Message from Burley Banksy supporter appears on painted BT box in Rothwell

A message from a Burley Banksy supporter has appeared on a BT cabinet in Rothwell which has been painted green by the company.

By Abbey Maclure
Monday, 28th June 2021, 11:45 am

The telephone box formerly featured a mural from the Leeds street artist, but it's one of several Rothwell murals that have been painted over in an ongoing row.

Openreach the division of BT that maintains telephone boxes, says Burley Banksy did not apply for the correct permissions to paint its cabinets but it is in talks with the artist to "find a solution".

It's sparked an outpouring of support for Burley Banksy, real name Andy McVeigh, with residents sharing how his uplifting messages have impacted their lives.

The stickers have appeared on a BT box in Rothwell

One supporter has posted stickers on the Rothwell cabinet which read: "If art is a crime, may God forgive me."

Andy has been blown away by the support of the Leeds community as a petition is launched to bring back his artwork.

"It's been lovely, I've been in tears," Andy told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"I paint these boxes and carry on with my life - I know people will see them, but I don't think about how many or the effect they have on people.

"Someone said their little boy was in tears on the way to school because the boxes had been painted over. People have said they were at their lowest ebbs, stuck in traffic, and seeing a box got them through the day.

"It's mind-blowing. I just painted a box because I was miserable myself and wanted cheering up.

"Social media can be a real bear pit and a platform for horrible things, but there's been complete positivity and kindness."

In a statement released to the Yorkshire Evening Post last week, a spokesperson for Openreach said: “We’ve already been in touch with the Burley Bansky to talk this through and we’re keen to continue that conversation directly.

"We’ve worked with many communities and groups in the past, all over the UK, who've wanted to paint our green cabinets to reflect themes important to them – and we have a simple permissions process which allows us to consider these requests in the context of our commercial, legal and health and safety obligations.

"Whilst we agree with any messages of support for the NHS and key workers, we weren’t asked if our cabinets could be painted and much of this artwork isn’t related to keyworkers but is instead being used for commercial gain.

"We’ve also received several complaints from local people unhappy with the artwork – which we have to take into consideration. We’re keen to continue the conversation with both the artist and the wider community to see if we can find a solution that works for everyone.”

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