Last chance for a look around Hylton Castle
Hundreds of local families, young performers, passing cyclists and dog walkers were all welcomed to Hylton Castle over two weekends in May as part of Sunderland's Local History Month. The castle doors were opened to visitors for one last time before construction work begins this summer, giving people a last opportunity to stand inside the castle and look up to the open sky above!
As part of the celebrations, young performers turned the south side of the castle in to an outdoor stage, and hundreds of parents came along to watch talented dancers and singers from Inspire Stage School Sunderland who rehearse at the nearby Castle View Academy, and to listen to the award-winning choir of Castletown Primary School. An address was given by Pastor Keith Cook of Hylton Castle Mission, who reminded us how valueable the castle is to all of us, as individuals and as a community, concluding that 'Hylton Castle is Awesome!'
Susan Ord, chair of the Friends of Hylton Castle and Dene, and a host of other volunteers worked tirelessly over the two weekends to welcome visitors to the site and to show the plans for the transformation of the structure in to a new heritage-led, community-based venue. "It was wonderful to talk to people about the plans" said Susan, "We've been working for 20 years to secure a bright new future for the castle and dene, and the people I spoke to were so supportive and excited that the castle will be opened up and given the care it deserves".
The celebratory atmosphere was enhanced with parachute games for children, music, and archery sessions - many thanks to all those who volunteered, and community partners Project 13, I Am Sports, Hylton Castle Mission, Castletown Primary School and Inspire Stage School Sunderland. A special thanks must also go to Castletown Scouts, who gave up their Friday evening to shift mounds of earth and fill holes in preparation for visitors!