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Six-year-old’s ‘unicorn’ urges people to stay at home during lockdown

A six-year-old girl in Wales is using a friendly “unicorn” to urge tourists and walkers to stay at home.

Ella James has made the most of her time in lockdown by painting her pony Prince in rainbow colours to share the message that people should not travel and risk spreading coronavirus to rural communities.

Ella’s mum Emma James-Winn, a self-employed hairdresser in Rosemarket, Pembrokeshire, told H&H she had been talking to her daughter about painting rainbows to put in the window but Ella had other ideas.

“I said to her ‘let’s do a rainbow for stay at home, stay safe’ but it ended up going on the pony!” she said.

“When she was younger we used to do fancy dress with a little Shetland she had, and we used to spray him rainbow colours, so she got the idea from there.”

Ella used safe, washable chalks from her mother’s hairdressing supplies to create the colourful message on the 23-year-old Welsh section A, who “loved the attention”.

“Prince is just amazing, we got him when Ella was three and he is the perfect little pony. He taught her to ride, we hunt once a week off the lead and he really looks after her, they are best friends. There is not a bad bone in his body and he was very happy to stand there getting treats while Ella painted him — we took a break in the middle but it probably took an hour and a half in all.”

Wales was one of the regions particularly affected by a surge in walkers after lockdown measures were announced, as well as people from cities headed out to the hills with campervans and caravans.

“My sister works in the intensive care unit of the local hospital and it really brings home the risks we are facing,” said Emma. “If we were hit badly by Coronavirus somewhere like this, you wonder how the hospital would cope.

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“The people who live in Pembrokeshire are staying put, it’s the people coming from outside and [potentially] bringing the virus in that you worry about.”

Emma added that Ella had been “loving life” in lockdown and had also been home-schooling her other pony, Bomber, in the garden with a blackboard.

“We’re lucky we have a smallholding and the ponies here,” she said. “She can watch Prince grazing on the lawn while she does her schoolwork and she’s not been bored at all.”

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