Why decorated rocks in Northampton is bringing one community together

Donna Marriot, started up the Facebook group earlier this year. (Here she is pictured with her three sons).
Donna Marriot, started up the Facebook group earlier this year. (Here she is pictured with her three sons).

Hand-painted rocks in one Northampton community is getting children, parents and grandparents out and about in the fresh air again.

Donna Marriot of Duston discovered the handpainted stone craze while in Norfolk after she found a brightly decorated rock on the beach.

Charity Cobblers-themed rocks can be bought on the Facebook page by contacting Donna.

Charity Cobblers-themed rocks can be bought on the Facebook page by contacting Donna.

She thought she would play along herself and began hiding the rocks for others to find.

On her return to Northampton, she decided to get the ball rolling in Duston, and after a few failed attempts, she set up the Facebook group 'Love on the Rocks Duston' and hid 20 rocks for others to find.

Within six weeks her group has built up a community of 950 members, who each go out and about on the search for painted rocks before re-hiding them for others to find.

She said: "Parents have said children are loving it and adults without children are playing too.

The astronaut story stone rocks take Donna about one day to paint and can be bought for 10 - with all proceeds split between two local causes.

The astronaut story stone rocks take Donna about one day to paint and can be bought for 10 - with all proceeds split between two local causes.

"I've been told it's helped bring the community together, it's getting children wanting to go out with parents to walk to school and walk the dog.

"And one lady who recently lost her little grandson posted saying it was helping her overcome her anxiety and depression through creating the rocks and hiding them."

The brains behind the Facebook group are now selling hand-painted rocks for £5 as well as painting a collection of 14 themed 'story stones' for £10 - with all proceeds going towards two local causes.

One recipient is reception pupil Harry Restall, of Duston, was diagnosed with diplegic cerebral palsy when he was a baby and his only hope of walking is undergoing life-changing surgery and extensive physiotherapy in the USA, which is not funded by the NHS.

Another is Megan's Flutterby Fund - a charity that helps disabled and children with life-limiting illnesses by providing them with specialist equipment that is not funded by the NHS.

Donna, who is a mum-of-three, paints the rocks herself.

She said: "The response to the charity rocks has been absolutely brilliant and a small group of six of us are very busy with orders requested by group members."