Hundreds turn out for family fun day in Hartlepool

Three-year-old Gracie-Mae Stevenson with great aunt Billie Leak and Keeley Jonas of Oreo and Friends, who is shown feeding a racoon.
Three-year-old Gracie-Mae Stevenson with great aunt Billie Leak and Keeley Jonas of Oreo and Friends, who is shown feeding a racoon.

A community has turned out in force for a free family fun day in Hartlepool.

Rift House Recreational Field in Kingsley Avenue was the venue as hundreds of people young and old visited to try their hand at activities, have a bite to eat or go on a number of funfair rides.

Children on a cycle kart track at the Rift House Family Fun Day.

Children on a cycle kart track at the Rift House Family Fun Day.

Animal displays with llamas, falcons, snakes and ponies took place, while other activities such as a climbing wall, cycle kart and bike tracks were also put on for excited youngsters.

Various stalls were present too with advice handed out by the likes of St John’s Ambulance, while Mr Bungle’s Punch and Judy Show provided some entertainment.

Superheroes such as Spiderman were present as well, with plenty of children eager to get a picture with the web wonder.

The fun followed on from a car boot sale which was held earlier on in the day.

The climbing wall activity at the Rift House Family Fun Day.

The climbing wall activity at the Rift House Family Fun Day.

Among those enjoying the fun was Hayley Hakansson, 50, who works at Belle Vue Sports Community and Youth Centre nearby.

She said: “This is the first time I’ve come along to this because I’m normally working today.

“I think it’s a great event and anything that gets the kids happy and smiling is brilliant.

“People from all over Hartlepool are here and it’s nice to see children having such a good time in the last few weeks of the school holidays.

Jake Pinto of Animal Story pictured with a corn snake.

Jake Pinto of Animal Story pictured with a corn snake.

“It’s even better than I expected to be honest.”

Michael Jones, 52, was visting from Peterlee.

“I’ve got family in Hartlepool and heard about it so thought I’d come along,” he said.

“There’s something for everyone really and the weather has been decent so you can see why so many are here.”

Rosie Wilson, two, meets Chester the alpaca at the Rift House event.

Rosie Wilson, two, meets Chester the alpaca at the Rift House event.

It is the first time the fun day, now in its 11th year, has been organised by Hartlepool Borough Council after being previously put on by Rift House East Residents’ Association.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council who serves the Foggy Furze ward in the town, said: “It’s great to see so many people coming out today.

“There are a lot of different attractions on and obviously that has got people interested in what the event has to offer.

“The people that I’ve spoken to say they have really enjoyed seeing the different animals which are here.

“There are normally plenty of people who come for the car boot sales and plenty look to have stayed after, so there will probably be over 1,000 people will have been here by the time it’s finished, which is good to see.”

Coun Kevin Cranney, who also serves Foggy Furze and is the council’s chairman of the regeneration services committee, said: “The only negative is that there is a lack of a big sound system to attract more people here, but we’re impressed with how many have come so far.

Four-year-old Ollie Robinson taking a pony ride during the Rift House event.

Four-year-old Ollie Robinson taking a pony ride during the Rift House event.

“It has rained a bit this morning, but the sun has come out and that’s brought plenty in.”

One of the many bikes that visitors to the Rift House event could ride.

One of the many bikes that visitors to the Rift House event could ride.

Derek Clark of Falconry Days holding a barn owl.

Derek Clark of Falconry Days holding a barn owl.