THE ambassador at the British Embassy in Beirut has written personally to a Cullercoats author to praise a cultural project in North Tyneside.
The letter was sent to Peter Mortimer praising ‘the brilliant initiative’ that brings Palestinian refugee youngsters to work on cultural projects in the borough.
Peter heads up the Shatila Project team which over the last three years has brought three separate groups 3,000 miles from the squalor of Shatila Refugee Camp in the Lebanon city.
The first two groups performed a play specially written for them by the author, and the third group, who were here this summer working with artists Faye Oliver and Anthony Downie, created a series of street art murals, including a ten metres long offering at present hung in Tynemouth Station.
Problems in Beirut with the United Kingdom Border Agency delaying visas saw the Shatila Theatre Trust fined almost £2,000 this summer when they were forced to change flight dates for the party of 13 Palestinians.
This also disrupted the youngsters’ planned ten-day schedule.
Now the ambassador in Beirut, Tom Fletcher, has replied to a letter from Peter Mortimer.
He has written that he will “ensure this does not happen again” and that the Embassy “will find ways to support the group”.
Peter said: “It was great to get the letter.
“We had rough ride this summer and our finances are hit hard.
“But at least we feel the Embassy are behind us over there.”
In November, artists Faye and Anthony will join Peter and travel to Shatila for a week where they will help the youngsters create colourful murals on the drab walls of the camp.