahorses and feature them 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.

Weymouth Sea Life marketing manager, Lucy Putt, added: “The big seahorse appeared yesterday (Thursday jan30) morning 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.”