A COMMUNITY has come together to brighten up local lives.

Handmade prayer flags are fluttering around a church near Cockermouth following an initiative between a quilter and the church.

Maureen Lamb, who lives in Embleton and teaches quilting, came up with the idea of appealing to people to make flags and approached St Cuthbert's Church.

She was inspired by Tibetan Prayer Flags, which are hung outside with a wish or prayer for the world or community. The idea is that the good wishes are dispersed by the wind all around the globe.

Rev Stephen Banks supported the project and leaflets were sent to all the homes in Wythop and Embleton.

There was great response. So far 76 unique flags have been made and hung up outside the church, creating an eye-catching and inspiring sight.

Mrs Lamb has been working with church secretary Jean McGrady, who coordinated the collection of the flags and, together with her husband, Roger, installed them in the churchyard.

"With churches closed we thought it would be lovely if St Cuthbert’s could communicate positive thoughts to anyone passing," said Mrs McGrady.

"At the very least the bright flags will lift the spirits of passers-by. Hopefully people will stop and look closer and feel connected to the thoughts and messages and prayers."

Mrs Lamb said: "People came up with lots of lovely ideas, there are lots of colours and designs. Most of them are stitched in some way but what is nice is that some people transferred other crafting skills onto the flags – paint, knitting, crochet, patchwork, applique, embroidery and recycling. A couple of flags even came from a two-year-old (with a little help from mum!)."

She suggested people put ribbons at the bottom as they would then flutter in the wind. "We got lots of ribbons and beads which blow beautifully in the wind. I love the idea of people being in their different homes and thinking about what they wanted to go around the world," said Mrs Lamb.

Drivers, cyclists and walkers have been stopping to admire the flags.

"I think people here are very pleased and proud, it's nice seeing people going there to look," said Mrs Lamb.

The invitation to make a flag is open to everyone. People can leave them in a basket in the porch of the church, which opened for private prayer last weekend.