Sunderland school shows its support for Syrian refugees as lantern parade draws in huge crowd

Annual Southwick Lantern Festival last night
Annual Southwick Lantern Festival last night
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Hundreds of families showed their solidarity with others across the world as they joined in a community celebration.

Southwick Primary school launched its annual parade 13 years ago as its leaders aimed to bring people together during a time when the area was going through several big changes.

Lanterns ready and waiting to be collected by pupils at Southwick Primary School for their annual Lantern Parade on Thursday night.

Lanterns ready and waiting to be collected by pupils at Southwick Primary School for their annual Lantern Parade on Thursday night.

Now about 400 people take part, with last night’s given a theme of One World.

It follows the school’s work with those in Homs and Damascus, Syria, in previous years, which saw teachers take part in an exchange, and its ongoing relationships with the friends they made through the project.

The school has been taking part in a project called A Selfie For Syria, which has seen pupils and adults take a photo of themselves with a bear to raise awareness of the problems being faced by refugee.

The images have then been uploaded onto the school’s website, with cash being raised for the cause through donations.

Headteacher Trish Stoker

It’s important that people what is happening and understand,

The parade also builds on the teaching work it does with its pupils on the United Nation’s children’s rights.

Headteacher Trish Stoker said: “We have looked through these situations through children’s eyes and compare our wonderful lives and homes to what the children in Syria are going through.

“It’s important that people know what is happening and understand, and the lanterns reflect our concerns.

“Our parents are amazing and really support what we are doing.”

Annual Southwick Lantern Festival last night

Annual Southwick Lantern Festival last night

Lanterns and paper artworks had been made by families during the last fortnight through workshops hosted by the Shakespeare Street school.

The Deputy Mayor of Sunderland Coun. Alan Emmerson and Southwick Community School head teacher Trish Stoker lead off the annual Southwick lantern Festival last night.

The Deputy Mayor of Sunderland Coun. Alan Emmerson and Southwick Community School head teacher Trish Stoker lead off the annual Southwick lantern Festival last night.

Annual Southwick Lantern Festival last night

Annual Southwick Lantern Festival last night

Annual Southwick Lantern Festival last night

Annual Southwick Lantern Festival last night

Oliver (4) and Robert (8) Dennis of Southwick with their lantern ready for last nights Southwick Lantern Festival.

Oliver (4) and Robert (8) Dennis of Southwick with their lantern ready for last nights Southwick Lantern Festival.