Maritime centre opens its doors

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A NEW £3m maritime centre has opened its doors after seven years of planning and preparation.

More than 60 volunteers from the Newbiggin Heritage Partnership have been involved in getting the new centre up and running.

Its centrepiece attraction is the Mary Joicey lifeboat, now back in her old home town after spending years in Reading.

Original film footage of fishing and sea rescue brings the centre to life, with audio telling tales from Newbiggin’s well-known fishermen and lifeboat-volunteers.

The centre will be celebrating its opening this Saturday with a family fun day including mini-pony rides, Punch and Judy shows and sandcastle-building competitions.

Partnership chairman Richard Martin, pictured, said: “We are delighted to open the Newbiggin Maritime Centre. We are extremely proud of what has been accomplished by our dedicated volunteers who have worked so hard to make the centre a wonderful attraction.

“Local people are the backbone of the project – from having the vision for a centre to fundraising and giving their time to make it a reality.

“It’s great to see visitors enjoying the exhibitions and learning more about the history of our village.”

Funding for the centre was supplied by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment through its Sea Change regeneration initiative for coastal communities, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Northumberland County Council and Go Wansbeck.

Visit www.newbigginmaritimecentre.org.uk for more information.