Groyne lighthouse to be replaced with 60ft knight to mark chess club anniversary '“ were you fooled?

Were you fooled?

Friday, 1st April 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 5:05 am

This was our April Fool this morning:

A famous South Tyneside landmark could be replaced by an enormous chess piece to mark a club’s special anniversary.

South Shields Chess Club celebrates its 150th anniversary this year and has submitted an application to temporarily replace the town’s Groyne light with a 60ft statue of a chess knight.

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The club hopes to replace the lighthouse, near the Little Haven Hotel, in River Drive, South Shields, with a chess piece in the same distinctive red in the summer.

Club spokesman, Eddie Czestochowski, said the lighthouse isn’t needed today and feels it wouldn’t be missed for a few weeks.

He said: “In this day and age the Groyne is no longer needed as a navigational aid for ships. We thought we could move the structure and replace it with a chess knight.

“We realise that the Groyne is loved by many people and promise it will be back at the end of the summer. We have a number of retired members with time to spare and it would not cost the taxpayer a thing.”

He added: “We had considered replacing the Weebles, or Conversation Piece, with large pawns and Souter Lighthouse with a giant bishop but we thought that that may be a little too ambitious.

“Obviously it would still be a lot of work, so we would welcome any extra help.”

The club was formed in 1866 at the Golden Lion Hotel, in Ocean Road, after a notice was printed in the Gazette inviting chess fans to get together.

A number of events are also planned to mark the anniversary, including the South Shields Chess Congress at the Customs House, in Mill Dam, on July 3.