A STUNNING new lighting scheme, which will set Alnwick Garden ablaze with colour for night-time visitors, is to be officially launched next month.
A "silent donation" of more than £100,000, from a US-based trustee of the Duchess of Northumberland’s creation, has been used to pay for the first phase of the illumination project, called Sparkle.
The switch-on of the new permanent lighting scheme, which will operate throughout the winter months, will see another of the duchess’s original visions for her garden attraction being realised.
The 60-colour programme will see white and blue lights shining out along the garden’s hornbeam tunnel walkways. It is expected to provide a stunning backdrop for events.
Now The Journal is joining forces with the Alnwick Garden to celebrate the launch of Sparkle by running a poetry competition.
Entrants in four categories – five years and under, six to 12 years, teenagers and adults – are asked to write a poem inspired by the Alnwick Garden, which will be judged by the duchess herself and Journal editor Brian Aitken.
The winner of each category will receive an annual pass to the garden and a luxury Fenwick hamper. An overall winner will be chosen from the four to officially switch on the Sparkle lights at the garden on November 24.
The US trustee, who does not want his identity revealed, donated more than £100,000 and asked that it be used to fund something that would significantly change and improve the garden.
It has paid for the first phase of the lighting scheme, which is being handled by UK specialists Marl Lighting.
The duchess will unveil the illumination at the special preview event at 5pm on November 24, which is open to the public. It will also include entertainment, hot food and drink offers and the chance for children to meet Father Christmas.
Yesterday, the duchess said: "The Alnwick Garden was designed 17 years ago with lighting in mind. When I saw the original drawings, I immediately recognised the huge opportunity for a dynamic lighting programme.
"I believe that when the lighting programme has been completed, visitors will come to Alnwick to see them during the winter months, which will benefit not just the Alnwick garden but also the whole town and other service providers.
"This first phase is stunning and I have worked closely with Marl Lighting to ensure it matches my expectations."
HOW TO ENTER
TO enter the Sparkle poetry competition send your poem by email to email@example.com or by post to Jenny Hayes, The Alnwick Garden, Denwick Lane, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1YU.
The deadline is November 19 and all submissions should include entrants’ full name, age, address, contact number and email address, if applicable.
Winners will be contacted in the week starting November 19. By submitting your poem you are giving The Journal and The Alnwick Garden permission to publish it in print or for use on their websites.