IT was made from spare materials in artist Colin Grimes’ garage and has spent the past few months living in his conservatory, making neighbours jump.

But the ‘Lymm Dinosaur’ is finally on proud display at Lymm Heritage Centre as part of a new exhibition which looks at the creatures which roamed the deserts of Cheshire.

Footprints of the pre-dinosaur, the chirotherium, were discovered by Lymm quarrymen in 1842 and that has been used as the basis for an exploration of what the village was like 250 million years ago.

Colin, former head of art at Lymm High School, said: “We have an exhibition committee and we were discussing certain themes.

“We mostly look at trade, transport, tradition and recent history. But then someone in the group said our history does go back much further than that.

“Because 250 million years ago you’ve got the chirotherium which used to walk around Lymm and the footprints in the village have come from that.

“Lymm used to be a sandy beach back then and it used to be in the Mediterranean before the tectonic plates moved.”

So Colin agreed to do a life-sized recreation of the Lymm dinosaur, affectionately known as Kerry.

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The challenge was that no skeletal remains have been found of the chirotherium but scientists have a good idea of its size and shape by comparing its footprints to similar creatures.

A model exists in the World Museum, Liverpool, which Colin used as his basis and he took photos and measurements there before he set to work.

The 70-year-old added: “All the stuff that went into the dinosaur I had in my garage.

“The armature, which is the structure of it, was made with bits of wood, plastic pipes and wire.

“Then I formed its body out of chicken wire and then covered it with layers of papier-mâché.

“I glued screws in as the foundation for its terrible teeth and then built them up with putty and the eyes are made from Christmas baubles.

“The model in Liverpool Museum has got bumps and textures on it and to start with I was going to paint a pattern on it and leave it at that.

“But then when I was going to sleep one night I realised I had loads of bubble wrap in the garage. By pulling it across the body it made it more dynamic in a strange way.

“Finally I coated the body with resin to strengthen it.

“It’s lived in our conservatory until recently and our neighbour spotted it and asked what on earth it was.”

Kerry is around 8ft from head to tail but only weighs a few pounds.

It has been mounted on a platform so young visitors can have their photo taken with it.

A trail of the geological features of Lymm has also been designed as well as a dinosaur dot-to-dot activity sheet and guided tours – through 250 million years of history – are set to take place in February.

More than 200 visitors came during the exhibition’s opening weekend from youngsters to keen paleontologists and the display will stay there for three months.

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Colin, who works with his wife Janet to set up exhibitions for Lymm Heritage Centre, said: “I did sculpture at art college and thought it would be really good fun to make a dinosaur.

“With a centre like this you tend to get the older generation coming in and it doesn’t really encourage young parents and children.

“But the dinosaur has because when we put it here we had little hands knocking on the door to come and see it. The other thing is that the walk around Lymm Dam and Slitten Gorge is an important geological site so it was a way of creating interest around that.”

Similar footprints to Lymm’s chirotherium were found in Germany in 1834 and in Storeton in Wirral. It was originally named the ‘hand beast’ as its print made similar impressions to a human hand with four fingers and a thumb.