LAST week, the Bromleys were away on holiday down on the Jurassic Coast. When it wasn’t raining, we were down on the beach, hunting for stones. It was a search for anything unusual, from possible fossils to odd-shaped rocks, hints of quartz to the perfect skimmer.

A couple of years ago, over on the beaches of Cape Cod, business coach Megan Murphy was also scanning the shoreline for something special. Following the death of her parents, she liked to walk along the coast: if she saw a heart-shaped stone or a piece of sea glass, she’d take it as a sort of message from them. Drawing support from this, Megan decided to leave ‘signs in the sand’ for others to find.

To begin with, Megan painted a handful of rocks with positive slogans on them for people to discover. When a friend rang her to say she’d found one and it had made her day, she realised she was onto something. This was the start of the Kindness Rocks Project. Over that first summer, Megan painted and planted 300 rocks a week on the Cape Cod beaches. Then, as people discovered them, they took the idea back to their own towns. Since then, Kindness Rocks has grown and taken root around the world. There is now a widening network of local organisations around the UK, with the Salisbury branch launched by Kristina Auckland last year.

In the last few months, the idea has really caught hold in the city: by the end of February, the Salisbury group’s Facebook site boasted 1,300 members: two months later, the number of participants has doubled again. My youngest daughter Eleanor is among many children across the city who has become an enthusiastic stone hunter.

Finding the rocks, however, is only half of the fun. While many of the stones have the positive slogans of the original concept, some are also works of art in their own right. Both children and local artists are hard at work in painting increasingly elaborate designs for people to discover.

Last Sunday, St Thomas’s Church held a special ‘Cleansing and Celebration’ service, aiming to reclaim the city for the ‘common good’ and showing the world that there is more to Salisbury than the poisoning of former Russian spies. While such responses are to be applauded, the continuing growth of the Kindness Rocks movement here is, in its own quiet, organic way, every bit as powerful a response to recent events.

Is it just coincidence that Kindness Rocks has blossomed in Salisbury while the Skripal Affair has unfolded? Perhaps. But either way, what it shows is that even when our city has been rocked, we still know how to roll.