Lantern parade lights up Sunderland neighbourhood

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FIREWORKS lit up the night’s sky to mark an annual Wearside celebration.

Now in its 11th year, the Southwick Lantern Festival is getting bigger and better all the time.

Children with their families and friends took to the streets of Southwick as part of the annual Lantern Festival. Thankfully, it was a mild and dry night as those taking part processed through the streets. There were lanterns of all shapes and sizes.

Children with their families and friends took to the streets of Southwick as part of the annual Lantern Festival. Thankfully, it was a mild and dry night as those taking part processed through the streets. There were lanterns of all shapes and sizes.

The event was started by Southwick Primary School to bring the community together and is now the highlight of the area’s calendar.

Trish Stoker, headteacher at the Shakespeare Street school, said: “What fantastic weather we had for it, it was a beautiful evening and we had some amazing support from everyone.

“We had the fireworks for the first time last year and we really liked them, so decided to have them again.”

The theme for this year’s festival was ‘The World is Ours’ and Mrs Stoker said children, parents and members of the community made a wide range of lanterns, from a huge elephant to a replica of the Taj Mahal. She said a lot of effort goes into creating the lanterns with parents working with a resident artist to create eye-catching pieces.

It takes lots of volunteers more than two weeks, to create all the lanterns and bring the festival together.

Following the fireworks, a procession carrying the lanterns made their way through the streets of Southwick, led by a New Orleans-style jazz band. Several community groups joined in the festival, including police, housing company Gentoo, the Salvation Army, staff from Sainsbury’s and the local youth club. They were also joined by the Southwick city councillors and Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland, Coun Stuart Porthouse and his wife Marie.

The headteacher said: “It is just a wonderful celebration of our community and shows the strength in the community, which is still there.”