Tag Archives: curiosity

Prudhoe badger gets makeover

The Badger rockery artwork on the hill at Prudhoe has had a make over done over the half term holidays by young volunteers from the Princes Trust

A team of 12 teenagers have given a Northumberland town’s iconic mascot a much-needed makeover.

The youngsters spent their entire February half-term holiday sprucing up the Prudhoe Badger public artwork, which sits on a hillside overlooking the A695 bypass, adding the finishing touches last week for its official unveiling.

The giant stone and earth creation had suffered over the last two decades from vandalism, theft and the ravages of time and weather, leading the volunteers to offer their help as part of a Prince’s Trust project.

To restore the town’s emblem back to its former glory, the volunteers – aged 16 to 22 – rearranged stones to more clearly resemble the badger’s form, while they repainted the head, tail and stripes in bright white.

The Badger rockery artwork on the hill at Prudhoe has had a make over done over the half term holidays by young volunteers from the Princes Trust 

Money for the project was provided by Prudhoe Town Council, Barclays, Mid Tyne Lions Club and several local businesses, alongside The Prince’s Trust – a charity which aims to get young people into work by giving them new skills and confidence.

Councillor Tony Reid, who represents South Prudhoe for Northumberland County Council, first commissioned the £15,000 30m-long Prudhoe Badger in the early 1990s on behalf of Northumberland County Council, shortly after the A695 bypass was built.

He said:

“I had asked a number of artists to come up with ideas for the hillside and I went with the badger by Gary Power. It was controversial as public art always is, but created a conversation and I liked that. Since then it has been accepted by locals and the town has taken it to heart.

“But the problem is maintenance due to wear and tear, which I have taken responsibility for but over the last couple of years it had begun to look really shabby. It needed some investment.

“I was having no success getting money from the council but then was contacted by the Prince’s Trust, in conjunction with local young people, who had the idea of improving it.

“They have been fantastic and the response since their work is that the badger is looking better than ever. There was also support from local businesses so it has been a real community effort.”

Prince’s Trust team leader Adam Crolla added:

“As part of their 12 week programme, the young people have to complete a community project and they all decided to renovate the badger as something that could use a makeover.

“They all worked really hard and have done a great job.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 21 Mar 2015

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Marsden White Horse revamp ‘leaves a bad taste’

COUNCIL bosses have been challenged over the future upkeep of a historic local landmark.

South Tyneside Council came under fire after it restored the White Horse, which was painted on the rocks at Marsden Craggs in the 19th century – but decided did not to tell anyone about the revamp.

Now local resident Kevin Flett is demanding to know who is going to going to look after the iconic landmark which he and other people in the community had been taking care of over the years.

Council bosses say they want to work with local people to maintain the site.

Mr Flett said:

“The way it was handled has left quite a bad taste in the mouths of those of us who have been looking after the horse for a number of years now.

“We have all worked hard to maintain the area, seeking donations of paint and going on a regular basis to remove graffiti.

“Then along comes the council who just disregard everything we have done.

“They have managed to get rid of all the layers of history which had culminated over the years. You are never going to get that back.

“I know people who have volunteered their time to look after such an important part of the history of South Shields, but are very much reluctant to stay involved now the council has just steamrollered ahead with this.

“There has been no consultation about any of this work, and I would like to know now if the council are going to taking care of the upkeep of The White Horse in the future.”

Residents are also concerned that the work involved the entire crag face being scoured and that the horse is not so easily seen.

The background limestone turned black over the centuries – creating a stark contrast with the white horse. It is now a white horse on a light grey background.

South Tyneside Council said the work is being paid for with cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and it did not publicise it to combat potential vandalism.

The council insists the work was carried out to restore the White Horse “to its former glory”.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said:

“The White Horse is a landmark of significant local interest which holds a special place in the hearts of the people of South Tyneside.

“We have spoken to the community group, and a countryside officer will be meeting with them in the next few weeks.

“We would like to work with them, and any other interested groups, to agree a co-ordinated approach to protect and enhance the area of the Marsden Old Quarry Local Nature Reserve for both local people and visitors.

“We are carrying out further work in the area, such as repairs to fencing and litter picks.

“Any volunteers who would like to help to preserve the area are asked to contact the council. “

Source – Shields Gazette, 18 Sept 2014

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Unique Holy Island hut torched in suspected arson attack

An organic hut at Holy Island, Northumberland, has been damaged by fire in what is thought to have been a deliberate attack.

The fire damaged hut at Holy Island

 

Arsonists are believed to be behind a blaze that almost destroyed a unique attraction at Holy Island.

Seal Hut is a wood and stone structure positioned on a remote sand dune, which was created by visitors with items they had collected on the beach.

It also housed a book in which people could write their thoughts.

But the unusual hut’s roof was completely destroyed by a fire that broke out, on Wednesday.

And the blaze is believed to have been started deliberately.  Northumbria Police have  arrested and questioned a 49-year old man in connection with the fire.

News of the suspected arson has saddened regular visitors to the hut, but is  hoped it can be re-built.

Patrick Norris, from Belford, who runs walking tours in the area : “It is sad. My feeling is if the surrounding walls which are just built up from stone off the beach are still there, people will start to put the roof back on again.

Lindisfarne Castle
Lindisfarne Castle

 

In a couple of years time, it will once again become a place where you can sit inside and have your sandwiches. The whole organic process will start again.

At just after 3pm on Wednesday, Humber Coastguard was notified of black smoke on the dunes by tourists and dispatched its island team.

Local coastguards searched the area and discovered the hut on fire.

They returned to the village where they met a Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service crew which had been dispatched from Berwick.

The coastguards transported the crew in their 4×4 vehicle to the hut, where the fire was put out after around 20 minutes having damaged the structure and destroyed its roof.

Discovered inside the hut were tyres, suggesting the fire had been started deliberately.

Seal Hut is is on the sand dune close to Caves Haven and Sandham Bay, roughly three miles from Holy Island village.

It is believed it first appeared around ten years ago although the reasons for its creation and who instigated it are a mystery.

The structure is said to be popular with tourists and walking groups, who take shelter from the elements inside, or use it as a palce to eat lunch and watch seals and other wildlife through its small window.

A book was left inside in which visitors would record their thoughts while it also contained visitor information and items people had left on the beach.

The hut is said to have grown over the years as people have added to it using driftwood washed up on the beach.

At one point, Natural England – which is responsible for the dunes on which the structure sits – dismantled the Seal Hut amid apparent health and safety concerns.

But it was soon built back up again.


Source – Newcastle Journal,  23 Aug 2014

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