Nearly 1,500 children from primary and special schools all over the North East ventured to South Shields beach on Friday 7th July to take part in a charity fun day.
108 school teams took up the annual Sandcastle Challenge issued by Children North East, the region’s very own children’s charity. They have been working on a Great Northern Inventors theme for several weeks which became reality on Sandhaven Beach on Friday.
The children researched their chosen subjects with the help of a business partner for the event.  Companies from as diverse areas as building, architecture, law, banking, design and construction companies, as well as the main sponsor Galliford Try, have been visiting schools to advise on their projects before giving a helping hand in the construction on the beach.
In the Sandcastle Challenge, teams of 15 schoolchildren – some of whom have never been on a beach before – are allotted a plot and given an hour to convert their ideas into sand creations using only the traditional tools of buckets, spades and eager hands.
Children, business professionals and teachers were joined on the beach by Judges from across the region including celebrity charity patron Tim Healy, his wife Jo and the Mayor of South Tyneside.
Prizes, provided by the Sandcastle Challenge sponsor Galliford Try, were awarded to 5 different winning teams who each took away £200 for their school.  The overall business winner, who will win the much coveted bronze Sandcastle Trophy, will be announced at the Sandcastle Summer Party on Friday 14th July.
Jeremy Cripps, Chief Executive of Children North East, said: “We are delighted to run this event every year.  The children always have such brilliant ideas and are so enthusiastic creating their designs on the beach.  The Sandcastle Challenge also creates hidden opportunities – meeting business people is great for extending school relationships and continues to help us raise awareness of the life-changing work Children North East does with children and young people.”
The winning schools and their partner business are:
• Beaconhill Primary School working with Tesco Bank
• Holystone Primary School working with Faulkner Browns Architects
• St Mary Magdalene School, Seaham working with Cygnet Events
• Westoe Crown Primary School working with Robertson Facilities Management
• St Oswalds RC Primary School, South Shields working with ADP Architects