Marlborough's Merlin is ready for Monday's Magna Carta parade - but his hat has been shrunk
Monday (June 15) is the 800th anniversary of the day that the first version of Magna Carta was sealed at Runnymede and the long and slow march towards liberty and democracy began.
On Monday evening a parade of baronial carnival-style puppets - one from each of the county's community areas - will wind its way through Salisbury, ending at the cathedral which houses one of the surviving copies of the document that was sealed by King John and those angry barons.
A group of visual arts students from St John's Academy's International Baccalaureate programme have been preparing the Marlborough Area baron - named and dressed as Merlin. Marlborough was not represented by a local baron at Runnymede, so the students thought he should become Merlin, who has strong connections to the town - if only in folk-lore.
There were no off-the-peg clothes available for this larger-than-life puppet. So Merlin will have a specially designed blue cloak - haute couture for a very high figure. In one hand Merlin is clutching a distinguished looking wand. The other hand is empty but quite prepared to give the crowds a wave.
The students have had to make some compromise decisions about Merlin. They wanted him to have a tall, wizard-type hat. But as the parade has to pass under a low bridge they were faced with a 'Height Restriction' warning and his hat has had to shrink.
Merlin will be accompanied in the parade by a large banner portraying the area. This is being decorated by the Phoenix Club - a group for young people with special educational needs who meet in the St Margaret's Mead Centre. Also working on designs for this banner will be The Network group for adults with learning disabilities who also use the Centre.