A South Tyneside marine firm is aiming to make a big splash to mark a milestone moment in the history of the Great North Run.
Tyne and Wear Marine has been drafted in to construct a pontoon at its Tyne Dock yard in South Shields to carry a 15m-high sculpture at a ceremony celebrating the millionth runner taking part in the annual half-marathon.
The event is being held at Newcastle Quayside on Thursday, September 4, three days ahead of the run, and the marine firm is busy getting the structure ready for the day.
This is just the latest in a long line of high-profile contracts landed by the firm.
It recently supplied a mini remote-control submarine to carry out an inspection of the Shields Ferry, ensuring it could complete its daily Tyne crossings.
The firm has also created test equipment used by the Port of Tyne to check the safety of its quayside bollards.
Project manager John Cramman said the business’s growing schedule of varied works is set to lead to expansion.
He said: “We currently have 18 employees. They have all kinds of skills, from shipwrights to designers and boat-builders.
“We are primarily a marine engineering business, but we take on all sorts of projects.
“Core businesses come back to us time and time again.
“We are actively looking at expansion of our facilities. We would remain in South Shields.
“We also have two apprentices working with us and are hoping to recruit further in the future.”
Other projects undertaken by the company including using its modular pontoon system to transport a 96-tonne crane for LV Shipping and completing a salvage mission on the Grenaa Star when it collided with the South Pier in South Shields in December.
The company used a multi-purpose boat to salvage the vessel by filling its flooded bow accommodation with large air-filled lifting bags, then pumped out the engine room and hold with salvage pumps.
The vessel was then moved back to the company’s base at Tyne Dock to have its fuel removed.
The Newcastle-South Shields race’s millionth-runner milestone will also be marked by a concert featuring former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler, folk group The Unthanks and dance duo Chase and Status.
Olympic champion Mo Farah is among the athletes lined up to complete the 13-mile road race.
This will be his second Great north Run after coming second to Kenenisa Bekele last year.