Tilery primary school is the nearest to Durham University’s Stockton campus, and the Centre has built a strong relationship with the staff, pupils and community. February 3rd will see the third Tilery Lantern Parade, created with a view to hold an annual community event that will become a local tradition, with an emphasis on communal health and well-being.
Staff at the school have been plotting and planning for weeks. Materials have been stockpiled, ready for the commencement of the workshops. Everything is created in less that a fortnight leading up to the event. Today was Day 2 of the workshops, making lanterns with pupils and families. Yesterday, the core group of parents made the bamboo frame for a large star lantern, ready to be decorated by a host of stars created by the children, representing their dreams and wishes.
The local Sure Start team have been involved since the first Parade. They use it as team bonding time – they come in shifts, each adding to their colleagues’ efforts. Last year they made a minibus lantern, full of children’s story characters. This year, its… a star.
I arrived this morning and was met at the railway station by the head teacher, John Repton. As we arrived at the school, he said
“Welcome home, Mary.”
I was greeted with hugs from all and sundry, as had been my fellow artist Gilly Rogers.
“How’s your year been?” asked one Mam.
“I miss you when you’re not here making lanterns” said a child to Gilly.
Today, Year 4 spent the day making their lanterns – one between two, each with a star worked in to the design. Betwixt and between, parents made their lanterns. Kayleigh made a pair of small, finely worked creations, in the shape of prams, one for each of her daughters to carry. The Sure Starters put the panels of their star together.
A couple of families came after school, and stayed until 5.30. Tracy, who works in the school office, brought her daughter along to make a contribution. Children took photographs and made big drawings whilst their mam made a start on their family lanterns.
“We came last year. It was good, the way the lanterns shine in the night. It feels friendly.”
Next episode coming soon…