A North East writer and theatre maker has put her artistic streak into practice, by working with a team of staff and volunteers to design the annual Christmas Window display at St Oswald’s Dunston Furniture Shop.
Becci Sharrock, who was previously the Writer in Residence at Beamish Museum, was keen to put her creative skills to the test. As a volunteer with St Oswald’s Low Fell Charity Shop, the St Oswald's is a charity particularly close to her heart.
Becci, from Gateshead, commented:
I’ve been volunteering for St Oswald’s since July and it’s been a fantastic experience. When I heard about the Christmas window at Dunston, I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help, and any way of combining my writing and theatre background with what was already a brilliant regular event.
Inspired by her love of literature, Becci, whose latest play Letters to Myself toured the UK earlier this year, penned a short story to inspire the display titledChristmas Eve in the Wintery Woodland Wonderland. The yuletide tale tells the story of the woodland animals, who spring to the aid of Santa Claus after he crashes into the forest on his sleigh.
Becci used her arts and craft skills to bring her story to life by depicting a wintery scene which is intertwined with lines from her novel. With the help of volunteers and staff who donated props for the display and helped Becci to create it, the window boasts an abundance of Christmas trees, lights, decorations and presents to give the display a festive feel.
Becci helped bring the display to life by giving a live reading of her book to the audience, who braved the Baltic temperatures and wintery showers to witness the live unveiling.
Becci was joined at the event by the St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Primary School Choir, which has appeared at the window opening for the past 3 years. The choir performed a variety of Christmas classics including carols and pop songs.
Spectators were treated to some mince pies and chocolates which were kindly donated by Co-op Low Fell, Co-op Dunston and Heron Foods Low Fell.
The unveiling was the fourth consecutive year that the Dunston shop has created a festive themed window display, with last year’s Santa Grotto display proving to be particularly popular. The wintery showcase has become locally-renowned for bringing the festivities to life with Dunston residents flocking to the shop every December to see what the charity shop has in store.
Working on the Dunston shop Christmas window with the rest of the team has been an absolute joy. Between us, we came up with the idea of a Winter Wonderland as a theme and I wrote a new short story to accompany the scene, especially for the window. Everyone's chipped in to make it festive from shop managers looking out for props to everyone who helped put the display together in the days leading up to the unveiling. I'm already thinking about next year now!
A copy of Becci’s story has been given to every family using St Oswald’s Children and Young Adults Service, as well as to everyone who attended the unveiling.
Jo Roxburgh, Dunston Shop Manager, said:
Dunston’s Christmas window has become something of a tradition and always proves popular with customers and local residents. We have a generous window space and this provides us with the perfect excuse to go all out at Christmas time. It’s always a challenge to come up with a new and innovative idea every Christmas, but the Winter Wonderland themed window has to be one of our best yet! I’m so grateful to everyone who chipped in to help, particularly Becci whose creativity and enthusiasm has inspired the whole team. We were thrilled to receive another huge turnout at the unveiling and would like to thank everyone who came out to support us despite the cold weather! We’d like to thank all of our special guests, staff and volunteers and our brilliant and loyal customers.
St Oswald’s Dunston Furniture Shop is open weekdays from 9:00am-4:30pm. The shop is located at 13/16 Ellison Road, Dunston, NE11 9SS, opposite the Aldi supermarket. Customers can enjoy the window display until the shop closes for its Christmas break on Friday 22nd December.
All profits made in the shop contribute towards the excess of £7.5 million St Oswald’s needs to raise through voluntary giving each year to continue to provide its specialist services to families from across the North East.
For more information about St Oswald’s Hospice and our 28 charity shops located across the North East, please click here.