Puffin Festival images
“We’ve had visitors from Scotland, Lancashire and the South, even as far as Dorset” said Richard Wardman from 42 Queen Street.
“We had an increase in our turnover over the two weeks, there wasn’t a huge spike, but our visitor numbers went up.” said Stephanie Craig of Coquet Tea Rooms. “The feedback was very positive, people talked about what a great time they’d had on the puffin cruise, others enjoyed the talks and lots of people talked about the bands on the final day.”
The Festival itself got off to a colourful and exuberant start, despite intense heavy rain causing the postponement of the opening ceremony to the following morning, but the young singers and dancers soon shook off the damp and misty weather and cheered everyone with their delightful performances.
The event was officially opened by Captain Coquet aka Paul Morrison, RSPB Warden for Coquet Island, who wore a giant puffin hat throughout the day. Local poet Ian Williams recited two of his poems, one written especially for the Festival.
Children from Busy Bees nursery, Amble First School and St Cuthbert’s RC First School then performed for a large appreciative audience. Choreography was by Virginia Kennedy, Joanne Burn and Emma Dunn. A special song was written for the event by noted local folk musician Sandra Kerr (of Bagpuss fame).
In the afternoon, the Town Square filled with local environmental groups and organisations, there was a Happy Dog show, judged by TV Vet Jason Atherton, a brass band, belly dancing and music from Harbour Lights Choir. Hundreds of people thronged the Square, wandered along the harbour and down to the pier where the children’s crab catch competition took place.
Over the fortnight, visitors and locals were able to take part in a wide variety of activities, from outdoor events such as guided nature walks, to rock pooling and sand art. Talks on local history and wildlife were very popular, and there were crafts, singing, sports and demonstrations by hugely talented crafts people.
The festival was organised by Amble’s Town Team – representatives from the Business Club, Action Group, Town Council and Development Trust. Helen Lewis told The Ambler:
“The Festival gathered momentum as it went on and hopefully everyone who attended enjoyed it. We’ve had some wonderful, positve feedback. We appreciate there may be room for improvement and we will be discussing this in the coming days.”
Organisers were also delighted with the turnout and feedback for The Colony music festival, held on the final day.
One tweet read “Wow, there’s so many people at The Colony I fear the East of Amble may just tip into the sea.”Festival goer Tina Smith said “It was excellent! We can’t wait for next year.”
Organisers hope people will fill in the feedback forms on the festival leaflets or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any constructive comments.
“We want to thank everyone – there are too many people and organisations, to list individually but we are very grateful for their support.” said Helen.
“We have achieved our objectives; to promote Amble and increase the community spirit. It is wonderful to see what can be created when Amble people work together.”