The sun shone down on Sandhaven Beach as over 1,700 children from 49 schools gathered in South Shields for the Sandcastle Challenge 2019.

Children North East's Senior Fundraiser Carol Taylor and her experienced committee of 'Sand Men' worked super hard to create a really fun and memorable experience for everyone involved.

Each team of children were matched up with a local business and then tasked with designing sandcastles along the theme of 'Build A New World'.

Buzz in the air

Sandcastle Challenge

Everyone had exactly an hour after the klaxon sounded to leap onto their plots and build their creations. Team work was the order of the day, with children running up and down to the water's edge to bring back buckets of water to help make the sand firm enough to work with.

There was a huge buzz in the air and it was really exciting to see the designs coming to life in the sand. 

The children largely ran with an environmental spin, with numerous turtles and bumble bees being constructed, as well as designs displaying renewable energy and a very strong anti-plastic message.


LGBTQ design

Messages of tolerance, kindness and understanding were also strongly evident in the children's designs; among them a vibrant LGBTQ+ sandcastle.

It was clear from their creations just how passionate children are about the kind of new world they want to build, which left all the grown ups feeling really inspired and optimistic about the future - given how grim the news is on a daily basis this is quite an achievement!

Winning teams

Once the hour was up, the children all filed off the beach to have lunch and watch a Punch & Judy Show, giving the team of 15 judges a chance to deliberate over the winners. Not an easy task given the amazing entries - they're all winners really!

So just after 1pm the top 5 winning teams were announced and it was time for lots of photos before that golden moment when the kids got to jump all over their creations - the classic thing to do after you've built a sandcastle after all!!!!

  1. Bridgewater Junior School's team Wonderful Waste Warriors with Napper Architects Ltd.
  2. Roseberry Primary School's team Roseberry's Planet Protectors with Mottmacdonalds
  3. Ludworth Primary School's team The Genesis Genius with Esh Group
  4. St Peter's RC Primary School's team Global Green Gang with Gateshead College
  5. Beacon Hill Primary School's team Beacon Hill Barnacles with Tesco Bank

And the best name was awarded to Marine Park Primary School's team Clean Green Marine Machine.

The clean-up operation was really impressive, with all the children and grown-up helpers working quickly and efficiently to tidy up their plots and restore the beach to its natural best. All the schools agreed that all of their waste would be recycled of course...

Sandcastle Challenge 2019 Highlights

Come to the Sandcastle Ball!

The celebrations will continue at our annual Sandcastle Ball on September 27 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle. Join us for a night of fizz, a four course meal, fantastic live entertainment by brilliant band Hip Operation all expertly hosted by BBC’s Jeff Brown – it’s going to be THE party of the season.

Find out more

Sandcastle Ball collage