Sunderland Lego festival a success to build on

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SUNDERLAND’S first Lego festival was really something to build on.

Hundreds of fans big and small flocked to the event at Bede Tower in Ryhope Road on Saturday.

Lego enthusiasts of all ages were treated to an exhibition of Lego models organised by Northern Brickworks at the Bethany Church at bede Tower.'Brothers Daniel Cummings, four and Thomas, seven, were in their element playing at this Lego football stadium.

Lego enthusiasts of all ages were treated to an exhibition of Lego models organised by Northern Brickworks at the Bethany Church at bede Tower.'Brothers Daniel Cummings, four and Thomas, seven, were in their element playing at this Lego football stadium.

Lego enthusiasts group Northern Brickworks organised the event, which included a working Lego railway, football stadium, Chinese temple and even a model of Sunderland magistrates’ court built by event organiser Bobby Martin, a clerk at the court.

Arts and craft stalls Lego traders were in attendance, along with charity Fairybricks, which raises money to buy Lego sets for children’s hospitals and hospices.

Visitors could even buy a brick to go into a massive Lego model of Durham Cathedral, part of which was on display.

More than 400 visitors had passed through the doors by lunchtime, to Bobby’s delight. “The turnout has been fantastic,” he said.

Lego enthusiasts of all ages were treated to an exhibition of Lego models organised by Northern Brickworks at the Bethany Church at bede Tower.'Lucy Mutch, seven, Daniel Smith, three and his brother Oliver, six pictured with fellow Lego fans Zacchery Hudson, six and Issac Mason, four.

Lego enthusiasts of all ages were treated to an exhibition of Lego models organised by Northern Brickworks at the Bethany Church at bede Tower.'Lucy Mutch, seven, Daniel Smith, three and his brother Oliver, six pictured with fellow Lego fans Zacchery Hudson, six and Issac Mason, four.

Guest of honour was Lego’s global chief financial officer John Goodwin, who had travelled up for the day from his home in York.

Enthusiasts events were a good way to find out what was popular – or not so popular – among the customers, he said.

“I try to get round to as many fan events as I can – talking to the fans, finding out what their issues are , what’s hot – and what’s not – is very important for us.

“We first started producing blocks in 1958, and the blocks we produced in 1958 are still compatible with the blocks we produce today.

“It is great to see mums and dads sitting down with their kids, collaborating together in the world of play.”

Kayley Laybourne and Michael Percy had brought Lego-mad seven-year-old son Ben to the event from their home in Hylton Castle.

Michael loved Lego as a boy and has rediscovered his passion through Ben.

“It started years ago when he got a big box for Christmas,” he said.

“He got the Lego Hogwarts School from Harry Potter, but he was too young to put it together, so I started helping him and I found it really relaxing.

“Ben really loves the minifigures – Harry Potter, the superheroes, they are just perfect for his level.”