Quirky art proposed to help festival soar

Amble Puffin Festival logo.
Amble Puffin Festival logo.

A bus shelter could become home to a giant bird - as part of a seaside town’s plans to publicise a quirky new event.

The countdown has well and truly started for Amble’s first Puffin Festival, which will be staged from May 18 to June 1.

And to help make it a flying success, it has been suggested that a mural of a puffin be put inside the shelter on Church Street.

It is hoped that the catchy piece of artwork would help advertise the event – said to be the first of its kind in Europe.

Speaking at Amble Town Council on Thursday, Coun Kate Morrison, who is secretary of Amble Action Group (AAG), said: “To advertise the Puffin Festival we would like permission to put a mural of a puffin inside the shelter.

“It would be a permanent fixture then.”

Discussions have taken place with the art department at James Calvert Spence College, with a view to encouraging students to come up with a suitable design.

Chairman of AAG, Coun Craig Weir, said that the image picked would be ‘aesthetically pleasing for the town, which would be good for the festival and good for the community’.

Coun Robert Arckless said he was sure there would be some ‘enthusiastic supporters’ but added that the working drawings would need to be looked at.

“You’re doing the right things,” he said.

“It would brighten the place up and I think it would also encourage the youngsters to take pride in the shelter. It is worth doing.”

Mayor of Amble, Coun Ian Hinson, said he would like to see what was being proposed before ‘they put paint to the wall’.

The festival is being organised by the AAG, in partnership with the town’s council, business club and development trust. It is designed to celebrate the colony of puffins on nearby Coquet Island and will coincide with the best time to see the cute black and white creatures as they care for their newly-hatched pufflings. It is hoped that the festival will help boost tourism in the town and build on the success of last year’s celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Events being lined up include nature walks, live music, a regatta and displays, as well as boat trips around the island.

Describing the festival as a ‘community event’, Coun Weir added: “I feel very confident that this event is going to be a success and I hope the festival will continue in future years.”

On Thursday, the town council pledged to donate £2,000 to go towards children’s workshops and publicity.

Coun Helen Lewis, AAG treasurer, said: “It is important that the town council supports this event. We need to show people this is the place to come to. The knock-on impact will hopefully be that people will come back again and enjoy the town, which will create more business and more employment.”

Facebook and Twitter (@Amblepuffinfest) pages have been created and the festival is attracting worldwide interest. There is a link on the Facebook page (Amble puffin festival)to a donation site for eco events.

l More Amble Town Council on P12.