Pirate ship drops anchor for fun at outdoor centre

Jasmine Bays, left, and Nicola Campbell get ready for some pirate-based fun at West Boldon Lodge.
Jasmine Bays, left, and Nicola Campbell get ready for some pirate-based fun at West Boldon Lodge.
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Ahoy there, hearties! A pirate ship has taken anchor at South Tyneside outdoor education centre West Boldon Lodge.

Designed by James Baxter, a volunteer at the centre, which is operated by communities’ charity Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (STAN), it is being officially launched with two special Pirate Open Days.

The two-hour sessions, which start at 10am and 1pm on Wednesday, April 30, and Monday, April 4, include pirate crafts, a treasure hunt, and play activities on board.

Fancy dress is encouraged.

Ten-metres long, the vessel has been built from scratch, using mostly reclaimed timber, by James and other volunteers, including Ray Canham, who made two cannons.

It is the latest addition to The Realm, an outdoor area which provides a safe environment for children to learn and play, and which already houses a mud kitchen, music area, tyre dragon and fairy village.

Tom Mower, Groundwork STAN’s communities co-ordinator, said: “The pirate ship is a wonderful addition to West Boldon Lodge. It is in a part of the site that encourages creativity and is perfect for free play.

“James led the project and spent weeks constructing the pirate ship. All the volunteers deserve huge credit.

“He came up with a design that incorporates the natural environment, found a suitable space for it, prepared the ground, and with other volunteers and placements, tirelessly cut, drilled and painted for weeks.

“The ship will be a great focal point for our Pirate Open Day. We’ll then continue to use it with our regular Forest Play School and other visiting families and school or nursery groups.”

While James got to work, Ray made the cannons.

The event is just one of a series that visitors can enjoy at the lodge as part of Easter school holiday celebrations.

Easter Open Days, at 10am and 1pm on Thursday, March 24, and Tuesday, March 29, will see the arrival of the Easter bunny, with visitors encouraged to find hidden chocolate eggs.

It will also feature Easter crafts, including making bunny masks and chicks. A Forest Adventure Day has two-hour sessions running at 10am and 1pm on Thursday, April 7.

The event includes fun in the forest, such as den building, survival skills, campfires, map skills, and wood chopping.

All events are £5 per child and £2 per adult with a five per cent booking fee. Those aged under one go free. Tickets must be booked at www.westboldonlodge.co.uk