Pupils put finishing touches to parade pieces

Lexie Gowland and Erin Parker of Rockcliffe First School get ready for this weekend's Whitley Bay Carnival. Picture by Iain Brown.
Lexie Gowland and Erin Parker of Rockcliffe First School get ready for this weekend's Whitley Bay Carnival. Picture by Iain Brown.

Children from schools in Whitley Bay are getting in to the carnival spirit by making pieces for the town’s annual parade.

A total of 50 pupils, their parents and grandparents from Rockcliffe First School took part in fun-filled workshops to create flower inspired hats and giant carnival structures in preparation for the parade on Saturday, May 23.

Preparations for the carnival this year have involved such a wide range of people it feels like it really belongs to the whole community

Carnival producer Carol Alevroyianni

The town carnival, which was revived last year by Whitley Bay Big Local after a 20-year absence, will once again bring music, dancing and colourful costumes to the streets of the town as part of the community group’s ten-year plan to create a thriving community.

To celebrate the history of the event, this year’s carnival theme will be ‘Whitley Bay’s heyday’, and the procession will showcase more than a nod to nostalgia, with reference to some of the town’s popular past events including the Folk Moot, flower show and scooter rally.

Children from Rockcliffe First School will be paying homage to the once hugely popular flower show and have created flower and vegetable inspired hats and garlands as well as a range of giant leeks.

Other schools in the town, including Marine Park First School, have also been busy creating spectacular costumes and props with the help of arts workers provided by Whitley Bay Big Local.

Carnival producer Carol Alevroyianni said: “Preparations for the carnival this year have involved such a wide range of people it feels like it really belongs to the whole community.

“Funding from The Arts Council has enabled us to create a pretty spectacular carnival, with more than 300 local people taking part in the parade, dancing, singing and playing instruments, as well as some phenomenal oversized structures that could rival Notting Hill for inventiveness and scale; but Whitley Bay isn’t relying on wheels and sound systems for impact – this is an all-walking carnival parade with live music.”

Sharron Colpitts-Elliott, headteacher at Rockcliffe First School, said: “We are so pleased to be involved in this year’s carnival.

“Our pupils and their families jumped at the chance of taking part.

“Children from across the entire school have got on board and it was great to see so many parents and grandparents coming along to the workshops to lend a hand, which has really helped to make the carnival a true community event that spans the generations.”

Hundreds of people are expected to line the streets to take part in the colourful procession, which will start at Whitley Bay Metro station and finish at the Spanish City plaza where music and street performers will be entertaining the crowds. Activities take place from 11am to 4.30pm.

For more details about the carnival, and the Whitley Bay Big Local, visit the website www.whitleybaybiglocal.co.uk