Careline Lifestyles sponsor South Tyneside Wonderland Parade

Careline Lifestyles sponsor South Tyneside Wonderland Parade

Preparations are well underway to bring the peculiar world of Wonderland to South Tyneside this summer season.

People visiting South Shields will be immersed in fantasy and imagery as Alice in Wonderland forms the central theme of this year’s annual South Tyneside Festival Summer Parade.

The theme was chosen to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s tale ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, which is known for the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, March Hare, Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts among its collection of out of the ordinary personalities.

The much loved characters will take centre stage on a series of floats in the spectacular Summer Parade, which will return on Saturday 4 July and will make its way from South Shields Town Hall to the seafront.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “Alice in Wonderland is such an iconic tale in children’s literature. It remains a firm favourite among generations of families around the world.

“It is fitting that in this milestone year for Lewis Carroll we bring the curious world of Wonderland and Alice’s adventures to South Tyneside.

“The Borough is one of few places around the UK to still hold a summer parade of this kind and this year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever with an energetic Alice-themed celebration.

“We would urge people to make sure the fourth of July is in their diary. As the White Rabbit would say, it’s a very important date so don’t be late! Join us and line the route for what is set to be a real spectacle of colour and sound through the streets of South Shields.”

Lewis Carroll’s connections with South Tyneside have been well documented over the years. It is generally accepted that Carroll was inspired to write his poem The Walrus and the Carpenter, which featured in the novel Through the Looking Glass, during a stay with relatives in the picturesque coastal village of Whitburn in the 1860s. The famous English author’s links with the village are also commemorated by a statue of Carroll in Whitburn Library.

South Tyneside Council has enlisted the creative talents of acclaimed couture designer Paul Shriek and his design partner Matt Fox to capture Carroll’s weird world of Wonderland in the Summer Parade.

They will be working with more than 1,000 children and adults from local schools and community groups over the coming months to develop creative ideas and to produce fabulous costumes and colourful decorations for dressing the floats for the procession.

Paul Shriek said: “This is a great opportunity for Mr Fox and myself to be part of bringing our vision of the much loved story of Alice in Wonderland to the streets of South Shields. To be involved closely with the community and its artistic talents will be a fantastic way to create a Summer Parade full of colour and visual excitement for all ages to enjoy.”

This year’s parade is being sponsored by Careline Lifestyles, a leading independent provider of high quality specialist nursing and residential care for people with neurological conditions, complex learning and physical disabilities across the North East of England.

Rahul Sharma, Chief Executive of Careline Lifestyles, said: “Careline Lifestyles is delighted to be sponsoring the parade. We know the history of the South Tyneside parade and what an amazing event it always has been.

“We are so pleased that the Council Leadership is continuing to place such a focus on this type of activity for the local community, a calendar of activities and the highlight being the parade.

“Careline Lifestyles is committed to providing quality services to the people of South Tyneside and we are pleased to be able to demonstrate this through sponsoring the parade as well as the care provision of our business.”

The parade is also being delivered in partnership with The Cultural Spring and The Customs House, which this year presents Alice in Wonderland for its Christmas pantomime.

Customs House Executive Director, Ray Spencer MBE, said: “I took part in my first parade in 1968 and I will never forget the crowds lining the route in this massive display of civic pride. This year the parade also launches our annual pantomime and having worked with Mr Shriek and Mr Fox I know it will be spectacular.”

The annual South Tyneside Festival, organised by South Tyneside Council, will return in June with its exciting FREE three month line up of live music in the Amphitheatre, open air Sunday concerts and family friendly events, entertainment and activities.

This includes a packed programme of brass band music by the seaside, a classical concert with Proms in the Park, family fun days and children’s entertainment with the return of the Kids Fun Fest.

Councillor Kerr added: “We are really looking forward to a fantastic summer in South Tyneside this year as we bring back key highlights of the festival.

“The parade itself is much loved by residents and visitors alike and as a traditional part of festival, brings vibrancy to our rich and proud heritage. It promises to be a visionary delight for all.

“We are delighted to welcome Careline Lifestyles on board to help us deliver this year’s Summer Parade and we are very excited to be working with designers Paul Shriek and Matt Fox who are sure to inject their unique style of artistic flair into bringing Alice and Wonderland to life.”  

Full details of the entertainment programme including the Sunday concert acts will be announced in due course.

Tickets for the Alice in Wonderland pantomime at The Customs House are currently on sale. Call the Box Office on (0191) 454 1234 or visit www.customshouse.co.uk for further information.

Caption: Councillor Alan Kerr and Rahul Sharma, Chief Executive of Careline Lifestyles, joins designers Matt Fox and Paul Shriek to launch the Alice in Wonderland theme of this year’s South Tyneside Festival Summer Parade.