Sunderland schoolboy with passion for Penshaw Monument gets dream sleepover experience
A Sunderland schoolboy with a passion for Penshaw Monument has had a new experience of his favourite landmark at a sleepover.
Hugh Clinton, along with his mam, Julie Martin, he was given a special discount for an overnight stay at the Old Schoolhouse country retreat at Cox Green, which has an unrivalled upward view of the famous 1845 monument.
The 14-year-old lives in Grindon, where he has a six-feet high model of Penshaw Monument in his back garden. The family home is decorated in photographs, paintings and models of the monument
Hugh is autistic and attends the Harry Watts Academy, which provides education with a primary focus on the condition, was desperate to see a dusk at the site and also to see it under the moon and stars.
So Julie got in touch with the venue’s owner, Scott Richards, who then arranged their stay.
Julie said: “We always look for new things to do with Penshaw Monument, because Hugh knows every nook and cranny you can see it from.
“We googled places to stay where you can see it. Then I got talking to Scott and explained about Hugh.
"Scott’s choc-a-block with bookings, but he let us have it at discount when he knew how much it would mean. He was absolutely lovely.
“We got a wonderful sunset and Hugh woke up loads of times during the night. It was a beautiful, beautiful place to stay. He’s got 70,000 pictures of Penshaw Monument now. It’s his life.”
Hugh said: “It was just a lovely night. We saw the sun setting and rising over it. It was also great to see the moon and the stars. The room was fab too.
“I’d do it again. I didn’t want to come home. I’ve been passionate about it since I was about three years-old.”
Hugh’s passion for the landmark has seen him appear on BBC Look North. In March 2022 he received a letter addressed from the Queen, after he had written to the late monarch about her Platinum Jubilee, but also about his passion for the monument.
The country retreat opened in April 2022. Scott is now putting the finishing touches to the transformation of the historic Cox Green school into a coffee shop to be opened in March.