It was fun in the sun for youngsters in South Tyneside yesterday as they joined schools across the region for the borough’s annual Sandcastle competition.
The event, now in it’s 20th year, is organised by charity Children North East.
This year saw, 1,560 pupils from 50 schools across the region take part.
Each team was tasked with building a sandcastle based on this year’s theme – The Hoppings. The youngsters had one hour in which to complete their sculptures, supported by teachers.
The event, supported by a range of construction firms from throughout the North East, was sponsored by Galliford Try Construction Company based in Newcastle.
The winner was announced as Broadway Primary with Harton Primary from South Shields named as second place.
It’s just been magical to see the event grow like it has.John Matthews
John Matthews, volunteer and lifetime member of Children North East, said: “We have had representatives from construction firms going into schools over the past few weeks to talk to the pupils and to help them with their designs.
“When the children see the area all ready for them, you just see the smiles on their faces and the excitement. It’s wonderful to see.
“The charity is one of the oldest in the region, and next year we will be celebrating our 125th anniversary. We started off with 20 schools and now we have 50 – it’s just been magical to see the event grow like it has.”
The event was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse and his wife Patricia.
Coun Porthouse said: “It’s just amazing to find out where the schools have come from, they haven’t just come from South Tyneside but from all over the North East.
“I’ve been talking to some of the schools from Newcastle and for some of their kids, it’s the first time they’ve been to South Shields beach.
“Some of the sandcastles are fantastic, you can tell there has been a lot of thought gone into them and they are well constructed.
“The kids have all had a great time and they love being on South Shields beach.”
Year five class teacher at Bede Burn Primary School in Jarrow Joanne Smith, said: “It’s the first time I’ve taken part in the event with a class.
“When I mentioned to them what we would be doing, they were so excited. At first they were taking it as a bit of fun, but started to become quite competitive throughout the contest.
“The kids have come up with the ideas themselves and they have worked really hard but also had lots of fun.
“Events like this are brilliant, especially when we have had weather like this. It’s something nice to end the school year for the kids.”
Children North East aim to help disadvantaged children living within the region in order to give them a better chance in life.
During the last year 4,093 children and young people used Children North East services, 44% more than the previous year.
For information, visit www.children-ne.org.uk/