THE mindboggling numbers behind a project which celebrated one of the borough's most famous names have been revealed.

The Sitting With Jane project captivated Basingstoke residents and visitors alike over the summer with the public art BookBench trail celebrating the life of Jane Austen and bringing colour to the streets and parks of the region.

Now Destination Basingstoke, the organisers behind the project which was live for 10 weeks, have revealed there were 20,000 visits to BookBenches recorded through the trail app alone, while the Twitter hashtag #SittingwithJane enjoyed over 570,000 impressions in just one week with messages posted from across the globe.

The app was able to record the postcode of visitors with this revealing nearly every postcode district in the country was represented- including from the Hebrides in Scotland, fully 700 miles away from Basingstoke.

Overall the project is estimated to have given a £1.1m boost to the local economy, echoing a report about the Jane Effect in The Gazette this summer about the economic boost the 200th anniversary of the author's death has provided to Basingstoke.

Destination Basingstoke, the not-for-profit organisers behind the Sitting With Jane project, revealed the figures to share some of the positive impacts of the project before memories fade.

Felicity Edwards, managing director of Destination Basingstoke, which also organises the Basingstoke Half Marathon, the INSPIRE Business awards and the Place to be Proud of Awards, said: “Sitting With Jane certainly achieved what we wanted, which was to make people aware that Basingstoke was an important part of the Jane Austen story and that Basingstoke and surrounding area has some fantastic places to visit.

"What we really hadn’t anticipated was the incredible sense of pride that the project generated and the way the BookBenches were welcomed and looked after in the community."

After the trail finished, Destination Basingstoke gifted the BookBenches to the Ark Cancer Centre Charity which auctioned them giving a huge boost to their cause.

Steven Connolly, director of Festival Place and headline sponsor of Sitting With Jane, added: “There were so many people and organisations involved with the project and that was a key to its success. Sponsors gained recognition, visitor attractions gained new visitors and everyone enjoyed using the app and seeing the BookBenches, they really created an air of excitement in Festival Place and we were proud to host the two most visited BookBenches!”