THE rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of hundreds of eager ‘yarpers’ as they lined for the Penshaw Bowl.
The annual egg-rolling event at Penshaw Monument was held on a Good Friday rather than Maunday Thursday for the first time, and organisers were delighted with the boost the Bank Holiday gave to numbers – despite the weather.
“We had approximately 1,000 people register in advance,” said event manager Jessica Regnart, of organisers Sunderland Live.
“We weren’t sure what effect the weather would have but it looks as though the vast majority of people have turned up.
“Holding it on the Bank Holiday has definitely made a difference to the numbers.
“We’re absolutely delighted.”
“I am amazed at the number of people who have turned out even though it started to rain.”Mayor Coun Stuart Porthouse
Seven-year-old Nicole Murtha had travelled from Fulwell with mum and dad Sharon and Lee, and had her facer painted as an Easter Bunny – to match her decorated egg – to get in the mood.
The family have been to previous Penshaw Bowl and Nicole couldn’t wait for this year’s event to come around.
“She has been looking forward to it for a week,” said Sharon.
“She has been waiting for school to finish so she could come out today.”
Mayor of Sunderland Coun Stuart Porthouse kicked off the event and presented prizes to the winners.
He paid tribute to the dedication of the mums, dads and children who had defied the elements to make the day a success.
“It is fantastic,” he said.
“I am amazed at the number of people who have turned out even though it started to rain – absolutely amazed.
Coun Porthouse admitted that when the rain started, he had feared the worst: “I had thought we might end up in the marquee, so it is nice to see so many people out here,” he said.
“The tough people of Sunderland don’t mind a bit of rain – they come out and support the activities going on.”
Children took it in turns to line up by age group and throw their specially decorated eggs down the hill.
Everyone taking part received a chocolate egg, with bigger eggs for the winner and runner-up in each heat.
New Penshaw Academy pupil Connor Bewick was the first winner of the day, thanks to the egg which was decorated as a Minion from children’s film Despicable Me.
The five-year-old was at the bowl with mum Samantha and dad Kevin.
“He has been really excited,” said Samatha.
“He has been looking forward to coming down all morning.”