Friday, 29 June 2012

Fun at the seaside

Nearly 2,000 primary school children from all over the North East ventured to South Shields beach this morning to take part in the annual Children North East Sandcastle Challenge.

140 teams from 50 schools took up the Challenge, sadly a handful had to cancel at the last minute due to the deluge yesterday. This year;s theme was the Olympic Games and as in previous years I was amazed by the imagination and creativity of all the children who took part. Many schools sent teams of mixed age groups so that older children helped the younger ones. The youngest were from Year 1 and the eldest Year 6 (ages 6 to 11 years).

The children told us how they had learned about the Olympic Games in class then suggested designs and voted to select the one to build. Of course many children had recently seen the Olympic Torch.

The Sandcastle Challenge is a reminder of how Children North East started in 1891 by taking poor children from Newcastle on a day trip to the seaside for the health benefits of fresh air and sunshine. Thanks to the research of Dr. Hazel Jones-Lee, one of our trustees we now realise this was no one off event but a weekly occurrence from March to October every year until well into the 1930s. For example in 1895 7,814 children went in 23 (free) weekly trips! They plodged in the sea, played on the beach and I expect they built sandcastles too. We know from a contemporary account that they were fed 'a large meat sandwich and tea for lunch and 'the largest buns I ever saw' and mugs of tea for tea!

Today the 5 winning teams and their designs were (in no particular order):

Hareside Primary School - 'Swimmers'
Brunton First School - 'London 2012 Rings'
Roseberry Primary School - 'Torch'
Ryhope Infant School - 'Route of the Torch'
St William's RCVA Primary School - 'Zeus'

Congratulations to each winning team who all receive a prize of £200 courtesy of GB Building Solutions.

To view the photos taken on the day please visit our facebook page

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