Getting ready for the big picnic

Four of the five award winners from Chantry Middle School and Technology College with Morpeth Mayor Nic Best and teacher Jill Woolley, subject leader for creative arts.
Four of the five award winners from Chantry Middle School and Technology College with Morpeth Mayor Nic Best and teacher Jill Woolley, subject leader for creative arts.
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A popular action-packed event returns this Sunday to start off the summer holidays in Morpeth.

Carlisle Park will once again be the setting for Picnic in the Park, organised by Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT). This year’s theme is the 300th anniversary of Morpeth Town Hall.

There will be lots of family fun including face-painting, pony rides, a magician, story-telling with Jo Jingles, willow-weaving and medieval tile-making as well as music courtesy of the Ellington Colliery Band, which is supported by Northumbrian Water.

All the events are free – apart from a small charge for the pony rides – and there will also be free barbecue food courtesy of Morpeth Churches Together. The event is also supported by Morpeth Town Council and Northumberland County Council.

Frank Rescigno, GMDT’s culture director, hopes that many families will take up the opportunity of joining in and organising their own picnic.

“We have been running this event on the first Sunday after local schools break up for the summer for a number of years now and it’s a great way for families to start off the holiday season,” he added.

“There are activities for all ages and interests – so come along and join the party between noon and 4pm.”

In the run-up to the event, artist Sue Dibben of GMDT invited pupils at Morpeth First School in Goosehill and Chantry and Newminster Middle Schools and Technology Colleges to enter an art competition that she organised to celebrate the Town Hall anniversary.

The children were asked to use their artistic and creative talents to produce paintings or collages, which will be put on display in the Butter Market on August 8.

There were lots of superb entries and so it was difficult to choose the prize-winners. The Chantry and Newminster entries were judged by the Mayor of Morpeth, Nic Best, Deputy Mayor Alison Byard and Mrs Dibben.

The first prize of a giant Reeves art set, art trophy and certificate went to Danny Lillico (Chantry) and Victoria Smyth (Newminster). A trophy and certificate for second place was awarded to Georgia Taggart (Chantry) and Rose Gibson (Newminster).

Charlotte Barrass, Josh Lamb and Caitlin Woodcock (Chantry) and Milly James, Zoe Jones and Lucy Coulson (Newminster) were joint third and they each received an art certificate. The Goosehill entries were judged by Coun Byard and Mrs Dibben.

The first prize of an art set and certificate went to Sadie Charlton – the runner-up was Ruby Housman-Wilkinson and in joint third place were Andrew Laidlaw, Danielle Carmon and Christian Molloy. They each received an art certificate.

The art set prizes were donated by T&G Allan of Morpeth.

Mrs Dibben said: “We wanted to encourage the children to be involved in the celebrations of the anniversary of the Town Hall and to learn about its heritage.

“The competition also ties in with my Picnic in the Park bunting art project where visitors to the event will be able to decorate their own bunting flag to celebrate the anniversary. The decorated flags will then be sown together to make some bunting, which will be hung in the Butter Market from the end of July until September.”

She thanked teacher Jill Woolley, subject leader for creative arts at Chantry and Newminster, for encouraging pupils to enter the competition and co-ordinating their entries.