Turning Sunderland into wonderland – Alice mascots chosen to celebrate 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll classic

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No, you are not seeing double twice over.

The four Alices in Wonderland are the mascots of a month-long celebration of the book’s 150th anniversary, dreamt up by the Sunderland BID (Business Improvement District).

Alice in Sunderland was the theme for the maze that popped up in the city centre over the weekend, when four 'Alices' were chosen to represent the city. The four Alices are, from left, Leanne Wilson, 12, from the Ford Estate, Carrie Ann Lawler, 8, from Sunderland, Caitlin Bannister, 11, from Fatfield in Washington, and Abigail Mahoney, 13, from Ryhope.

Alice in Sunderland was the theme for the maze that popped up in the city centre over the weekend, when four 'Alices' were chosen to represent the city. The four Alices are, from left, Leanne Wilson, 12, from the Ford Estate, Carrie Ann Lawler, 8, from Sunderland, Caitlin Bannister, 11, from Fatfield in Washington, and Abigail Mahoney, 13, from Ryhope.

Activities will span four weekends, the first centred on a maze which sprung up in Keel Square after kids from Tavistock Nursery sprinkled magic seeds there last week.

Each Alice will the have a weekend when they will act as the title character of Lewis Carroll’s 1865 classic Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

Gemma Dishman, from the BID, said organisers were unable to choose between the four girls on the shortlist, so they decided to make them all winners. The girls will help promote the city to visitors in a bid to increase footfall over the summer.

And kicking off the celebrations at the weekend was eight-year-old Carrieanne Lawler.

Alice in Sunderland was the theme for the maze that popped up in the city centre over the weekend, when four 'Alices' were chosen to represent the city.

Alice in Sunderland was the theme for the maze that popped up in the city centre over the weekend, when four 'Alices' were chosen to represent the city.

Carrieanne, from Monkwearmouth, is no stranger to dressing up as her family are members of a costuming group. She entered the competition to be Alice after her mum saw a post on Facebook.

“I didn’t expect to be picked,” she said. “I was shocked and really surprised. I didn’t think I would get it because I’m the sort of person who just does what they like.”

“I like the book because I think it has a magical feel to it and it makes me feel nice after reading the story,” Carrieanne added.

The other three Alices who will be given their time to shine in the coming weeks are Leanne Wilson, 12, from Ford Estate, Caitlin Bannister, 11, from Fatfield, and Abigail Mahoney, 13, from Ryhope.

Alice in Sunderland was the theme for the maze that popped up in the city centre over the weekend, when four 'Alices' were chosen to represent the city. The four Alices are, from left, Leanne Wilson, 12, from the Ford Estate, Carrie Ann Lawler, 8, from Sunderland, Caitlin Bannister, 11, from Fatfield in Washington, and Abigail Mahoney, 13, from Ryhope.

Alice in Sunderland was the theme for the maze that popped up in the city centre over the weekend, when four 'Alices' were chosen to represent the city. The four Alices are, from left, Leanne Wilson, 12, from the Ford Estate, Carrie Ann Lawler, 8, from Sunderland, Caitlin Bannister, 11, from Fatfield in Washington, and Abigail Mahoney, 13, from Ryhope.

Next weekend has a food theme and is entitled ‘Eat Me Drink Me’. For more information, visit www.experienceithere.co.uk.

Alice in Sunderland was the theme for the maze that popped up in the city centre over the weekend, when four 'Alices' were chosen to represent the city. She's late: Rachel Kelly, from organisers 'She's Got It.'

Alice in Sunderland was the theme for the maze that popped up in the city centre over the weekend, when four 'Alices' were chosen to represent the city. She's late: Rachel Kelly, from organisers 'She's Got It.'