20 April 2020

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Land of Oak & Iron Celebration
Traditional Rapper Sword Dancing with High Spen Blue Diamonds and transforming children's drawings into a tapestry of life along the Derwent Walk.
Welcome to the Land of Oak & Iron Newsletter

In this week's newsletter read about one of the many projects still being developed in readiness for the re-opening of the Heritage Centres and take a look at the Celebration Event held earlier this year. 

Don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, please tag us and share any interesting photographs or ideas out there to help keep everyone occupied during our time spent closer to home. 
A Threaded Walk in the Land of Oak & Iron

Rowlands Gill Primary Crafts Group began with a banner ... in 2012, Rowlands Gill Primary PTA asked a small group of volunteers to produce a banner for the school hall to celebrate the community.  The project was so enjoyable that the volunteers decided to continue meeting and making things together as a means of fundraising for the school whilst also involving the school children in extracurricular arts and crafts projects.

The group's current project is a bespoke piece of textile artwork, taking inspiration from the Land of Oak & Iron and the genuine sense of pride in the local cultural and industrial heritage of the area.  The group wanted a theme that the children could relate to, so 'A Walk in the Land of Oak & Iron' was chosen as the title, with the illustrations based on the familiar surroundings of the Derwent Walk.

Drawings created by the children have been carefully translated into beautifully printed, embroidered and appliqued details across the banner, which will be on display in the Heritage Centre later in the year when it re-opens.

Read on to discover more details on how the banner was constructed. 
Celebrate the Land of Oak & Iron 

Last month, just before our normal daily routines dramatically changed course, Land of Oak & Iron held a celebration event in Blaydon Rugby Club.

It was lovely to see so many familiar faces of friends. colleagues, volunteers and families at the event, which was organised as an informal thank you for the support given to the project since it all started back in 2016.

The evening celebrated the Land of Oak & Iron's journey and all the achievements - breathing new life into the history and heritage of the region for future generations to enjoy.

Thanks go to all those who joined us that evening, with particular gratitude to musicians Bill Elliott of the Elliott's of Birtley and Kiddar's Luck who entertained with stories and folk songs about coalmining, the local area and a little further afield with a rendition of Leaving of Liverpool, which many in the audience sang along to!

We were also privileged to watch traditional Rapper Sword Dancing performed by the High Spen Blue Diamonds, led by Ricky Forster, grandson of Fred Forster who formed the original team back in 1926.

Following the entertainment, Land of Oak & Iron Chair David Marrs and Partnership Manager Karen Daglish, said a few words and presented framed certificates to various individuals and groups in recognition of their hard work, commitment to the project and friendship.

Throughout the evening, photographs taken over the 4 years of the project were playing on the large screen and a fun quiz was shared to see how much everyone knew about the Land of Oak & Iron and local area.

Take a look at some of the photographs from the evening and of the wider project on our website Gallery pages.

Thanks to volunteer Kelvin Shell for the photographs taken during the Celebration Event.

Wednesday 22 April is Earth Day's 50th anniversary.  Although this year's Earth Day will need to be commemorated a little differently this time around, there are still plenty of activities you can do closer to home in helping to protect our planet and the health of the environment.

Earth Day's 'Environmental Education at Home' webpage includes a range of science, environmental and art activities and ideas for people of all ages, along with fun educational resources from a range of other organisations.

Take action for the planet whilst social distancing - we can use this more solitary time to reassess our current habits and think about developing new ones that have less impact on our planet.

Find out more.

And to finish - just a few of the photographs from our collection to remind us of the beautiful Land of Oak & Iron and some of the special activities we have shared together as a community.

If you have any photographs that you would like to share, please tag us on our social media pages @LandofOakandIron
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