Alice in Wonderland characters to make final appearance as Sunderland Illuminations grow

The Queen of Hearts admires the previous illuminations in Roker Park.
The Queen of Hearts admires the previous illuminations in Roker Park.
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Curiouser and curiouser characters are making their final appearance lighting up the dark nights.

The colourful light installations featuring Alice in Wonderland characters have delighted families in Roker Park the past few years, and are returning again at the end of this month.

John Kelly and the Cheshire Cat

John Kelly and the Cheshire Cat

But Alice and the Cheshire Cat are bowing out to make way for new installations as part of a bid to bring Sunderland Illuminations back to their glory days, meaning this years light is the last chance to see the Lewis Carroll-themed lights.

John Kelly, the senior councillor responsible for culture in Sunderland, said: “Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic, Alice in Wonderland, turns 150 this year and we want to celebrate the city’s links with the book in style.

“Each year we try to develop the range, content and quality of our illuminations, next year we’ll be looking to new themes and new ideas, so this year is a great time to see the Alice in Wonderland installations in Roker Park, as well as the fantastic new displays.

The Alice in Wonderland lights return as part of a “bigger and better lighting display” and programme of family entertainment from September 26 to November 1.

Work has already begun with partners, Aurora/Balfour Beatty Living Places, and Blackpool Council to design and install this year’s illuminations.

Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Barry Curran, who will switch on the lights with a special guest, said: “It will be an honour as Mayor to switch on the lights in my own ward.

“I take great pleasure in seeing our beautiful seafront lit up each year and also in seeing the wider benefits this huge event brings to the area.

“I’d encourage everyone to come along with family and friends and make the most of this fantastic occasion.”

Sunderland City Council recently approved £200,000 to £250,000 of funding for infrastructure works to help improve the lights over the next four years.

The council said work is also underway to increase income from advertising and sponsorship, and to encourage businesses and other beneficiaries of increased visitor attendance to up their contribution to future illuminations.