Seaside tourist attraction set to be centre of attention

seven years of planning, fundraising and hard work will come to fruition next Thursday as Newbiggin Maritime Centre opens its doors for the first time.

More than 60 volunteers have been involved in getting the seafront tourist attraction up and running.

Taking pride of place is the Mary Joicey lifeboat, now back in Newbiggin after spending recent years in landlocked Reading in Berkshire.

She was the last offshore lifeboat to be stationed at Newbiggin, and, with her crew of volunteers, saved the lives of 90 people before being withdrawn from service in 1989.

After a 24-year exile down south, the RNLI lifeboat has now been restored to her former glory, and joining her will be the restored fishing coble the Girl Anne.

Visitors will also be able to listen to fisherman’s tales, watch footage of sea rescues and explore items from shipwrecks found by divers.

Centre manager Jo Gooding said: “There is going to be so much happening to appeal to visitors of all ages.

“Newbiggin Maritime Centre was created by local people for the benefit of local people – whether they are going to be visitors, volunteers, employees or trainees.

“We are so excited that the centre offers such a diverse range of activities.

“From the exhibition, the educational offer to local schools, the restaurant and the function room, it all fits together to place the maritime centre at the hub of the village, and it’s also a fantastic regional attraction.”

The shop will sell items designed and made by Northumbrian artists, with products ranging from jewellery made from items found on the county’s coastline, to hand-carved stone sculptures.

The multi-million-pound centre is open all year round from 10am to 5pm, and its restaurant is open until 11.30pm on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Entry is £2.40 for adults and £1.60 for children.

For details, visit www.newbigginmaritimecentre.co.uk