Larne ‘rocks’ keeping kids moving outdoors

Some of the stones which have been hidden.
Some of the stones which have been hidden.

Larne is “rocking” with a new game which is capturing the imagination of those visiting the town’s parks and promenade during half-term.

“Larne Rocks” is a new Facebook page which was set up by Suzanne Beggs to encourage residents to keep an eye out for painted stones.

She explained that the idea came to her after finding decorated stones along the shore during a visit to Portrush.

Anyone who finds a painted stone is asked to hide it again.

Although the fun is enjoyed mainly by children, residents of all ages and businesses are getting involved.

To get the ball rolling, Suzanne started by hiding 30 hand-painted stones along the promenade early one stormy morning. This was followed by a further 20.

“That weekend, the weather was really bad, then it just seemed to take off. Everybody is loving it.

“The aim is to make people happy,” said Suzanne who is a child care worker interested in mental health issues.

“It is really just to get people out, to be physical and to get off their tablets.

“The main incentive of the whole thing is to get children out enjoying themselves in a free task that doesn’t cost a fortune.

“It is a game to kids but it is not just aimed at children.”

Just a week later, she indicated that she is surprised by how the Larne rocks game has “taken off”.

“I can’t believe how well everybody has taken to it. It is lovely.

One parent said: “It’s a fantastic way to get kids out in the fresh air with their parents.”

Another said: “Kids are loving it. It’s a great way getting them out and having fun.”

Suzanne suggested that acrylic paint and permanent markers are ideal for painting stones.

However, she has urged people not to be writing explicit messages saying that it is “unacceptable” after a rock with an “inappropriate message” was found in the Town Park area.

The incident has been reported to the PSNI.

“This is totally unacceptable and thankfully the child was too young to read the message. In the meantime, can everyone please report if any more of these are found and keep in your possession for the PSNI.”