For the first time in 130 years, the magnificent Grade 1 listed building, St George Church  in Jesmond, will be lit up at night becoming visible to the community of Jesmond and for miles beyond.  The Lighting up Jesmond event will take place on Thursday 7th December at 6pm and the event is open to the whole community to attend.  The event will start at 6pm with a short thanksgiving service inside the Church led by the Bishop of Newcastle Christine Hardman, and the Reverend Canon Brian Hurst. The Lord Mayor Linda Wright will also be attending.

Children from the Percy Hedley School in Jesmond will be special guests at the event where deaf children will be signing to carols.  The children will be switching on the lights of a 30ft Christmas tree which will be standing on the Church green. The turning on of the new Church lighting will be immediately followed by a spectacular firework display to mark the special occasion.

The lighting up of the Church has been funded by The Watson Family Charitable Trust, who have also donated the 30ft Christmas tree and fireworks to mark the special event. The Watson Family Charitable Trust was established by local businessman Ian Watson, who is Chairman and Founder of the Hadrian Healthcare Group and who lives in Jesmond with his family.  

Ian Watson set up the family charity 18 months ago with the intention of giving away a significant amount of money to good causes.  These include good causes in the North East and beyond.  The charity has recently provided funding to support children’s North East Bereavement Services, educational support to children in deprived areas of the North East and is currently funding the redevelopment of a School in Uganda for orphaned and disadvantaged children.

Ian Watson said, “We are actually supporting a wide range of educational and support services for children in the North East and beyond as well as community projects – of which the Jesmond lighting scheme is one.”

Ian went on to say, “As a neighbour of the Church it has always struck me as wrong that such a beautiful building in the middle of our community can “disappear” when darkness falls.  I’m delighted we have been able to gift this lighting so the community of Jesmond and the local area can enjoy our wonderful building in darkness as well as in daylight hours. It is also great to be creating such a wonderful community event on 7th December and I’m sure the whole community of Jesmond will come out to enjoy the occasion!.  “I’m particularly pleased we have so many children from the Percy Hedley School joining us for the event.  I recently visited the School and told them about the work our charity is doing for disabled children in Uganda.  The School have promised to give me a gift to take with me for the children in Uganda when I visit again in March of next year – and I’m sure the children in Uganda will be keen to reciprocate it – a kind of twinning I suppose.”