A fire-beathing dragon led the way at a creative parade in Northumberland.
The mythical creature was accompanied by a Bedlington Terrier, a Phoenix and a pit pony amongst others as a procession featuring hand-crafted lanterns made its way around Woodhorn Museum in Ashington last night.
Scores of families gathered at the museum to watch more than 300 paper and willow lanterns and six 7ft giant lanterns float by lighting up the dark winter sky.
The parade was the result of a community project which saw people across south east Northumberland put their creativity to the test under the guidance of local artists.
Rachel Adam, project director, said: “We started working with about 20 different community groups in October and it started with delivering training sessions led by three lantern making artists who trained the group leaders on how to make lanterns.
“Within all the groups they have then gone on to make between 300 to 400 lanterns. Alongside these individual lanterns artists worked with groups to make the six big sculpture lanterns that are representative of the people across south East Northumberland.”
The lanterns included a Terrier for Bedlington, a pit pony for Ashington, a phoenix for Cramlington, a lion for Blyth, a goat for Seaton Delaval and a fish for Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.
The project came about through bait, part of the national Creative People and Places programme focussed on south east Northumberland.
The lanterns have so far been featuring in the Christmas lights switch-ons in each town during November.
Rachel said: “The programme runs through to 2016 and this is the starting point, the first of a number of open air events over the next three years. There’s been a fantastic response to this project from lots of groups so much so that we ran out of materials and couldn’t take on any more groups so there’s clearly a real interest.
“We’ve now made friends with lots of groups and there’s going to be many more opportunities to work with artists across all kinds of art whether it be performance or digital or anything.”
More than 40 group leaders, representing 19 community organisations, from scouts to family therapy centres took part in the project.
They all turned out last night to show off the fruits of their labour to the crowds who were also entertained by around 200 choral singers from community choirs, led by the organisation 20,000 Voices, Drumdin, a samba percussion group, and a giant, fire-breathing dragon, which has been built on the chassis of a Mini Cooper car.