Volunteer day taking place at iconic landmark

St Mary's Lighthouse on St Mary's Island.
Picture by Jane Coltman
St Mary's Lighthouse on St Mary's Island. Picture by Jane Coltman

Residents interested in helping at an iconic landmark are being reminded of an event this weekend.

Volunteering opportunities are available at St Mary’s Lighthouse, with a volunteer day being held at the lighthouse on Saturday from 11.30am to 3pm for people to find out more.

There will be free entry to the lighthouse, a tour, and free car parking for attendees plus a chance to look at the restoration plans.

Activities will be put on for children and light refreshments provided.

Representatives from St Mary’s Seal Watch, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, the RSPB, Friends of Brierdene, St Mary’s Island Wetland Conservation Group, North Tyneside Council, Association of Lighthouse Keepers, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Orca and VODA are expected to attend.

For more information call the lighthouse on (0191) 200 8650, email stmaryslighthouse@northtyneside.gov.uk or visit www.visitnorthtyneside.com

North Tyneside Council is looking for interested individuals to establish a Friends of St Mary’s Lighthouse group or join existing volunteer organisations already active in the area.

Volunteers would carry out a range of duties from environmental and conservation work to general maintenance and learning specialist engineering skills.

The recruitment drive is part of the council’s funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to restore the building in order to ensure its long-term survival.

Development funding of £164,300 was awarded in May last year to progress the plans and a Stage Two application will be submitted to the HLF in the spring.

If successful, the council will secure £2.2m to allow crucial works to ensure the survival of the lighthouse tower and former keepers’ cottages to be carried out. It would also mean the original lighthouse optic (light) can be rebuilt at the base of the tower.

Work is continuing to develop the Stage Two bid before it is submitted and prospective volunteers are being called on to do their bit to help.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “We’re on the lookout for anyone interested in giving up some of their time, no matter how much or how little.”

“You might want to get involved in conservation and environmental projects or learn rare, traditional skills, which may otherwise have been lost, by helping to rebuild the optic.

“This could also be a brilliant opportunity for students, young people or anyone looking for work in the environmental field to pick up some vital new skills to add to their CV, so we look forward to welcoming as many people along on our volunteer day as possible.”

For more about the restoration project visit http://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/647/st-marys-island-and-headland