Over 1,500 children from primary and special schools all over the north east ventured to South Shields beach on Friday 6th July to take part in the annual Sandcastle Challenge.

The children, separated into 111 school teams,  had been working on their design for the ‘Star Struck – Explore the Cosmos’ theme for several weeks which became reality on Sandhaven Beach on Friday.

The children researched their chosen subjects with the help of a business partner for the event.  Companies from as diverse areas as construction, law, and banking companies, as well as the main sponsor Galliford Try, had been visiting schools to advise on their projects before giving a helping hand in the construction on the beach.

At this year’s Sandcastle Challenge, Elizabeth Faulkner from Leadgate, County Durham, was reunited with People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Judie McCourt who in March this year surprised her with a £30,000 cheque on her doorstep.  Elizabeth (55) landed the prize with her postcode, DH8 7QX, and was looking forward to spending some of her winnings on a nice holiday.

Elizabeth and Judie were guest judges at the Sandcastle Challenge, which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Elizabeth was thrilled to be a part of the event. She said: “Children North East has made me feel incredibly proud to be a player of People’s Postcode Lottery, because I know that I’m supporting a fantastic good cause based locally and that’s important to me. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this brilliant event. The atmosphere on the beach today has been amazing and being a judge has actually been really difficult because all the children have put so much effort into their creations. It’s a day I won’t forget.”

Jeremy Cripps, our Chief Executive, said: “We were really happy to welcome both Judie and Elizabeth along to the Sandcastle Challenge today.  Being able to show players of People’s Postcode Lottery how playing helps charities really is priceless.

The Sandcastle Challenge is always a fantastic event.  The children have such brilliant ideas and are so enthusiastic creating their designs on the beach.  The Sandcastle Challenge also creates hidden opportunities – meeting business people is great for extending school relationships and continues to help us raise awareness of the life-changing work Children North East does with children and young people.”

Prizes were awarded to 5 different winning teams who each took away £200, given by Sandcastle Challenge sponsor Galliford Try, for their school:

To see more of the winning designs and other photos from the day, head over to our Facebook page 

The overall business winner, who will win the much-coveted bronze Sandcastle Trophy, will be announced at the Sandcastle Ball on Friday 28th September.