Pupils help Newcastle Airport users get into the Christmas spirit

Children fromWest Rainton Primary School at Houghton-le-Spring were invited to sing carols at Newcastle Airport by Sunderlands Foundation of Light.
Children fromWest Rainton Primary School at Houghton-le-Spring were invited to sing carols at Newcastle Airport by Sunderlands Foundation of Light.
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Pupils have been helping Newcastle Airport get into the festive spirit as it prepares for its busiest time of year.

The annual Christmas and New Year getaway is underway, with 215,000 passengers due to pass through the airport between Saturday, December 16, and Sunday, January 7.

The West Rainton Primary pupils were joined by Sunderland mascot Samson as they sang carols at the airport.

The West Rainton Primary pupils were joined by Sunderland mascot Samson as they sang carols at the airport.

Many are travelling in and out of the North East to visit family and friends, while others are escaping the cold British winter by heading to warmer climes.

Popular destinations include winter sun favourites the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, Dubai and beyond, as well as ski-spot Geneva and city breaks Berlin and Madrid.

To cheer travellers on their way, the airport staged Christmas carol performances from three local primary schools to kick off the festive season.

One was West Rainton Primary School in Houghton-le-Spring, whose pupils were accompanied by Sunderland AFC mascot Samson the Cat.

The opportunity arose because of the school's involvement with one of the airport's nominated charities, Sunderland's Foundation of Light.

The other schools were St Mark’s RC Primary from Newbiggin Hall, Newcastle, and St Patrick’s Primary at Stockton, nominated by the Newcastle United FC and Middlesbrough FC foundations respectively.

As official charity partners, the football clubs' foundations have received thousands of pounds in donations in the last 12 months from fundraising at the airport.

Nick Jones, chief executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “Christmas is a fantastic time of year and that’s no different here.

"We always enjoy a really busy festive season, and this year we’re on course to hit our busiest overall year in a decade – a fantastic Christmas gift.

“Thousands of people will make use of our flights, with some heading off for some much-needed winter sun, while others make use of our global hub network to make extra-special visits to family and friends over the holidays.

"As well as those heading off, we have thousands of passengers returning to the North East for Christmas.

"Our arrivals halls are a wonderful place to be at this time of year, and it’s a privilege to play a part in so many people’s special moments.”

As well as its fundraising achievements, Newcastle was named 'Airport of the Year', handled its highest number of passengers in a decade, and was fifth in a list of the world's happiest airports.