Pupils help document life in Northumberland National Park

Ashington High School media students Erin Purdy, 13, Ben Hardy, 13, Daniel Cole, 15, and Jack Towers, 13, interviewing Tony Gates, National Park Authority chief executive, at Steel Rigg as part of the Video Stories project. Picture by Mark Savage.
Ashington High School media students Erin Purdy, 13, Ben Hardy, 13, Daniel Cole, 15, and Jack Towers, 13, interviewing Tony Gates, National Park Authority chief executive, at Steel Rigg as part of the Video Stories project. Picture by Mark Savage.

Budding historians and investigative journalists have helped document the lives of people involved in Northumberland National Park.

The youngsters from Ashington High School took part in a special project to celebrate the Park’s 60th anniversary.

They spent time looking at the lives of people and communities who live and work there.

The Northumberland National Park Video Stories assignment is part of a commemorative project to collect 60 stories for 60 years which captures the perceptions, values and memories of children and adults from different backgrounds with connections to the landscape and heritage of the Park.

Salsabilla Sakinah, a postgraduate student at Newcastle University’s Media, Cultural and Heritage School, on placement with Northumberland National Park Authority, led the project, working alongside an eight-strong team of Year 8 and 10 students.

Salsabilla said: “Giving young people the opportunity to be a part of an inspiring and exciting project like this is fantastic in so many ways.

“The group have brought boundless energy, enthusiasm and professionalism to every session.

“They planned and coordinated the filming and led each interview with our volunteers.

“The final film will contribute to a digital archive to mark this special anniversary for the National Park.”

One of the student media crew, Erin Purdy, 13, said: “It’s been a great experience and definitely something to put on my CV.”

“I’ve enjoyed being out of school and spending time in the National Park. This project is making memories and memories you don’t forget.”

The Northumberland National Park Video Stories assignment also contributes to realising the aims and objectives of The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre which is currently under construction at Once Brewed on Hadrian’s Wall. The project is part of The Sill’s extensive engagement and activity programme to provide high quality learning experiences that reach out and open up the Park and its landscapes to a broad range of audiences including those in full-time education.

Brian Cosgrove, media manager at Ashington High School, said: “This has been a fabulous project.

“We have filmed across the whole of the National Park, from Hadrian’s Wall right up to the Scottish Border.

“The students have not only had an opportunity to develop their technical skills involved in recording video and sound, they have also had to do research on the Park and its geography, devise interview questions and scripts as well as get involved in the editing process.

“This sort of experience can transform young people’s views of their environment and their place within it. It certainly counts as learning outside the classroom and I look forward to working with Northumberland National Park on similar projects in the future.”