Floating hearts show love for Customs House in South Shields on 25th anniversary

Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House, with the growing wall of hearts.
Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House, with the growing wall of hearts.

Dozens of hearts are floating around a theatre in South Tyneside as people show their love for the venue in its 25th anniversary year.

Kind-hearted supporters of The Customs House, South Shields, are being asked to make a difference for years to come by sponsoring a heart, which can be personalised with a short message.

A number of hearts are now on display in the foyer of the building in Mill Dam, where they will remain until a permanent display is created in 2020.

Individuals, couples and families have been sharing their memories of the building, which celebrates 25 years as an arts and entertainment venue this year, or dedicating hearts to loved ones who are no longer with them.

Community organisations including All Saints Ladies Fellowship in Sunderland, Community Corner in Jarrow and Happy at Home, which supports the elderly and lonely in South Tyneside, have also been keen to get on board.

Local, national and international businesses have also thrown their weight behind the scheme, including South Shields-based Westoe Travel, London-based architects Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners and ETM Agency.

Opera singer Anne Marie Owens, who is a Fellow of The Customs House Academy, has also sponsored a heart.

Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House, said: “We would like to think that we are right at the heart of our community. For 25 years we have made magic, supported good causes and given a lot of special memories.

“Now we are appealing for people to show their love of The Customs House and place a heart in the heart of our building and give us the foundation to continue serving our audiences and wider community for another 25 years.

“I am delighted to see so many wonderful dedications to the building and seeing just what The Customs House means to people.”

The hearts are available in four sizes and prices start at £25. They are available to buy from the box office.