Image demonstrating Hexham students recreate the past and look to the future

Hexham students recreate the past and look to the future

Students from Hexham’s First schools and the High school have taken part in an Arts competition created and sponsored by the Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme.
The challenge for the First schools was to create representations of Hexham high street in both 1922 and 2122 and all year groups in each of the three schools rose to the challenge. 

The resulting entries included 5m long murals, Lego buildings and stop-motion video. The 1922 representations were all very well researched and the children were all keen to highlight the lack of cars and the wide variety of shops available. The 2122 representations reflected vivid imaginations with aliens and flying cars but also a strong focus on environmental improvements. 

Northumberland County Councillors Trevor Cessford and Suzanne Fairless-Aitken visited the schools with Peter Mawer, the Hexham HSHAZ Senior Programme Officer, to judge the entries and after much deliberation the chosen winners were: Reception – Hexham St Mary’s First School, Year One – The Sele First School, Year Two – Hexham St Mary’s First School, Year Three – Hexham First School, Year Four – Hexham First School and The Sele First School. 

Each winning year group was awarded £100 in Cogito Book Tokens. 

The high school students were challenged to write a 500-word fictional story, in the first person, based in Hexham during WWII. There was a great response with a variety of themes but what came across strongly across in all of the entries was an acknowledgement that Hexham was, and is, blessed with outstanding heritage, particularly the Abbey, beautiful surrounding countryside and access to far more shops and services than may be assumed by people who do not know the town. The stories often centred on evacuees from London and a sense of pride in Hexham was palpable as the writer introduced an evacuee to the town. 

Judging the entries was difficult and, again, Councillors Cessford and Fairless-Aitken supported Peter Mawer in selecting three winners and three runners-up. The winners, who each received £100 in Cogito Book tokens, were Miles Hickey, Sophie Honeysett and Matthew Harrison. The three runners-up, who each received £50 in Cogito Book tokens were Ebony Lough, Esme Pugh and Hattie Gifford.  
Unfortunately, the Middle Schools and Hexham Priory School were unable to participate in this year’s competition due to Covid-19 depleting staffing levels.  

The Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone is part of a nationwide initiative to secure lasting improvements to historic high streets. 
The aim is to revitalise Hexham’s historic town centre making it a more attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work, invest and visit.   
The Hexham HSHAZ scheme has been developed by Northumberland County Council and key partners and is backed by a wide range of community and business stakeholders. 

There are a number of workstreams (focusing on community engagement, public realm improvements, a national cultural programme) and a Hexham cultural programme of events. 
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