Football hero joins crowds at £16m centre

Bosses at a £16m visitor attraction are ecstatic after an estimated 5,000 people visited on its opening weekend.

Jack Charlton

Bosses at a £16m visitor attraction are ecstatic after an estimated 5,000 people visited on its opening weekend.

Local football hero Jack Charlton welcomed families from all over the region to Saturday's opening day at Woodhorn museum in Ashington after its lottery-funded revamp.

The former pit museum was closed more than two years to be transformed into a national tourist venue predicted to attract 100,000 visitors a year.

Project director Neil Anderson said: "We could not be happier with the way things have gone because we have had great weather, everything appears to have run like clockwork and people have told us how much they have enjoyed their visit. ...

"We are quite elated because anything you do is only validated by the positive comments of visitors and customers."

The centre includes unique colliery buildings, a Coal Town exhibition taking people on a journey through 70 years of history and display space for lodge banners and work by Ashington's Pitmen Painters.

There is also a £5m centre storing the county's archives, where people will soon be able to research their family history.

It is open Wednesday to Sunday and on bank holidays all year. 

Entry is free but there is a £2 charge for car parking.

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