A TRUSTEE of a North East art, faith and heritage project had high praise for a student for leaving a lasting legacy for future generations with his ironmongery.
Chair of The Auckland Project leadership team Jane Ruffer visited students at St John’s School and Sixth Form College, A Catholic Academy, Bishop Auckland, to view their ‘At Home with Heritage’ project exhibition work.
Mrs Ruffer and her philanthropist husband Jonathan have invested millions of pounds in the 900-year-old Bishop’s Palace transforming it into a major tourist attraction and world-class art and heritage centre.
She said: “Bishop Auckland is a place with such a rich heritage where we can really learn from the past.
“History and heritage make us who we are. It is the rich tapestry that binds people and places together and passes on year after year from generation to generation.
“This exhibition really incorporates all aspects of local heritage and the skill the students have shown in exhibiting their work is wonderful. I especially enjoyed the history of tea and tea dances display. My mother grew up in Sunderland and was always talking about Ringtons Tea so that brought back some lovely memories.”
Exhibits of 16 projects were presented at the event including displays on inspirational people, places, language, local legends, photography, traditional crafts, science, art, music and dance, with students giving presentations and performances on their findings in each area.
Invited guests were also treated to musical entertainment by traditional folk band Cream Tees.
Academy arts co-ordinator Jaquie Holloway organised the event, which was funded by the Northern Heartlands Community Initiative Fund and managed by County Durham Community Foundation. She said: “Our cross-curricular project has really opened our students’ eyes to the riches of the world around them.
“Students of all ability levels and across all year groups have been able to visit and explore places they have not been to before, meet new people and work with talented artists, learning a host of new skills.
“It has helped them value their heritage, understand the importance of protecting it and share their experiences with others. One of the highlights of the celebration was a performance of a piece of music specially created during the project and inspired by our mining heritage. It brought the event to a fitting and moving close.”
Student Ethan Simpson, 14, of Bishop Auckland, who worked on a project to discover fallen soldiers of WWI and traditional crafts using blacksmith skills, added: “I didn’t choose history as a GCSE but it has been fascinating finding out about our local heritage.
“I also got the opportunity to try out traditional skills by learning how to forge steel with a blacksmith to make a log basket and a bunch of metal roses – the whole project has been really interesting.”