Dragon fires up visitors to outdoor centre

Mitchell the Dragon with his creators.
Mitchell the Dragon with his creators.

It doesn’t breathe fire – but a dragon made of wood and tyres is bringing bite and a measure of fright to woodland at a South Tyneside outdoor education centre.

The five-metre long model monster – nicknamed Mitchell – has been created by corporate volunteers at West Boldon Lodge.

With a carved wooden head – and fearsome fangs – it is one of highlights at the centre and was built in a day by staff from Accenture, a management consultancy and technology services firm.

They had support from employees of communities’ charity Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (Stan), which operates the lodge. They made the body from green tyres, some stood upright and half buried in the ground within the lodge’s “woodland realm” section, stretching into a circle behind.

Rebecca Maw, Groundwork Stan’s communities manager, said: “The dragon’s head is made of wood, so I suppose its bark is worse than its bite, though its teeth do look very impressive.

“It is a wonderful new attraction to the West Boldon Lodge and we’ve been getting some really nice comments from visitors.

“The schoolchildren love what they see, which is the most important thing. We’ve nicknamed it Mitchell after the Michelin tyres that it’s mainly made from.”

Accenture team leader Claire Buglass said: “We gained a great sense of self-achievement and fulfilment for helping support a charity, and we want to take part in future projects.”

Purpose-built West Boldon Lodge sits in 13 hectares of ponds, woods and meadows off the A184 Newcastle Road 
and opposite The Quadrus Centre.

It runs year-round education programmes for schools, adults and families, holds community events, supports a range of volunteering opportunities, including those for corporate partners, and can be used for room hire.

The lodge forms part of its portfolio, which includes the £5.4million One Trinity Green business centre in South Shields, the Eco Centre in Hebburn, and Newcastle’s £6.5million Beacon enterprise centre in Westgate Road.