`

Sail-ebrations for a maritime hero

blyth community creates 600 flags to celebrate Captain William Smith
blyth community creates 600 flags to celebrate Captain William Smith

An arty project put together by Blyth residents is set to be showcased this month.

Blue Flag, an installation of 600 handmade sailcloth flags, will appear on Blyth beach on Sunday, August 19.

The installation, by Great Northumberland, is part of Headway Arts’ partnership with The Blyth Tall Ship to celebrate the voyages of Captain William Smith, the first captain to discover Antarctica.

There are also plans to restore a working tall ship in Blyth, the William II, then recreate the original expedition with a local crew, sailing to Cape Horn and Antarctica.

The blue flags offer varying interpretations of Captain Smith’s travels.

Headway creative director Allie Walton-Robson said: “I’m delighted that Headway Arts is artistically ‘flying the flag’ for our fantastic county and celebrating a wonderful local hero, who I think deserves his rightful place in history for his discovery of Antarctica.”

Schoolchildren made 400 of the flags, with the rest crafted by local residents, Headway artists and community groups.

They will appear along the tideline from dawn until dusk, responding to the turn of the tides. Each flag is unique.

Allie said: “This is a very elemental artwork made from natural materials reflecting and responding to wind and wave and the turn of the tide. Blue Flag is an award given to wonderful beaches, the title is a play on this.

“Northumberland has a lot of talented folk and The Blyth Tall Ship and Headway Arts are working together to inspire and offer new skills.”