The Revd Susie Thorp and the Revd David Tolhurst -with students from the Venerable Bede Academy outside St Matthew's Church
 The Revd Susie Thorp and the Revd David Tolhurst -with students from the Venerable Bede Academy outside St Matthew's Church

The Revd Susie Thorp and the Revd David Tolhurst -with students from the Venerable Bede Academy outside St Matthew’s Church

Community groups in part of Sunderland are being encouraged to turn to a spot of retail therapy to commemorate their area’s mining heritage on Good Friday.

Groups in the Silksworth and Doxford area are decorating fourteen shopping trolleys as coal trucks to take part in the passion play The Great Community Passion, organised by the Church of England parishes of Silksworth and Doxford in the Diocese of Durham.

The trolleys will be placed  around St Matthew’s Field, opposite St Matthew’s Church, in Silksworth for the event. Each trolley will be one of the stations of the Cross during the passion play.

The Revd David Tolhurst vicar of St Matthew’s said: “The local colliery closed more than 40 years ago but people who live here still consider themselves part of  a colliery community so we thought it would be a good idea to decorate the trolleys as coal trucks. We want to spark interest and the wackier the design the better.”

The idea came from the BBC great North Passion which was set in the Northeast on Good Friday 2014. In that case, shipping containers were used to create installation artworks, in the Great CommunitShopping trolleys spark creativity for Passion Playy Passion – shopping trolleys are fashioned as coal-trucks and act as platforms for art installations.

Groups that have agreed to decorate the trolleys, which have been donated by supermarket chain Morrisons, include a toddler group, schools and a local drop-in-centre.

Co-organiser the Revd Susie Thorp, Priest in Charge, Doxford St Wilfrid said: “We wanted to pick up on the area’s mining heritage and the idea of coal trucks is ideal.

“We are asking people to be creative and are looking forward to seeing the amazing creativity that comes back on the day.

“On the day, the 14 coal-truck shopping trolleys will come together to form the outline of the cross as the passion unfolds.

The design for the coal-trucks and the making of panels that are added to the side of the trolleys – to make them look like the coal-trucks was all done by Students and Staff at the Venerable Bede Church of England Academy in Tunstall Bank – for which we are very grateful. ”

The initiative was launched at the church, when community groups attended to pick up their trolleys.

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