THOUSANDS turned out to celebrate Seaham Carnival at the weekend.
The annual event attracted 17,000 visitors, its biggest crowd ever, thanks to a host of new activities and attractions.
A pirate theme presided over the day – with top prizes at the five-star Seaham Hall hotel presented to the best dressed– and a continental market, outdoor circus and an all-live music line up also added to the programme.
The event saw a permanent tribute unveiled to the local mining community.
The Leaning Post sculpture was officially revealed as the Seaham Town Council-organised festival reached a close.
The £30,000 sculpture has been created by artist Brian Brown, who worked at Silksworth pit, and depicts three colliery workers to represent each of Seaham’s now defunct mines.
It has been placed at a site on the seafront where coal would have begun its journey to the harbour before it was shipped out.
The idea for the artwork has been in the pipeline since the last of its pits, Vane Tempest, closed in 1992.
The town council, which covered the cost of the project along with five of Seaham’s county councillors and the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation, has said the piece is dedicated not just to its community, but those across the area.
Town council leader Eddie Mason said: “I think it will be as iconic as the Angel of the North, not in size but in sentiment.
“It was about time this was done.
“As far as I’m concerned, if you take a look at mining across Durham County, it started off in the west and made its way to the coast to the harbour.
“We had champion pits but we also have a champion community.
“It took some tough nuts to get that coal out, it’s buried treasure.
“I’m delighted we have finally got something that recognises the part Seaham played and its not just a memorial for Seaham, but for County Durham.”
The council has said it has received only positive feedback on the sculpture so far, which bears a plaque stating: “Brothers, Waitin’ t’ gan down.”
Police today said there had been five arrests at the carnival, all for public order offences.