Children’s night at the museum

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HISTORY was brought to life for youngsters as they spent a night in a museum.

The sleepover was held in at the Great North Museum as part of a fund-raiser for the Percy Hedley Foundation held by Northumbrian Water.

Among the 119 people to take part were William Knox and Harry Clarkson, both five, who are classmates at St Joseph’s RC Primary in Murton.

They were accompanied by William’s mum Chloe, 27, who is also mum to Olivia, four, and Joseph, two, and his gran and Chloe’s mum Kathleen Armstrong, and Harry’s mum Helen Hodgson, who is also mum to Hattie, one.

Chloe said: “Just being in a museum at night was exciting and the boys had seen the film Night in the Museum, so they thought everything was going to come alive. We went around all the different displays and did some bug eating, so I tried some cockroaches and beetles, and we held some spiders and snakes.

“We learned about the mummies too and it was really good.”

The event, which ran from 7.30pm to 7am, has raised £600 for the charity so far.

Those who joined in wore their pyjamas and were split into six groups, Egyptians, Romans, archaeologists, geologists, curators and palaeontologists.

Each group then got the chance to brave a bug banquet which included giant ants, mopani worms, crickets and giant water scorpions, learn about the mummification process and dare to remove the organs of a life-size mummy, hold a host of creepy crawlies and animals, learn and feel what it must be like in space in the planetarium and go on a torch-light tour of the museum.

Everyone slept on a mat in a sleeping bag in the dinosaur, mummy, Hadrian’s Wall, natural Northumbria or living planet areas of the museum.

Money for Percy Hedley was raised through ticket sales, a raffle, tombola, individual sponsorships (for those taking part in the bug banquet or those brave enough to hold creepy crawlies and reptiles).

Northumbrian Water’s Jane Morland said: “It’s satisfying to know the money we raised on Friday night will contribute to providing this much needed help for those in our local communities.”

Carole Harder, chief executive of the Percy Hedley Foundation, said: “Not only was the event great fun, all the money raised on the night will go directly towards the vital services we provide to disabled children, young people and adults.”