'Burning Bright' contributors proud of seeing their thoughts in print. With Revd David Tomlinson. (Picture: Keith Blundy)

A good idea, an entrepreneurial vicar, funding from within the community and a lot of inspirational testimonies from the youth of Shildon has resulted in a publication of ‘Burning Bright’ a book that celebrates in their words, their role models.

Young people of Shildon were invited to write, in not more than 100 words, about the person that lit up their lives. The brief emphasised that no celebrities were allowed, this was about celebrating the bright and shining examples that many people set in ways that are often taken for granted.

‘Burning Bright’ contributor Ellie Cunningham (Y7) at the Sunnydale Campus – with Revd David Tomlinson.
(Picture: Keith Blundy)

173 young people responded with tales of Aunts and Uncles, Mams, Dads, good friends and much more. The Rt Revd. Paul Butler Bishop of Durham wrote the foreword commenting ‘this is one of those books that you can just pick up, dip into briefly and find a smile coming to your face’.

Burning Bright at the launch event.
(Picture: Keith Blundy)

Revd. David Tomlinson, Shildon’s vicar, who came up with the idea and sort funding to pay for it commented: “As a Christian, I believe that we are all called to shine, and sometimes that shining gets lost amid the daily grind. The young people writing in this have bought a bright light to the fore, at a time when the world can feel quite dark.”

Launched in the Sunnydale Campus of Greenfield community college on Wednesday 18th October, the book is part of a larger ‘Burning Bright’ project running in Shildon this autumn.

14-year-old Oliver Brown writing in the book about his friend Harry Spark penned ‘I aspire to be like you’ perhaps a simple summing up of a book filled with people loved.

Funding came from a variety of community organisations including; ‘Living’, The Scotto Trust and the County Durham Community Foundation.

Future activities in the wider project include a lantern making workshops followed by a lantern and drum procession in November.