Two years ago I responded to an article in your newspaper wherein the council were asking for ideas from the public to boost the economy within our area.
I responded with the concept of a figure of a mermaid, to be erected on the Black Midden Rocks, by the promenade linking the Haven and North Shields Fish Quay.
This mermaid was to be placed on a substantial base which would also house a depth gauge to help the local yacht club members and other craft avoid ‘running aground’ there, an event which I understand occasionally happens.
The base would also bear solar powered lights as a night time warning of the rocks lying beneath shallow water and further aid the avoidance of possible groundings.
I commissioned local sculptor Allan Scott to sculpt his representation of the Tynemouth Mermaid, and he created a wonderful piece of art in the traditional form of a mermaid, which captures the essence of a wild creature of the ocean, combined with an air of benevolence.
Allan made two 15-inch figurines, one of which is in the possession of North Tyneside Council, and, I understand, is on display for the public to see.
It is a known fact that wealth is generated by other iconic landmarks in our country, and indeed the world, the Loch Ness monster, the Devon Pixie, the Copenhagen Mermaid etc benefitting their local economies, mainly via art and tourism.
The council was interested in the project but needed to know the public were behind the idea to the extent of funding £15,000, which was half of the projected cost of the proposed figure at that time.
Due to my poor health I only managed to spend three hours collecting signatures and monies towards the Tynemouth Mermaid fund.
The public were 98 per cent behind the idea and some were thrusting £10 notes and £5 notes at me. I only wanted £1 from each person. I firmly believed I could get the support from 15,000 people of this area.
My poor health has defeated me and I have failed in my attempt to add something practical, and potentially life-saving, whilst being artistic and beautiful, which would also have benefitted our local economy, for the region and our wonderful north east community.
My promise to the generous people who donated their support and their pounds was that should the target figure of £15,000 not be reached then any monies donated would be gifted to the RNLI Tynemouth.
My husband started the fund with £200 and after only three hours spent meeting the public on the North Shields promenade, and at the RNLI open day, 200 good people donated their pounds. The RNLI Tynemouth has now received a cheque for £400.
My deepest thanks to my husband and to those 200 community minded, generous hearted people who gave to this project. All of you and the Tynemouth Mermaid are helping save lives with your kind donations.
Anyone wanting to obtain prints of the Tynemouth Mermaid painting and the Tynemouth Mermaid story should visit the RNLI gift shop, at North Shields Fish Quay, where they can be purchased. All profits go to RNLI Tynemouth.