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'Sand wizard' magics dome over castle at St Catherine's

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TOURISTS and Islanders are now able to step inside another world at St Catherine's by entering a huge green dome, home to an intricately sculpted sandcastle.

The sandcastle has been built by Simon Smith (57), otherwise known as the Island's 'sand wizard', who has been building his sculptures outside the Turbot Farm for the last six years without any protection from the elements.

However, after obtaining planning permission, he is now able to build them inside the green dome which features a goldfish pond, a number of characters made of sand, as well as a TV showing video footage of how the sculptures were made.

Mr Smith has previously asked for a donation from those who have stopped to look at his sculptures outside, but he is now able to charge an entrance fee of £1 for those wanting to enter the dome.

The artist has lived in a van for the past 23 years and hopes charging a fee will make him enough money to finally be able to rent a house.

He said: 'I have completely run out of money now. The whole project has cost me about £13,000.

'It has been a real struggle for me this year. I didn't expect everything to take so long and go so far into the season.

'I'm hoping I will be able to earn more money now that the sculpture is in the dome, and then hopefully I will finally be able to live in a house.'

It took Mr Smith four days to construct the dome and he will now leave the castle he has built for the next two years, adding bits to it along the way.

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He said: 'Everything has been delayed and my dome had to be specially made in the UK, so that took some time to arrive.

'It's Jersey's newest and cheapest attraction and I want to try to keep it as cheap as possible for tourists.

'There are only two months of the summer left now and I just need to concentrate on next year.'

The grandfather of two learned how to become a 'sand wizard' after being diagnosed with cancer. After receiving treatment at Southampton Hospital, he returned to Jersey and spent a lot of time on the beach making sandcastles.

In 2003 he was named World Masters People's Champion for creations he built out of sand in Venice.

The attraction is open daily between 9 am and 5.30 pm.

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