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PEOPLE IN SUNDERLAND are invited to play their part in helping to celebrate next month’s Royal Wedding.

The city’s historic Hylton Castle has provided the backdrop to many a local wedding photograph over the years, and as part of the on-going restoration project to ensure it will continue to do so for many years to come, families are being asked to share their photographs for a celebratory digital exhibition on the big day – 19 May.

Anyone who has  wedding photographs taken at Hylton Castle and would like to be featured in the exhibition can pop into nearby  Bunny Hill Customer Service Centre any Monday this month 10am-1pm or contact Hylton Castle Project Learning Officer Pearl Saddington  07827  305567 / pearl.saddington@sunderland.gov.uk to find out more.

14th Century Hylton Castle is being restored and returned to community life, as part of a £4.5 million restoration project supported by Sunderland City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Hylton Castle Project Learning Officer, Pearl Saddington, said: “As part of our Hylton Castle Project’s Royal Wedding Celebrations we are asking wedding couples who had their pictures taken at the 14th Century Grade 1 listed castle to help us with ‘something borrowed’ for the exhibition.

“Volunteers on our community led project include photography students from the University of Sunderland who’ll be able to copy your photographs and give them back to you, and use the best images in a digital exhibition.

“The digital exhibition will be part of a day of community celebrations at both Washington Arts Centre and Sunderland Museum, Library and Winter Gardens on the day of the Royal Wedding between HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and will be featured on the Hylton Castle website. We may also create a touring exhibition of the images later in the year.”

Pearl added: “We first got the idea when we are asking people about their memories of growing up near the castle, and they were telling us how their families had taken the whole wedding party, huge dresses and best suits and all, to have their pictures taken in front of one of Sunderland’s best loved local historic landmarks.”

One married couple who have already agreed to share the photographic memories of the happiest day of their lives, are Heather and David Anderton who got married in July 2005 and now live in Town End Farm with their daughter, Olivia.

Heather said: “Throughout my childhood Hylton Castle has always been a place I associate with fun, family, magic and wonderment.

“Even though my wedding and reception were held on the south side of the city, my day would not have been complete without a visit to Hylton Castle for photographs.

“It will be brilliant to have weddings at the Castle in the future, we might even renew our vows! The Royal wedding project has brought back so many happy memories and I hope many other people will get involved.”

From next year onwards, once the restoration work is completed and the building is back in daily use, it will, amongst other things, become a venue for weddings. Full details will be available on the project’s website www.hyltoncastle.org.uk in due course

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