Stories of Easington

Thursday 24 November, 4-8pm


A free after-dark event will take place in Easington on 24 November, celebrating stories, people and events which have been linked with the town’s past, present and future.


Stories of Easington is being organised by East Durham Creates, in partnership with local community groups, artists and performers to create an evening including live performances inspired by Billy Elliot, music by the Easington Colliery Band and a tribute to the lives lost in the town’s 1951 Easington Colliery disaster.


“As Ward Councillors we are very happy that East Durham Creates is working with Easington for this event. We have a very rich heritage including Dennis Donnini VC, Billy Elliot and the Easington Colliery Pit Disaster. The Easington Stories event will enable the community to remember, commemorate and celebrate our heritage,” said Cllr Angela Surtees, County Councillor for Easington and Dr David Boyes, County Councillor (Easington Division).


Starting at 4pm on the evening of 24 November, people will be able to experience a moving tribute to the 83 men who lost their lives in the town’s 1951 colliery disaster. The trees lining Easington’s Memorial Avenue planted in remembrance will be illuminated and stories will be told, remembering the miners and their families.


Easington Social Welfare Centre, known as the Welly, is based in the heart of the former mining community. For the Stories of Easington event the centre will host a performance by the Easington Colliery Band as well as family craft activities. The Welly will also be the central information point on the evening of the event.


Avon Street, famed for its appearance in Billy Elliot, will be brought to life with festoon lighting and live performances to songs from the Billy Elliot soundtrack by the Easington Ukulele Group and East Durham-based The Garage Urban Style dance group.


The once bustling Seaside Lane will be transformed by street art, inspired by the poem “To the Pitmen of Easington” by local writer Mary Nightingale Bell.


Brian Jolly from Easington Colliery Heritage Group “There are so many interesting stories in Easington which make us who we are today, we are very proud of this new and special event which will bring these to life and celebrate who we are as a community.”


Throughout the evening, people will be invited to visit Easington’s Dennis Donnini Memorial Garden, which commemorates the Royal Scots Fusilier who became the youngest person to be awarded the Victoria Cross. The garden will be lit with candlelight, decorated with artworks created by local Easington groups.


East Durham Creates has recently been awarded £1million in funding from Arts Council England to continue increasing opportunities for residents of East Durham to be creative and get involved in arts and culture, for a further three years.


Nikki Locke, Head of East Durham Creates, said: “We know the arts has lots of benefits and we hope this event brings the community together and creates a sense of local pride. As we have another three years left it’s really exciting to think how this may continue and inspire other communities to do their own thing! Creativity is a wonderful way of getting the community together, to tell their own stories and think about their future”


Full details of the Stories of Easington event are available at





Notes to editors


Media contact: Emma Pybus / / 07799 568 361


Pictured from left to right: Angela Surtees, County Councillor for Easington Division; David Boyes, County Councillor for Easington Division; Bill Smithson, Café Together; Nikki Locke, Head of East Durham Creates; Brian Jolly, Easington Colliery Heritage Group.





Stories of Easington

Thursday 24 November, 4-8pm

Various locations throughout Easington

A free after-dark event celebrating the people and stories of Easington. Highlights include the illumination of trees on Memorial Avenue to commemorate the town’s 1951 colliery disaster; music by the Easington Colliery Band; live dance performances on Avon Street to songs from the soundtrack of Billy Elliot; and street artists transforming shop fronts on Seaside Lane. Full details at Free, no booking required.

Created and produced by East Durham Creates in partnership with the lovely people of Easington, made possible with the kind permission of East Durham Trust.


East Durham Creates is an Arts Council England-supported project, working across the East Durham area and aiming to get more people involved in arts and creative activity. We are working with residents to deliver an ambitious arts programme – every element of which will be community-led in some way, and totally distinctive to the area – inspired by East Durham the place and by the people who live there.

East Durham Creates will offer new experiences to inspire and delight. It will build on and support the vibrant existing arts activity in the area, and develop skills through the arts, helping to bring about long-term, lasting change.

The East Durham Creates team are collaborating with groups and residents to explore what the arts and creativity can offer local communities, testing out lots of different approaches to see what works (and what doesn’t) – and doing all we can to help sustain activity beyond our Arts Council England grant.

East Durham Creates is one of 21 Creative People and Places projects nationally, funded by Arts Council England. It is managed by Beamish, Forma Arts, and East Durham Trust working in partnership and supported by Durham County Council via East Durham Area Action Partnership and Culture and Sport Services.

East Durham Creates is part of the Creative People and Places programme, initiated and funded by Arts Council England. Creative People and Places is about more people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in art experiences in the places where they live. There are 21 independent projects, each located in an area where people have traditionally had fewer opportunities to get involved with the arts. Creative People and Places projects have reached over 1.2 million people, 90% of whom do not regularly engage in the arts.


Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.




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