A SCHOOLGIRL is getting set to light the way as she joins in the start of an international festival.
Arian White is a member of the youth forum which is hosted by Healthworks in Easington Colliery.
During the last few weeks she has been working alongside other members of the group to create a lantern each will carry as they march to signal the start of the four-night Lumiere light festival.
The launch parade will head through Durham at 6pm on Thursday, with the artworks to begin glowing as Arian – along with 150 children from across County Durham – pass by as they leave Millennium Place to Palace Green.
She is one of 20 from the group taking part, with a professional artist calling in to the Paradise Lane centre to help them make their fish-themed pieces ahead of the River of Light event.
The festival will feature 30-plus pieces of artwork which will be installed across the city centre and on show from 6pm to 11pm during the event’s run.
Arian’s involvement in the club has led her to be put forward as one of the entrants for the Young Citizen Award which is one of 12 titles up for grabs as part of the Healthworks Recognition Awards, which is being staged for the first time this year.
The entries must all be in by Friday, November 25, with a glittering ceremony to be held at the Glebe Centre in Murton in January.
Eight-year-old Arian said: “I enjoy arts and crafts and I’ve really been enjoying this.
“We made a big fish which has pink and purple eyes, a pink nose and green circles on the side and we’ve wrapped it in fairy lights so that it will light up on the night of the parade.”
Arian’s mum, Kristy signed her daughter up for the forum after doing some volunteering work at Healthworks herself.
She said: “As a single parent it’s really useful to have somewhere locally that we can come to and where Arian feels comfortable.
“She’d be here all the time if she could.
“We both enjoy it, though, and she’s made some new friends with the other children in the group and I think it’s good experience for her to mix with children of different ages and I knew she would enjoy this project as she’s always liked arts and crafts.
“We’re both looking forward to representing Healthworks at the parade now.”
Jane Morland, from award sponsor Northumbrian Water’s corporate responsibility team, said: “The Young Citizen award recognises youngsters who contribute positively to the local community.
“Too often the focus is on young people misbehaving but there are many youngsters like Arian who really make a difference to the local community and this award rewards them for their efforts.”
Healthworks runs a series of services and activities and is run by NHS County Durham and Darlington in partnership with Northumbrian Water and Durham County Council.
For more information about its work or details of the awards scheme, call the centre on 527 4150. The entry form is available on the Echo’s website: www.sunderlandecho.com