YOUNG local musicians will help to pull up the drawbridge at Hylton Castle with a day of  community celebration this Saturday, before it temporarily closes to allow restoration work to begin next month.

At 11am young performers and singers from Inspire Stage School, based at the local Castle View Academy, will take to the stage before an address by Pastor Keith Cook , while the choir from Castletown Primary School will complete the celebrations.

The morning’s musical entertainment heralds the beginning of an open day which is part of Sunderland’s Local History Month. This is a programme of events and activities celebrating the city’s rich cultural heritage centred around some of its most famous landmarks (www.sunderland.gov.uk/Local-History).

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Hylton Castle Project is a Heritage Lottery Fund and Sunderland City Council sponsored initiative which is transforming 14th Century Hylton Castle, one of Sunderland’s favourite landmarks, into a heritage-led, community learning centre and venue,  opening in summer 2018.

Throughout the day people will have the chance to see detailed plans and drawings of the proposed work, and to learn about the history of the castle from local volunteers.

Free Family Fun

They will also be given their opportunity to share ideas for future events, activities and sign up as project volunteers. Local community group the Hylton Castle Mission will be running free family activities in the castle grounds during the day.

Learning Manager for the Hylton Castle Project, Elanor Johnson, said: “The castle has a wealth of stories to tell about the local history of the area. From the Barons of the Hylton family who built this magnificent structure and called it home for hundreds of years, to the school children and soldiers who lived at the castle in the 19th and 20th centuries.

“Local young people are helping to lead our celebration of its restoration and return to the centre of community life, using the castle as a perfect backdrop for their musical talents on Saturday and volunteering for practical work to get the site ready for re-opening next summer.

“It would be fantastic to get a good turnout – the Hylton Castle Project is all about giving this amazing building a new lease of life by getting young people involved, so it’s wonderful to have so many young people playing a part before building work even begins.”

Celebrating Hylton Castle is a free event. People are invited to drop-in any time 10am-3pm. Parking at the castle is extremely limited but additional parking will be available at Hylton Castle Mission (on Canterbury Road, behind the Hylton Castle pub) and at the Bunny Hill Centre – visitors are urged not to park on Craigavon Road for safety reasons.

In the event of wet weather, this event will be moved to the Hylton Castle Mission – you can check www.hyltoncastle.org.uk and social media for details on the day.