North East Connected

Spanish City mural design showcases young artists

A group of schoolchildren are making their mark on the revamp of the Spanish City.

Year three pupils from Marine Park First School in Whitley Bay are working with local artist and tutor Sue Slater to create a mural.

The mural is based on the old Spanish City fairground, which once stood on the same site as the school now occupies.

It will go proudly on display in the new Spanish City when the building reopens this summer as part of North Tyneside Council’s £36m Seafront Master Plan.

Sue, who lives in Whitley Bay, explained: “We’ve had groups of 10 coming in for an hour at a time to help with the mural and we’ve done about five or six shifts already – I’ve lost count!

“My children used to go to this school and they used to go to the funfair, which they really loved and I did too.

“I just thought it was very apt that we base the mural on the funfair and it’s a nice theme for the kids to work on because it’s colourful and interesting and exciting.”

Their involvement in the project has also raised excitement levels among youngsters at the school with the iconic venue soon to open its doors again.

Rosie said: “I don’t know a lot about the Dome but I’m definitely going to visit when it opens – I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s about.”

Mitchell said: “The thing I’m looking forward to the most is probably going in and exploring it, and seeing what it’s like for the first time because I went with the school when it was being built but there was nothing really in, just glass and scaffolding.”

Alex added: “I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like on the inside and what it’s like now from what it was a few years ago.”

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE said: “I’m delighted to see these young people getting involved in a creative project like this and making their mark on the Spanish City.

“We have been committed to involving the local community in the restoration of the Dome as much as possible.

“These children wouldn’t have been born when the building was last open so it’s fantastic to hear how excited they are about its reopening this summer.

“There isn’t much longer to wait now and it’s going to be an absolutely wonderful venue for everyone in the borough and wider area.”

Stephen Easton, head teacher at Marine Park First School, said: “Our school is fortunate to occupy a prestigious coastal site in Whitley Bay; sitting in the shadow of iconic buildings and on the site of the old funfair.

“Our children have witnessed the redevelopment of Spanish City from the classroom windows and playground; our school council have visited the site regularly as work has progressed. We can’t wait to visit Spanish City when it opens and feel really proud and grateful that our pupils have helped make a mural that seeks to connect the past, present and future.”

North Tyneside Council, in partnership with its contractors Robertson Construction and appointed designers ADP, are carrying out a major revamp of the Spanish City to bring it back to life as a high-quality fine dining and leisure venue.

It comes after the authority invested £4m and also secured a Coastal Communities Fund grant of more than £2.5m and £3.47m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

A short film about the mural at Marine Park First School can be viewed here:

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