Celebration day at Sunderland castle before restoration work starts
Talented youngsters helped to pull up the drawbridge at a Sunderland castle.
Children took to the stage at Hylton Castle to entertain audiences at a day of celebration before restoration work beings.
Singers and dancers from Inspire Stage School, based at Castle View Academy, performed along with children from Castletown Primary School choir.
The event was the beginning of an open day, which was part of Sunderland’s Local History Month, a programme of events and acvities celebrating the rich heritage of the city.
Hylton Castle, which is 600 years old, will close next week in preparation for a £4.5million restoration, which is due to get underway in June, turning the castle into a community venue, which is due to open in summer 2018.
As well as the performances, there were activities on throughout the day, including archery, and detailed plans and drawings of the restoration work were on display for people to look at.
Pastor Keith Cook, from Hylton Castle Mission, said it is really exciting waiting to see the castle transformed.
He said he was on the bus with an American friend who suddenly stood up and shouted ‘that’s awesome’.
Pastor Cook said: “He was talking about the castle and I thought ‘yeah it is pretty awesome’.”
The celebration day at the castle was hosted by Sunderland City Council’s heritage team and the Hylton Castle Project Board, which includes voluntary group, the Friends of Hylton Castle and Dene.
Volunteers were also supported on the day by young people from 25th Sunderland Scouts.
Learning Manager for the Hylton Castle Project, Elanor Johnson said: “The castle has a wealth of stories to tell about the local history of the area. From the Barons of the Hylton family who built this magnificent structure and called it home for hundreds of years, to the school children and soldiers who lived at the castle in the 19th and 20th centuries.
“The building is going to be totally transformed for community use, there will cafe facilities and people will be able to use it for weddings.
“The outside of the castle will look the same, but a new structure will be built inside.
“You will be able to stand on a brand new floor, but touch a 600-year-old wall.”