Yessica's Journey Blog

Welcome to the Yessica's Journey Blog Site, a Journey through Mental Health, Wellbeing and Creativity.

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Peter Gianfrancesco from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and his sister Maureen visit – Yessica’s Journey Animation Project

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind with his sister Maureen from Australia and Anastacia

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind with his sister Maureen from Australia and Anastacia

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website

Peter Gianfrancesco who is the Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and his sister Maureen from Australia visited me yesterday to see the progress of the Yessica’s Journey Animation project. Peter is one of my Mentors representing Mind who has also supported the project with funding, help and advise.

I really enjoyed showing them both all the work which has been completed so far. They were both very encouraging and seemed impressed with what has been achieved so far. Thanks to both of them for coming to see me and the Yessica’s Journey Animation project and for being so supportive.

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Meeting with Charlie Gauvain

Charlie and Anastacia

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Eye Film and Television Website

Charlie Gauvain is the new ‘Production Manager’ for the project and works as an Executive Producer at Eye Film and TV (see earlier blog for more information about charlie.  We met today for a meeting to discuss the new ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Schedule plan, Financial Plan and Contract. The meeting went well and Charlie and I will be meeting on a regular basis once a month.

Charlie’s main role is to support, advise and assist me with the project. This will include financial, planning a schedule, marketing, DVD authoring, advise on production and monitoring the progression of the project and ensure that the film is produced on time and within budget.

Charlie’s knowledge and experience of working in Film and TV for many years will be very beneficial to myself and the project and I look forward to working with him.

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Time to Change Event Showreel – Mental Health Stigma and Discrimination

Time to Change Website – Mental Health, Stigma and Discrimination

Previous Blog Article for Time to Change Village Event

Time to Change TV advert 

Time to Talk, Time to Change – Interactive Video

© Copyright Anastacia Tohill 2012 Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy, duplicate or download images/text. © Time to Change images from films created for organisation.

Time to Change Showreel created in Adobe After Effects 5.5 showing ‘Ben and Ellie’s Fifth Date’ film clip

I was thrilled to be asked to update the Time to Change Village Event Showreel recently so it can be used at many events all around the country. I am so pleased to have been given this opportunity to do something useful, something which makes a small difference and helps the Time to Change Campaign which I feel very passionate about. As an artist I like doing meaningful creative art which has a purpose so this was great to do.

I received a lovely thank you letter and a Champions badge from Keith and Richard who work at Time to Change. The letter made me feel really happy and made me smile. It really does mean a lot to me and I am so pleased I was able to help the Time to Change campaign in a small way. The power of words and a little smile can make such a big difference to someones wellbeing and this certainly gave me a huge and much needed lift. They really understand how to communicate well with people, and they know how to listen – words can go a long way to helping people, they can be very powerful and uplifting for your wellbeing.

I have been involved in some voluntary Time to Change work with Oz Osborne in the past and it really helped me to talk about my own mental health difficulties and not to be ashamed. I think it is an extremely important and worthwhile campaign and I know it is going to be even more successful in the future. I hope it helps to change peoples attitudes about Mental Health discrimination and most importantly helps people to understand.

I am so proud to have been given the chance to work for the campaign and was thrilled when Oz asked me to produce it. It has helped me a lot with my confidence and motivation as I have recently been unwell. It was fantastic as I was paid and this made me feel very proud to work for such an important campaign.

Thank you to Time to Change, Oz Osborne, Keith and Richard for giving me this opportunity and I hope I can work again for the campaign in the future.

Time to Change Showreel created in Adobe After Effects 5.5 – Logo

Time to Change is about changing people’s attitudes, their perception and acceptance of people with Mental Health Difficulties. Challenging the Stigma and Discrimination associated with it. What I love about this campaign is that they actively engage with people who have Mental Health difficulties both through volunteer work, paid jobs and involving people in many different ways. They go out to the people and interact, they help to reeducate and involve people in the community and most importantly change people’s attitudes through talking, listening and discussion.

Time to Change Showreel created in Adobe After Effects 5.5 written by Oz Osborne

Above is a screenshot from the showreel which Oz Osborne, who works for Time to Change, has written. Below is a screenshot showing the very effective recent TV advert which is brilliant. I really like it as it uses humor which is always effective in getting a message across. Click on the links at the top of this blog article to view the TV advert and the TV interactive advert. Check it out on YouTube. Time to Change our TV advert.

Below is a slideshow of some of the screenshots from the creation of the Time to Change Showreel. I created the showreel in Adobe After Effects 5.5 which is one of my favourite programs. You have a timeline and can add video footage, text, sound, animation and special effects. I am using this program to create some of my animation for ‘Yessica’s Journey’.

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Claire Lussignea, Lead Psychologist from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Question and Answer Document

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill and Claire Lussignea from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy, duplicate or download text.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

I attended the Service User Redesign and Communication Group meeting in January (see earlier blog). Service Users from Hellesdon Hospital – the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and other organisations were invited to the meeting to discuss two pathways – the Non Psychotic and Psychotic disorder and the Wellbeing Service.
This is the question and answer document which Claire and I produced which I am very proud of. I hope that this helps towards a positive and a greater involvement of Service Users working in partnership with the Trust to help one another and to learn from each other and to improve services and care as well as acknowledge the services which are working well. The document has been sent to the Redesign group which Claire requested and the Service Users Council and I hope that it has been helpful and encourages other service users to actively get involved in helping to shape, redesign and improve the NHS.
Thank you to Claire Lussignea, Lead Psychologist, and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Marketing Department for kindly giving me permission to publish this document.

27th January 2012

Anastacia Tohill  |  Service User Council Member | Service User Redesign and Communications Sub Group Member.

Here are some of the questions I wanted to ask but we ran out of time at our Redesign meeting on 26th January with the Non Psychotic and Psychotic disorder Pathway Staff. If you need further clarification about the questions or more details please do not hesitate to contact me.

These are my own questions that I wanted to ask but I will pass this information onto the rest of the group who may also find it useful.

I would like to thank Claire Lussignea who is the lead Clinician and lead Psychologist at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and was one of the members of staff on the Psychotic Disorder Pathway panel who has kindly taken the time and trouble to answer my questions. I also want to thank any other staff who also contributed to the answers. She said that we are still in the early stages of working out the Radical Redesign process and there is still a lot to be worked out and it is hard to capture complex issues. She has encouraged me to get back to her to discuss anything further from her answers. Thank you I do appreciate it and I have found it extremely helpful and encouraging.

I hope other service users and staff find it helpful and useful and I hope it encourages and helps to formulate new ideas, discussions and ways of improving the NHS system.

  1. If hope is central to recovery how will you use Service Users lived experiences to show hope to people who are experiencing Psychosis?

How will you use Service Users stories of hope?
How will you monitor the process?
How will you make sure the process is fair?

Answer: ‘Hi – we haven’t yet worked out all the detail around how we will use people with a lived experience within the service. We will be asking the service user redesign and communications group for some ideas as to how you think this would best work. However my personal thinking is that using people’s personal stories is usually a very powerful tool.’

How will you safeguard vulnerable adults who are feeling unwell and ensure they receive the right advice and message of hope? Would you provide professional training for Service Users and what would this be?

Answer: ‘There are formal training programmes which include supervision and coordination roles. There are different models used throughout the country. We will be looking at these and plan to use a tried and tested approach.’

How will you select suitable candidates for the role?

Answer: ‘Please see above’

  1. Have you thought about using creative activity as a way to help people who are experiencing Mental Health problems and creating useful projects which actually enhance peoples wellbeing and confidence and helps them to explore their own mental health?

Answer: ‘This is a very good idea. In an ideal world I would like to see such projects being service user led but with the required support and administrative support provided by the mental health service. Do you have any particular ideas? There is no barrier to us helping get these off the ground.’

  1. Research is very important in understanding Mental Health. Have you thought about using ‘Service User’ Research to enhance the Trust’s understanding of Psychosis. Using service users stories of experience, specific case studies, questionnaires, interviews. monitoring, recording and analysing the results to help improve the understanding of Psychosis?

Answer: ‘The Trust has a Research Dept which I know is supportive of Service User Research. The Early intervention Service is also very active in undertaking research into psychosis. I can provide contact details for you should you wish.’

Are you involved with other organisations with research into psychosis?

Answer: ‘Yes some of the research undertaken is collaborative with other organisations.’

  1. How will you ensure that Service Users are treated as individuals and recognise that each person has a unique experience of Mental Health? Are you going to move away from the typical tick box system and one size fits all way of thinking?

Answer: ‘I think what you are talking about here is a change in culture and in attitude of staff members. Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust has joined up to support IMROC which is a project looking at changing the culture and approach of mental health services to recovery. It is very focussed on putting the service user at the centre of the work. Would you like more information on this?’

The organisation is also in the process of revising its CPA paperwork. We will ensure service users participate in this review to ensure any new paperwork does not lead to a tick box system.

  1. Often personal qualities, experience and skills are equally as important as qualifications. What personal qualities and skills will you be looking for in staff.

Answer: ‘I think looking at some of the information coming out of the IMROC project will answer this better than I can. I will forward you some of the information on my return from leave and then we can have a chat if this does not answer your questions.

On every job description there is a list of personal qualities we are looking for from the staff member doing that job. We are also hoping to increase the number of job interviews that service users are on the panel for so that you are the people helping to determine who is employed.’

How will you make sure that you find the right staff with the right attitude and skills to help people experiencing mental health problems?

Answer: ‘See above.’

How will you monitor the effectiveness of staff?
How will you make sure that your staff receive proper training and guidance, support and time to ensure they give a good effective service. If staff are unhappy this sometimes reflects badly on the very people they are trying to help.

Answer: ‘All staff have clinical supervision and managerial supervision and also an annual appraisal of their effectiveness. These are the systems that are in place to support the above. However we are currently looking at Suffolk’s clinical supervision system to see if there are things we can learn from it.

The Trust’s training dept runs lots of courses and workshops for people. Some of which are mandatory. Staff are also supported to attend external courses. All this training is designed to ensure staff are receiving the necessary training and guidance to do their job effectively.’

  1. How will you ensure that you provide a fair system for everyone who experiences mental health problems. What will you do to ensure this? In a tick box type system often many people are left out from being helped as certain criteria can go against them.

Answer: ‘I am hoping that when the Payment by Results system comes in for mental health this will help for a fairer system. People will be allocated to a care cluster and each care cluster has a package of care attached to it that describes exactly what someone should get and options of things that should be thought about and discussed with them. This should mean less of a lottery about what help someone receives.’

  1. How can you ensure that assumptions are not made about what someone experiencing Psychosis says? How will you ensure that they are listened to properly? Sometimes people may have delusions but sometimes in amongst the delusions there may be some real events happening which are true. How will you differentiate this and how will you offer reassurance to someone?

Answer: ‘I think this is about the skills of the staff (so comes back to appropriate training and knowledge) and attitude of the staff (which comes back to the IMROC work and effective recruitment and supervision and appraisal).’

  1. Medication is important in helping someone to get well but talking therapy is equally as important especially in helping people to understand what is happening to them, why it is happening and how they can help themselves. It also opens the doorway to TRUST and HOPE. What talking therapies are being offered as a service by the Trust for people who are or have experienced psychosis?

Answer: ‘The care packages describe what should be offered to people with psychosis depending on which care cluster they are in. However as standard anyone with a new presentation of psychosis should be assessed for whether they are likely to benefit from CBT. However other therapies are also available depending on need. The trust provides a range of therapies including CBT, CAT, IPT and EMDR as standard.’

Is the Trust actively seeking out new and old therapies, researching therapies and trying out therapies to find out which ones work best and also find out good professional organisations and therapists which work and work well? Sometimes what works for one person will not work for others so it is important to offer a wide diverse range of therapies and therapists. It the Trust using Research to formulate ideas?

Answer: ‘The Trust is not doing all the research itself. This type of research involves many hundreds of people and therefore some people in the Trust are involved in big national studies looking at this. The National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness also periodically reviews the research evidence base for the treatment of different conditions and the Trust endeavours to follow these guidelines.’

Is this something Service Users could be involved in helping with – surveys, questionnaires etc. Monitor and recording of information perhaps so there is a database of good therapists and therapies. Could service users help the Trust in researching therapies in some way?

Answer: ‘I believe that the Trust’s Research Dept is keen to involve Service Users in research. I can provide a contact for you should you wish?’

  1. What do you think of the idea about psychiatry becoming like other medical specialities where there is a range of tests including imaging tests of the brain functions, blood tests and psychological tests to find out about susceptibility factors to mental health problems, help with diagnosis and enable help in a different way?

Answer: ‘I think this already exists for some conditions but not for others. This is not something I have discussed with colleagues but my own personal view is that we should make use of whatever is useful out there to help us understand our experiences.’

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Yessica’s Journey Exhibited at the Upstairs Gallery in Beccles presenting StigmARTa Exhibition of work – May 16th – 31st

Upstairs Gallery in Beccles Website

StigmARTa Exhibition – ‘A thought provoking look at arts and service users, arts and their uses in therapy and inclusion, and people’s opinions of the words Mental Health and the stigmas attached.’ ‘Arts are used in the mental health service to bring confidence and voluntary communication back into the public life and work situations for mental health users.’ {quote taken from Michelle Payne Upstairs Gallery)

The Upstairs Gallery in Beccles – StigmARTa Exhibition

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I was thriled to be given the opportunity of exhibiting some of my artwork at the Gallery. I displayed two Illustrations from the Yessica’s Journey project – Dawn Light and the Yessica Character. The Gallery is fantastic, and it was lovely to meet the staff including Michelle who is very passionate about Art, Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Development of Yessica Character for ‘Yessica’s Journey’ – Mixed Media

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

The exhibition is so important in educating the public about Mental Health and the Discrimination and Stigma associated with it. Using Art and Creativity for wellbeing and confidence is something I feel very passionately about.

‘Dawn Light’. Mixed Media, Traditional with Digital

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

The work displayed is fantastic and I recommend a visit to the Gallery to see the Exhibition. It is very inspiring to see so many talented artists who are helping to educate through creativity and challenge stigma.
The Gallery also exhibits many artists work which can be purchased. Thank you to Michelle Payne for giving me this opportunity and for organising an exhibition on Mental Health which I think is fantastic.


Peter Edge ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Mentor working at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Wellbeing Service

Peter Edge ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Mentor

© Copyright 2011 Anastacia Tohill – Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy, duplicate or download images or text.

Wellbeing Service Ready to Change Website

Living Life to the Full Website

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

I would like to congratulate Peter Edge on his new job with the Wellbeing Service at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust. He was originally working in the Early Intervention Psychosis Team at 80 St. Stephens. I am so pleased for him and I think he will be very successful in his new role and a huge asset to the Trust.

Peter was the NHS representative mentor for the project and joined ‘Yessicas Journey’ last summer. Although I am sad to see him go and will miss his input, I am pleased he has a new job helping many people within the Wellbeing Service.

I would like to thank Peter for all the time he has given me and to the ‘Yessicas Journey’ project. I would like to thank him for his enthusiasm and interest and I appreciate all the time and advice he has given. He has been a great Mentor and has brought so much to the project. He was especially helpful with the script and feedback and I will never forget the comments he made after reading it. I knew straight away that he had a very good understanding of Psychosis and Mental Health. He also attended the Voice Over recording for the script last year which was great. Hopefully Peter will be able to come to the launch when the animation is finished.

I am so pleased that there are people like Peter working in the Trust who really understand Mental Health and Wellbeing. I have enjoyed working with Peter who I consider to be a very kind and caring person. I am sure he will be able to help many people within the NHS with mental health difficulties. He has good understanding and communication skills and I wish him every success for the future.

Many Thanks Peter

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Jacqui Dillon Website – Mental Health and Wellbeing

Jacqui Dillon Website

I was sent this link by a colleague and it is a very interesting and informative website which I recommend. Jacqui is a writer, public speaker, trainer and offers consultancy. She has personal and professional experience of Mental Health and Wellbeing. I bought two of her books on the website recently but have not read them yet but from what I have read on her website she is an excellent writer.

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Insight Magazine Article – Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Yessica’s Journey Exhibited at the Fruits of Mind Exhibition

The Well Artists Website

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website – Insight Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Copyright – Some text and screenshots taken from the Insight Magazine from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

‘More than 40 artists with mental health problems exhibited their work at the annual Fruits of the Mind exhibition in Norwich. The exhibition, organised jointly with the Well artists’ collective – took place at the Forum. Around £500 worth of artwork was sold, comprising around one picture in every five. Many artists were exhibiting for the first time, and some were delighted to collect cash rather than their paintings at the end of the week.’

‘Many encouraging comments were left in the visitors’ book, and the curators from the Well had many interesting discussions with members of the public about mental health and art.’

‘If you would like to be involved in organising the next exhibition, or setting up an artists’ co-operative in your locality, contact
You can find out more about the Well by visiting’
(Quotes and text taken from Spring Insight Magazine Article – © Copyright Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust)

I exhibited 2 pieces of Artwork at the Fruits of the Mind exhibition last year. To see blog article and Artwork displayed please click on link  (Blog Article of Fruits of the Mind Exhibition 10th-14th October at the Forum Norwich)

Yessica’s First Character Design which I exhibited can be seen in the Insight Magazine Article. She is just peeping through in the background which I thought was quite good. I was thrilled to see her there. See screenshot below taken from the Insight Magazine. I have added text to show the Illustration in the background.

Artists Exhibit Fruits of the Mind Exhibition including Yessica’s Journey

The NHS and the Well do a fantastic job of displaying artists work who have experienced mental health difficulties. I was thrilled to be involved. It was great to be given the opportunity and this is the first time I have exhibited my artwork so it meant a lot to me.

Screenshot of Insight Magazine Cover

Above is a screenshot of the Cover of the Insight Magazine from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Images of Maggie Wheeler who is the Chair and Aidan Thomas who is the Chief Executive.

The Insight Magazine is published on a quarterly basis and can be downloaded from the website. For more information and to contribute an article please phone the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Trust Communications on 01603 421494 | email:

You can become a member of the Trust and can receive the magazine in printed format as well as downloadable format. Please visit Membership at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

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“People recover from psychotic disorders all the time, all over the world.” Our mental health system’s denial of this costs lives

I found this article which was reblogged really interesting from the A Little Colour blog by Kenyatta Yamel. It was reblogged from the ‘beyond meds’ by Suzanne Beachy It talks about recovery from Psychotic Disorders. An article which gives hope and well worth reading. Hope I have got this reblogging right as it is the first time I have done it.

Everything Matters

Any diagnosis of mental illness results in a complicated and uncertain fate for those it strikes. When you lose a son as a result of such a diagnosis, it ignites a search for answers. Suzanne Beachy has gained a perspective on life as a result of her loss but is still asking, what is the truth?

By Suzanne Beachy

What happened to Jake?

Seven years after being hospitalized in a psych ward, my brilliant, funny, sensitive, artistic, shining star of a son died as a homeless person after being struck by an Amtrak train in Santa Barbara.

Impossible, sickening, and yet it happened.

I can remember when he was a newly minted mental patient, admitted to OSU’s psych ward at age 21. I and some of Jake’s other supporters were consulting with the people in white coats about his prognosis which was, in their estimation, either grim or grimmer. They…

View original post 783 more words

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A Little Local Colour – Kenyatta Yamel Blog – Reblogged article on psychotic disorders

Reblogged from A Little Local Colour – Kenyatta Yamel Blogsite

Article reblogged – ‘People recover from psychotic disorders all the time, all over the world.” Our mental health system’s denial of this costs lives. Original blog from Beyond Meds by Suzanne Beachy

For the first time one of my articles on the Yessica’s Journey blog has been reblogged by Kenyatta Yamel – A Little Local Colour blog. She reblogged my article – ‘On the Brink of a Mental Health Revolution’. I don’t know much about reblogging so I hope I have done this right. I was thrilled she found the article useful and interesting. Her blog has many interesting articles about Mental Health and Wellbeing.

I found the above article very interesting, please click on the link above to view the article and her blog.

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How Apple iPads improve the patient experience

Link to article from Health Leaders sent by Linked in

Apple UK Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Linked in Article – Health Leaders Media.

I got this article sent to me via the LinkedIn Social Network for Professionals. Please read the article link above. It is really interesting that they are using Apple’s iPad in creative ways. It is helping plan patients care and clinical care. It is helping patient education and planning their care and recovery.

I have been using Apple computers for years and love them. They are so easy to use and very visual. As a creative artist the ease of use, reliability and visual interface makes it unique in the computer world. Highly recommend Apple Macs, they are reliable and rarely get viruses compared to PC’s.

Screenshot of iPad taken from Apple UK website

© Copyright 2012 screenshot taken from Apple UK website.  All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

I think that is it great that the NHS is embracing technology in a creative way. I hope this is something the Mental Health Organisations will consider as I think it could be very beneficial in Mental Health and Wellbeing.

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BBC Mental Health Website

BBC Mental Health Website

I found this really good BBC website on Mental Health and Wellbeing. It is really informative and interesting and has a wealth of information about Mental Health Difficulties, Coping Techniques, Therapies, Medication and lots of useful links and contacts to other organisations. Click on Link above.

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

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Giant Puppets in Liverpool

Link to BBC Video on Giant Puppets

My friend Ella Goodwin forwarded me this link to the BBC News about the Giant Puppets in Liverpool. Please see link above, it is amazing.

‘More than 250,000 people are expected to watch as three giant puppets play out a piece of city-straddling street theatre over three days in Liverpool this weekend. A 30ft girl, a dog the size of a van and a deep sea diver taller than most buildings are part of the entertainment called “Sea Odyssey”.’ (Quote taken from BBC News Article 20th April 2012)

Large puppet In Liverpool. Sceenshot taken from BBC News Article Video

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © BBC News Article 2012, screenshot from Website.