THOUSANDS turned out to enjoy two community events despite contrasting weather over the weekend.
Despite heavy downpours on Saturday, more than 1,000 people helped make sure a funday in Rossmere Park, organised by Hartlepool Borough Council chairman Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, was a huge success. And yesterday the sun got its hat on for the Games and the Garden event, organised by Friends of Seaton Park, which saw the launch of a new sensory garden at Seaton Park that is hoped will be enjoyed for years to come.
Olympic swimmer Jemma Lowe helped Coun Akers-Belcher launch the Rossmere fun day, which included a fairground, tombola, raffles, coconut shy, football, face-painting and children’s rides.
There was also a dog show judged by Hartlepool psychic medium Peter Crawford and performances from the Just Dance Freestyle Dance School, whose members kicked off their shoes to perform in the mud.
Coun Akers-Belcher said at least £1,000 was made for his chosen charities, The Belle Vue Youth Project, Central Correctors, Hartlepool Young Carers, Nurturing Young People’s Development (NYPD), The Phoenix Funsters, The Rifty Youth Project and The Wharton Annexe.
He added: “We thought it was going to be a washout, but once it stopped raining around 11am, the motto was ‘the show must go on’ and it certainly did go on.”
Coun Akers-Belcher said various civic dignitaries from places including Peterlee, Sunderland, Seaham, Shildon and Stockton attended and were “very impressed that Hartlepool got on and done the job”.
He paid tribute to everyone who made the event possible despite the weather and added: “What was apparent throughout the day was a sense of real community spirit – everything was against us but nothing was going to stop us making the day a success.”
And in yesterday’s warmer weather, Seaton Park was the venue for Games and the Garden, which was held to mark the launch of a new £20,000 sensory garden.
Around 2,000 people visited throughout the day.
Traditional games took place, including an egg-and-spoon race, welly-throwing, sack races, three-legged races, as well as wheelchair basketball run by the Cadbury’s Stars and Stripes team ahead of the Paralympic Games.
There were also three performances by the Hollis Academy of Dance.
Seaton councillor Paul Thompson, a volunteer with the Friends group, said: “It was a really good turnout and fantastic for the first event of the Friends of Seaton Park.
“Everyone said the sensory garden looks beautiful.”
Meanwhile, trade at Seaton Carew saw mixed fortunes across the weekend due to the erratic weather.
David Atkinson, owner of the Fish Face fish and chip shop, on The Front, said: “We were full yesterday but Saturday was a bit of a washout and wasn’t as busy as usual. “I think the weather is going to be a bit rubbish today but for some reason, no matter what the weather, we are always busy on a bank holiday.”