More than 1,700 school children from 50 primary and middle schools are set to take part in the 25th Sandcastle Challenge on Sandhaven Beach, South Shields on Friday 5 July, which is sponsored by construction specialist, Galliford Try Partnerships North.

This year’s title is ‘Build a New World’ and pupils have taken up the environmental theme with real enthusiasm.

A total of 126 staff who work for 34 different businesses – from architects and construction companies to legal practices and banks – are currently going into schools and helping children work up their designs. They’ll then join the children on the beach on the 5th to support them in building their ideas in sand.

Ideas at the ready

Gibside School

Pictured: Gibside School

Amongst the schools taking part is Gibside School in Whickham, Gateshead, which educates children with additional needs. Gibside, which is being supported by Galliford Try Partnerships North, was one of last year’s winners and hopes to do well again in 2019.

Teacher, Mark Turner, said his team, The Breathtakingly Best Beach Builders, were very excited about the Challenge: “We’ve been talking about it every day and the class has some great ideas for building a new world. All the children will be working hard to try and bring the title home again this year.”

Escomb school with their designs

Pictured: Escomb Primary School with their designs

Escomb Primary School, near Bishop Auckland, is also one of the three schools in the region being supported by Galliford Try Partnerships North this year.

Year Six class teacher, Leanne Collings, said her students were really excited about bringing their designs to life.

“The environment is so topical at the minute and we’re a recycling school and have already talked about climate change so the children all got straight into it.

“We’ve entered the Sandcastle Challenge in the past and I think it’s fab. It’s fantastic for businesses like Galliford Try Partnerships North to get involved with schools and support them. It’s important for the children to see that people in businesses will make time for them and help with their learning.”

Pupil, Macey Dixon, aged 11, added: “Our future should be bright but at the moment it isn’t because of all the plastic in it, so we’ve thought of ideas about how we could stop pollution from plastic and that’s going to be part of our team’s sandcastle design.”

Linton School

Pictured: Linton Primary School

Linton Primary School, in Northumberland, are also excited to be entering the content.

Head teacher, Samantha Mason, who has just 25 children at the village school, said: “We’re putting two teams in this year and we’ve done a lot of work on the importance of looking after the environment recently, so the children really like the theme.

“They decided they’d like to create something around our school values so as well as thinking about what our new world will look like, we’ve also been thinking about the qualities that would be important in it - like love, understanding, care, perseverance, resilience and tolerance.”

Galliford Try delighted

Hayley Bell, PA to Galliford Try Partnership’s Managing Director in the North East, Sean Egan, is helping the schools with the Challenge.

She said: “This is the fifth year we’ve supported Children North East’s Sandcastle Challenge and we’re delighted to be both taking part and sponsoring the event again in this special 25th year. Initiatives like this provide us with a great opportunity to get closer to the communities in which we work - while also raising money for and supporting fantastic causes across the region.”

Who will lift the trophy?

A team of 15 judges, including TV weathermen Paul Mooney from BBC Look North and Ross Hutchinson from ITV Tyne Tees will have the tough task of deciding on the top five best designs – each of which will be awarded £200 by the sponsor for their school.

The businesses will then go head to head for the much-coveted Sandcastle Challenge trophy presented to the company that has worked the hardest on behalf of their partner school at the charity’s Sandcastle Ball in September.

Carol Taylor, senior fundraiser for Children North East, said: “We’re really grateful to our sponsors, Galliford Try Partnerships North, for their dedicated support of the Sandcastle Challenge and we’re delighted with the enthusiastic response we’ve had from both schools and businesses for our 25th anniversary.

"It’s always exciting seeing how the children interpret the theme and I’m sure Build a New World will result in some fantastic and inspirational designs.”

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