A Northumberland heritage project is celebrating reaching another milestone.
Volunteers, supporters and staff at the £3m Newbiggin Maritime Centre toasted the official opening of a unique access bridge onto the rooftop viewing platform which was unveiled by entrepreneur Sir John Hall.
The project, which also celebrates its 10-year anniversary, received a £60,000 funding boost last year from SITA Trust to finance the latest development. Now visitors of all abilities can enjoy panoramic views of the bay and every aspect of its restored lifeboat the Mary Joicey in the Newbiggin-by-the-Sea centre.
Sheila Harrison, trustee of Newbiggin Heritage Partnership who is leading the project, said: “This is another great day for the Newbiggin Maritime Centre project and the wider work to increase repeat visitor numbers to Newbiggin by the Sea.
“We are extremely grateful to all of our funding partners, donors and supporters without which we could not go forward.
“Equally our volunteer and staff team here consistently go the extra mile to make the venture go well. Finally can I also thank our contractor for the work Northern Construction Solutions Ltd of Birtley who along with our partners at Northumberland County Council have pulled out all the stops to deliver this project.”
Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Heritage Partnership is a group of dedicated volunteers who founded a small Heritage Centre on the promenade more than 10 years ago, to celebrate Newbiggin’s long history.
Having located Newbiggin’s last all-weather lifeboat The Mary Joicey derelict in a park in Berkshire, the volunteers began raising funds to have it returned to the village. The partnership then spent six years securing funding to replace the small hut with a purpose built Maritime Centre to house the fully restored Mary Joicey.
Since opening Newbiggin Maritime Centre has had more than 50,000 visitors and has also created four full-time and nine part-time jobs.
As a bonus the building itself, has been given an award by the RICS for a significant community building and featured as one of their top 10 new waterside developments in the world alongside commercial buildings in Abu Ahabi, South Africa and Hong Kong.
The latest opening signifies the completion of another element to the Newbiggin Maritime Centre with the new bridge and access ramps funded by the SITA Trust as well as the local Build a Bridge Fund.
Funders, supporters, volunteers and staff gathered to witness the opening event and celebrate another milestone in the project evolution but also celebrate the 10 years since the start of the larger heritage project for Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.
This vision was to create an attraction to encourage visitors to the seaside at Newbiggin as part of the wider regeneration initiative by the volunteer team.