Workshops have been underway since last Saturday and there is a room in school filled with lanterns waiting to be covered with tissue paper. The first day was given over to families. In true Tilery Primary School fashion, there was a hearty soup provided, served up by head teacher John Repton.

It was a great day spent making our lantern together as a family. Oh, and the food was lovely too!

The local Sure Start team always come to work together on a lantern of their own design. This year it’s a large butterfly that will float over the parade. I’ve also spotted a dragon, a dinosaur, a carp and a host of rockets heading for the stars. Years 3 and 4 have made small house-shaped creations and  Years 5 and 6 worked in teams to finish four mega-lanterns that will punctuate the parade.

The Willows Community Centre is on the same site as the school. Staff and children have worked together to make an ambitious parent and child lantern sculpture, complete with plinth. It is being made there, with us running across when necessary to proffer technical advice.

The large star lantern is the repository of remembrances, written by pupils and families in gold pen on silhouetted stars. Friends and family of a recently deceased young boy are making a beautiful crown lantern, as he was known as their little prince.

Four first year medical students from Durham are on their community placement at the school. They brought along a friend and spent their afternoon in the lantern workshop. They stayed until five o clock, making ‘a couple of small, manageable lanterns’ that somehow became a very large star, a big cube and a small, sweet lamp. They were advised by Katie, aged 9, who last year taught another bunch of medics how to cover a lantern.The lesson she delivered today was how to make eyes and hearts from willow…

Year 4 pupils have set up a Skype connection with their peers at Chickenley Primary School in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Chickenley have their own Lanternland event in March. Tilery staff, parents and children attended last year and Chickenley staff will return the favour next week when they come to the parade. There are plans afoot for a twinning of sorts.The Skype calls were a revelation. It took numerous attempts to make a connection and the quality was poor, but the children were so excited that it was in real time.

That was awesome. I can’t believe we could see them and speak to them. Awesome!

1 Comment

Angela Woods · January 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Thank you so much Mary for bringing the Tilery Lantern Parade to life for those of us who are unable to be there. The lanterns you describe sound absolutely stunning, and I can’t wait to see pictures of the creation process and eventual parade. Thanks for keeping us posted!

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