Christmas party raises funds to help buy paddle boat to be used in Thurston

Thurstone Outdoor Education Centre
Thurstone Outdoor Education Centre
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Youngsters from across South Tyneside enjoyed a Christmas party - while raising valuable funds for an outdoor education centre.

The event was organised by the Friends of Thurston group which was formed earlier this year to raise cash and further develop facilities at Thurston Outdoor Education Centre in the Lake District.

The bash raised £385 towards a paddle boat for larger groups and young people with special needs to use.

The event was held at Whitburn Parish Church hall and was attended by more than 50 children and their parents.

The entertainment was provided by David Prichard who came as Mr Tumble from CBeebies and Jim Frazer who came as Santa Claus.

Sonia Morton, the main organiser of the event, said: “The event was a sell-out and was wonderful. The children had an excellent time and were excited to see Mr Tumble and Santa.

“I would like to thank Greggs foundation and Madasafish in Whitburn for their kind donations.”

Set in 43 acres of grounds, Thurston offers residential stays for youngsters from South Tyneside schools and is also available to private groups.

Thurston has given tens of thousands children from the borough a chance to take part in outdoor activities for decades - offering a range of pursuits including walking, sailing, kayaking and climbing.

First opened in 1967 by Durham County Council, it was taken over by South Tyneside Council in 1982, after boundary changes and financial pressures on the Durham authority.

In 2014 the site was given a £243,750 National Lottery grant from Sport England’s Improvement Fund to bring in a raft of green energy measures. These include solar panels, a ground-source heat pump, double glazing and water-saving schemes.

Coun Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and families at South Tyneside Council, said: “Thurston holds a special place in the hearts of many of our residents who accessed the centre when they were younger.

“The work the Friends group is doing is fantastic as it helps to enhance the facilities there for current and future users of the centre. I would like to thank them for their efforts and wish them continued success in the future.”

Anyone who would like to get involved with voluntary work or make a donation can email sonicmorton@gmail.com