We had a great day on Sandhaven beach in South Shields for the 16th annual Sandcastle Challenge. This year there were 1500 primary school age children from schools all over the north east including a couple of special schools. The theme was 'famous landmarks' - there were several Great Walls of China, pyramids, the Sphinx a couple of London Eyes, Hadrian's Wall, several Angels of the North, The Sage, Tyne Bridge and Penshaw. But amongst them some really unusual contructions - Capetown and Robyn Island including the World Cup stadium; Eyjafjallajokull the Icelandic Volcano which even erupted for the judges; Sutton Bank and the White Horse in North Yorkshire and a fabulous depiction of the elaborate door knocker on Durham Cathedral.
Each team can be up to 15 children plus teacher and a professional we match to the school. Professionals are architects, contruction companies, building suppliers etc. We work closely with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) North East region to organise the event. Professionals and school children work together to decide in advance what they will build and plan how to build it. Then on the day they have just one hour in a designated plot to build the constructions which are then judged. The best 5 receive £200 and an overall professional winner is chosen to be announced at the Sandcastle Ball next Friday.
We get lots of great press and TV coverage which is good for publicity. For example this from The Journal.