This year’s Amble Puffin Festival has been a flying success, with organisers declaring it the best ever.
The quirky event closed on Sunday, having started on Bank Holiday Monday, May 25. It was preceded by a beer festival and kite flying, from May 23.
The festival celebrates everything puffin and it was staged at the best time of year to see the birds on Coquet Island as they care for their newly-hatched pufflings.
This year’s event, the third of its kind, featured walks and talks, arts and crafts, watersports, dog show and puffin cruises, among other things.
Some of the highlights included The Colony music festival on May 30 and a regatta of skiffs, including Amble’s own Coquet Spirit boat, on the festival’s final day.
Meanwhile, James Bond villain look-a-like Gary Tiplady, who resembles Jaws, popped in to talk about his sculptures, which were displayed at the Seafood Centre in Amble’s new Harbour Village. Copies of a children’s book, Bramble of Amble, which was written specially for the festival and was raising money to support the work of the RSPB on Coquet Island, sold out.
Chairman of the event committee, Craig Weir, said: “It was a fabulous event and we have had great feedback with no adverse comments. This year’s festival was the best ever. It has been very tiring, but well worth it for the organisers.
“The weather for the most part was very kind to us. It was a bit wet on Thursday, but it didn’t dampen our spirits.
“The beer festival, which was held at Coquet Yacht Club from May 23 to May 25 was very good and the regatta of skiffs was excellent.
“There were nine skiffs from the North-East and Scotland in the regatta and there was a full armada up the Coquet.
“A lot of people attended The Colony music festival. It featured an array of local bands and it was packed.”
Mr Weir, who is Mayor of Amble, said this year’s puffin festival had a positive impact on the town.
“The majority of businesses did extremely well and it was a great showcase for the Harbour Village, which played a part in the event.
“It brought more visitors into the town, increasing the tourism potential, and the majority of people we spoke to said they would return to Amble, saying that they didn’t realise that so much was going on and that the town had a great buzz.”
Mr Weir said he hopes the puffin festival will fly back into the Amble in 2016.
“I am extremely confident that it will go ahead next year,” he said. “We have already got bookings and people expressing an interest in returning.”
Mr Weir’s thank-you. See letters, P20-21