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By Gary Smee Thursday 22 November 2012 Updated: 27/11 11:25
A PIONEERING new smartphone app has been developed in Evesham which uses state-of-the-art technology to bring the past to life.
The app, called Evesham Historic Trail, allows anyone with a smartphone or tablet to hold up the device to any of ten historic landmarks in Evesham prompting a medieval monk to pop up onto the screen to talk through the history of the attraction.
The fictional monk – Brother Oswald, a popular character used by Evesham’s Almonry museum – acts as a virtual tour guide, explaining the town’s past and promoting current points of interest.
Evesham is the first town in Britain to use the app which was masterminded and created by Mick Hurst from Areca Design, a marketing agency based in Abbey Gate, along with cameraman and 3D animator, Andre Grout.
Tourism trail cards listing the attractions are available for free at the Almonry which is the starting point of the route.
Mr Hurst said Evesham was the perfect place to launch the app.
"I enjoy looking at the latest technology and trying to give it practical applications and when I first saw the concept of augmented reality I knew it had great potential," he said.
"At the same time, I was trying to think of a creative way to encourage visitors to Evesham, and this seemed the perfect solution. Evesham is a tourism destination steeped in history and this brings it to life and creates an engaging, unique and fun experience for visitors.
"It should appeal to everyone, whether you are tech-savvy and want to try out the latest technology or genuinely interested in the heritage of the town, there’s plenty to explore."
Evesham Market Town Partnership supported Areca Design’s creation of the trail, which is expected to become a blueprint for other towns to follow.
Shawn Riley, EMTP Manager, added: "What Mick has done is fantastic, taking a unique 21st Century approach to promoting Evesham.
"In all recent national studies of town centres, most notably that led by Mary Portas, the Government has asked for more creative ways to boost High Streets and increase footfall.
"Last month Evesham was also made a Town Team Partner by the Government, which included £10,000 to enhance the town centre. This tourism trail is an outstanding example of how this can be done in an innovative, modern way.
"I believe it will become a leading, national model with other towns following suit."
The trail also provides a fitting legacy for Tony Whiting, who retires this week after 21 years of tireless work at the Almonry museum. It is hoped his role as Brother Oswald will act as a permanent reminder of his contribution to Evesham’s heritage.
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