The centre of Andover was hit by a surprise attack today as the town was covered in yarn.

Andover BID, with the help of the Spitfire Knitters, placed crocheted creations on the high street as a surprise Easter treat. Residents reacted warmly to the yarnbombing, as the activity is known, especially parents of children who enjoyed getting a new furry friend.

Steve Godwin, the manager of Andover BID, said the event intends to ‘raise the profile of the town’ and is the first of many events planned as lockdown eases.

Yarnbombing is a form of street art where crocheted or knitted yarn is used to cover items such as statues, bollards and trees. It is thought to have originated in Texas, and later spread around the world.

Andover is no stranger to yarnbombing, with the anonymous Spitfire Knitters having formed in 2012 as a result of their love for knitted creations. Since then, their yarn creatures have popped up in town on a number of occasions, particularly around Christmas.

The group were commissioned for this Easter special by Andover BID, which is funded by a levy on Andover businesses to provide promotion and services for the high street.

The Spitifire Knitters produced yarn coverings for some of the round bollards in the high street near the time wheel, including a chick and rabbit. They also created plenty of miniature crochet toys hung from the plant ‘triffids’ and lampposts for children to take away as an Easter treat.

Residents in the town centre were a big fan of the plans, especially those with children. Sian, who had brought her two children to the high street, told the Advertiser: “It’s a really nice idea and the kids seem to love it.”

Pictures of the event shared online have also been well-liked by Andoverians, with Sarah Kelly saying it was: “such a lovely idea and has made my little boy’s day.”

Andover BID said the event “shows that the town is still alive” and is the first of their events planned as lockdown eases.

Steve said: “We’ve commissioned it because we wanted to profile Andover but because of Covid we can’t encourage people to come along. Normally, there would have been a lot of publicity around an event like this but for obvious reasons we couldn’t so we decided to do it as a surprise. It’s raising the profile of the town but not causing crowds of people.

“The yarnbombing shows that the town is still alive and we’re looking forward to more events as lockdown eases. We have a whole series of events planned for the summer subject to lockdown going as planned.”

The small crocheted creations are vanishing fast as children take theirs home, while the larger ones are set to stay for a couple of weeks before being taken away.