ARCHIVE     Flight of the Kitehlf LOGO



  On Saturday 24 May  the Red Kite Mosaic was built on Palace Green, Durham Cathedral

Volunteers and Visitors all helped to build this 150-tile mosaic, measuring 22.5 metres

Mosaic_Palace Green 

Mosaic_Palace Green

Mosaic_Palace Green 


 Mosaic_Durham Cathedral

Images:  Tower  David Jones   Ground  June Atkinson

Mosaic on Palace Green JS 

Image courtesy of Joyce Simpson


FoTRK Durham  May 2014 


Durham Heritage Centre


Durham Heritage Centre

Durham Heritage Centre

 Images courtesy of Allan Withrington, Organiser of this exhibition

The Exhibition has started with a strong visitor response.   On Bank Holiday Monday 133 people visited and today, Tuesday 6 May, 79 visitors spent time looking at the photographs and chatting with the three volunteers, Joyce, June and Marian.  Comments in the Visitors' Book reflect their obvious pleasure.

Visitors' comments 

Marian with visitors

      Marian with visitors.  Children are always welcome at our exhibitions and fun activities are provided. 

 Here, Joyce, another volunteer, admires her favourite photograph - of Durham Riverside.

 joyce with her favourite photo

Joyce-visitors DWHC 

Images courtesy of June Atkinson

 Report on the Exhibition at The World Heritage Vistor Centre, Durham Cathedral  1 - 31 May 2014

We recorded  the wonderful total of 1572 visitors during the exhibiton .


That's over 50 per day 1-31 May inclusive.


There were 16 volunteers who spent a minimum of 340 hours involved with the exhibition.


Our visitors came from all over the world, Tokyo and Wellington in the East to California in the west with many parts in between.

The UK was also very well represented.

Not a bad month's work for a 300 strong Community Group from a small corner of North East England.

Again many many thanks from myself and from the Committee in making the exhibition such a success. 

Particular mention to the Team who turned out on the Bank Holiday Saturday to "fly the kite" on Palace Green. This in turn was also very successful. THANK YOU




 Report    Allan Withrington


Click  HERE   for the Flight of the Red Kite Photographic Exhibition 


 Read some of the comments written by those who have already seen this Photographic Exhibition:

" What a good idea. I love the kites. Beautiful photographs."
                                                                                 (D Porteous, Whickham)

" An imaginative, eye-catching  project. Great for use in schools with all age groups."                                                      (C Cogan, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

" The pictures are very impressive and I think the choice for the locations was  
   great."                                                                       (K Schulte, Sunniside)

" Enjoyed the display - very informative. The mosaic and photography were   
  stunning.  Well done."                                                (V & D Pape, Ponteland)

" What a great idea. Wonderful to see the mosaic in so many iconic locations.
   Loved the exhibition. Would have bought some postcards."                         
                                                                                     (Mackley, Ponteland)

" Enjoyed the photos and the very informative chat with the volunteer."
                                                                                          (L Todd, Swalwell)

" A very effective and artistic exhibition. Would encourage anyone to take a
  more active interest."                                              (J Richardson, Ponteland)

" Brilliant exhibition. The display was inspiring with the variety of our northern  
  Special tourist locations."                             (D Cogan, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)  

Exhibition venues update

   FLIGHT OF THE RED KITE   2013   Photographic Exhibition

Friends of Red Kites were invited to participate in the Medical Conference at Sage Gateshead

Gateshead Med Conference 

Here. the Deputy Mayor of Gateshead opens the conference

Gtshd Medical conference 

Some of the staff take the opportunity of a preview

Images courtesy of June Atkinson  

 The University of Durham Botanic Garden hosted the flight of the Kite Exhibition during November.

Durham Botanic Garden
Durham Botanic Garden
Durham Botanic Garden
 Images courtesy of Harold Dobson

ExPoster Hexham 

Hexham General Exhibition 

Hexham General Hospital 

Hexham General Hospital 

Images courtesy of June Atkinson

The NeST Gallery, Barnard Castle, hosted the main Exhibition for the month of October.

A promotional evening was held by the Gallery.  Sylvia Jones gave a short presentation.

The NeST Barnard Castle 

The NeST Barnard Castle 

Images courtesy of June Atkinson

Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, hosted the Set 2 Exhibition. 

It was very well received. The Hospital has commissioned a full set of the framed photographs for a permanent display in a new building.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital 

Queen Elizabeth Hospital 

Queen Elizabeth Hospital 

Images courtesy of David Jones

Wallsend MEM Community Centre hosted the exhibition for a short while.

 Gary Madden, the Events Manager at the Wallsend MEM Community Centre and receptionist, Sylvia, view the exhibition.

Wallsend MEM Centre 

  The first visitors to  view the exhibition at Wallsend MEM Community Centre.

Wallsend MEM Centre 

  The Customs House, South Shields, hosted the secondary exhibition during August.

Customs House Ken Sanderson

Enjoy a meal in the very attractive surroundings of the Green Room Bistro.

Customs House Ken Sanderson 

Custom House Ken Sanderson 

 Have an evening in the Customs house Green Room Bistro and enjoy changing exhibitions.
Customs House Ken Sanderson

 Images courtesy of Ken Sanderson

The Museum & Art Gallery in South Shields has hosted the main Photographic Exhibition. 

S Shields Expo

Image courtesy of Ken Sanderson

Here Mr & Mrs Almond visit the Gallery. They have lived in South Shields all of their lives and often visit the Museum Art Gallery. The locations in the photographs brought back memories of visits in the past. They have seen kites in the Derwent Valley and were  interested in the red kite conservation work carried out by Friends of Red Kites.

During July, our second set went on display at North Tyneside Hospital, Rake Lane, as part of Northumbria Health Trust's Art in Hospitals Scheme.   Here, Katie Dawson,Charity Support Officer,Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is beside the panel showing the kite mosaic at Sunderland Glass Centre.   Katie is responsible for such exhibitions.  We are delighted that the Trust wishes to display our Exhibition for the first six months of 2014.

Rake Lane Katie Dawson 

Image courtesy of June Atkinson

Rake Lane Exhibition 

Image courtesy of Katie Dawson

Rake Lane Exhibition

Image courtesy of June Atkinson

Morpeth Library hosted a minor exhibition which was well received. 

Morpeth Expo Ros Markham Librarian

Image courtesy of June Atkinson

Ros Markham, Team Librarian : Information and Lifelong Learning peruses the Exhibition

St. Mary's Church Ponteland   14 - 22 May

St. Mary Ponteland  JA

Our Exhibition caught the eye of our local police officers.

 Thornley Woodlands Centre   5th - 12th May    25th - 30th May

 Two visitors looking at the photographic exhibition of Flight of the Red Kite 

Thornley Woodlands Centre 

  Image courtesy of June Atkinson

 Gateshead Civic Centre    12th March - 11th April 2013

Gateshead Civic Centre 

 Exhibition  Civic Centre


Blackhall Mill   4th  -  30th April

Blackhall Mill Centre

 Here, Bella Brown and her daughter enjoy the exhibition display.

Blackhall Mill Exhibition 

Image courtesy of June Atkinson

Whickham Library, Main Street, Whickham     4th - 30th April

Exhibition Whickham Library 

Image courtesy of Steve Lockwood

Jackey Lockwood,  Friends of Red Kites Volunteer,  arranges the Exhibition for visitors to enjoy.

 Whickham Library is open Mon, Tues Thurs 9am - 7pm, Wed, Fri 9am - 5pm, and Sat 9am - 1pm.



  Background to our Flight of the Kite Project 


The Friends of Red Kites secured a grant in 2012 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to finance the innovative and exciting "Flight of the Red Kite" Project. This involved creating a suite of photographs featuring the assembly of a giant 22.5m wide red kite mosaic set into the landscape of various iconic locations throughout the north-east of England.  The photographs are now on display as a touring exhibition this year.

We appointed Keith Bowey, of  Glead Ecological and Environmental Services, as Project Co-ordinator and Kaleel Zibe, of Kaleel Zibe Photography, as the official photographer.

About the Project:
There were twelve giant red kite building exercises (the 'community heritage happenings') around the region at the end of last year and the beginning of this. In each instance the kite was built by FoRK volunteers and representatives from local groups and communities. The principal purpose of the Flight of the Red Kite Project is to help people learn more about their natural heritage, using the region's red kites as a focus for this.
The giant kite mosaic  is made up of 150 polystyrene tiles which give it a 22.5 metre wing span and a measurement from beak to tail of 10.5 metres.  Images taken at the "Community Heritage Happenings " have been put together to form a roving exhibition which is touring community venues around the north east this year.

Mosaic plan

            The 6th Community Happening Day                         

Tuesday 4th December: Durham and St. Mary's Island

Durham Cathedral
The red kite mosaic was assembled by five intrepid volunteers on an icy, but bright, morning on the banks of the River Wear next to Durham racecourse.  We are grateful to Durham County Council for allowing us access to assemble and photograph the mosaic.
Here, our professional photographer, Kaleel Zibe, uses his car to get a shot of the mosaic with Durham Cathedral and Castle in the background.
  FotK_Durham_HD  The  volunteers put the final touches to the competed mosaic.

Durham FotK_HD 


Images courtesy of Harold Dobson

The second location was at St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay, beginning at 12.30 p.m.

The team of volunteers arrived at low tide, to begin assembling  the kite mosaic on the beach.

Team begin assembling mosaic 

Here is a video clip of the group of volunteers, aided by visitors, assembling the mosaic of the Red Kite. 

Either double click to start the video clip or right click and choose Play/Pause and Zoom to full Screen. 

Here, the kite mosaic is finally in place, against the well-known landmark of St. Mary's Island.

Kite mosaic is in place

Kaleel Zibe, our professional photographer, is now ready to do his photoshoot of the kite mosaic.

Kaleel Zibe takes photos 

 Photos and video clip courtesy of June Atkinson

 The 5th Community Heritage Happening day

This Community Heritage Happening took place on Tuesday 23rd October and was very successful. There were grey skies, but  we managed to avoid the fog and drizzle which had been prevalent elsewhere in the region. 

Image courtesy of David Jones

The laying of the kite's head. The positioning is crucial because of the tight space in which we were working. 

Image courtesy of David Jones

Progressing nicely. The autumn colours in the museum grounds were fantastic, despite the lack of sun.

  Image courtesy of David Jones

The final pieces of the giant jigsaw puzzle are being put in place.

  Image courtesy of David Jones

Sylvia Jones (centre), the Friends of Red Kites Community Engagement Officer, chats to John and Joyce Collins from Barnard Castle about the project.. On the left hand side, Cecelia Withrington makes a final adjustment.

   Image courtesy of David Jones

The giant kite is complete and is ready for Kaleel to photograph.


The fourth phase of the Community Heritage Happenings

 The fourth phase of Community Heritage Happenings took place on Tuesday, 26th September, with visits to the Derwent Reservoir and Steel Rigg, Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland.

Derwent Reservoir 

Image courtesy of June Atkinson

Members of the team who laid out the kite mosaic at the Derwent reservoir.

Team at Derwent Reservoir 

Image courtesy of Keith Bowey

The kite mosaic laid out at Steel Rigg, beside the Roman Wall.

 Steel Rigg AW

Image courtesy of Allan Withrington


Image courtesy of Keith Bowey

The third phase of the Community Heritage Happenings

The third phase of Community Heritage Happenings took place on Thursday 21st September with visits to  Penshaw Monument and the Wearmouth Bridges, Sunderland.

Penshaw Monument 

 Keith at Penshaw

At the bottom of Penshaw Monument Hill: Keith Bowey, the Project Co-ordinator, walks up to position the kite's head, the starting point for assembling the rest of the mosaic..

 Kite_Penshaw Monument 

The kite's head is in position part way up the hill, which gives a good angle for photographing.


The long grass has to be trampled so that kite can be laid flat.


The grass is wet and the kite has to be pinned down with 6" nails to stop it sliding down the hill.


A Red Admiral butterfly takes a rest on the back of one of the tiles.


Nearly complete


The site is cleared and Kaleel, the Project photographer, takes the images to be used in the exhibition.  

 Wearmouth Bridges, Sunderland

The wind is getting stronger. The team find a sheltered area on St Peter's Campus to assemble the kite.


 With the kite nearly complete, Kaleel takes up an elevated position ready to photograph the giant mosaic red kite.


Looking directly down on the kite.


Images courtesy of David Jones

 The high rise building dominates the top left of the photograph.  Kaleel will improve on this image.


The second phase of the Community Heritage Happenings 

The second phase of Community Heritage Happenings took place on Thursday 13th September with visits to Marsden Beach/Rock and the Sunderland Glass Centre.  Both had challenges for the team as you will see below.

 Marsden Beach and Rock

                                                                                                                                 Photograph by David Jones

        The view on arrival. It was going to be a race against the tide to assemble the kite on that small

        bit of beach.

                                                                                                                               Photograph by David Jones

 The team quickly get to work

                                                                                                                                  Photograph by David Jones

 Nearly complete, just the right wing to do.

                                                                                                                              Photograph by David Jones

       Is the kite about to become a seabird !!!!!    Kaleel hasn't long to get the official photographs taken.

                                                                                                                                Photograph by David Jones

        The left wing is dismantled first in the race against the tide.

                                                                                                                                  Photograph by David Jones

 The giant red kite is rescued just in time and taken to temporary safety.

Sunderland Glass Centre 

Photograph by David Jones

  On the roof of the Glass Centre: Roy delivers the first load of the mosaic tiles.


                                                                                                                                   Photograph by David Jones

       The kite's head is in position. The team is waiting for confirmation from below before assembling

        the body, tail and wings.



                                                                                                                                      Photograph by David Jones

Sylvia Jones, centre, on the roof of the Glass Centre, giving information to visitors on the Flight of the Kite. There was quite a lot of local  interest in the project, but many foreign visitors were curious as well. There was a couple from Montreal in Canada who saw the kite being assembled from below and came to see what was going on. They were very excited. and said it added to the pleasure of their UK  tour. There were also three from Melbourne and one from Adelaide in Australia.They were a family group who had been born in the area and were revisiting their roots. They asked many questions and took pictures of Sylvia with the kite and then from below inside the Glass Centre. They wanted to show the pictures to their friends back home.

                                                                                                                                             Photograph by David Jones

Tommy and Austin are keeping watch on the kite whilst it is being photographed from below, inside the  Glass Centre . Note that some of the tiles have been weighted down as the wind started to pick up.


                                                                                                                                           Photograph by Austin Dunphy

  The giant mosaic red kite "flies" over the the Sunderland Glass Centre. This is the only occasion     

  that the kite can be photographed from above and below. 

  The first phase of the Community Heritage Happenings

The first Community Heritage Happening  took place on Thursday 6th September with visits to Gibside, the Angel of the North and the Nine Arches Viaduct in Gateshead's Derwent Country Park.

  Gibside Estate

                                                                                                                                           Photograph by David Jones
 Fifteen enthusiastic FoRK volunteers met early at Gibside Chapel to assemble this giant jigsaw.


                                                                                                                                       Photograph by David Jones

We helped Keith Bowey the project co-ordinator to unload the tiles from the kitemobile.The tiles were then assembled by the team surprisingly quickly.

                                                                                                                                         Photograph by David Jones

National Trust volunteers assisted us with the assembly.

Engaging with Community

Photograph by David Jones  

 Our engagement team talked to members of the public who were obviously fascinated by this event. 

                                                                                                                                           Photograph by David Jones

Two of the volunteers sporting their Heritage Lottery Fund T - shirts.

With the giant red kite complete, Kaleel Zibe, our professional photographer, took a series of photographs from a variety of vantage points.


The Angel of the North


                                                                                                                Photograph by David Jones

We quickly dismantled the kite and went to the Angel of the North.There were a few technical difficulties with a strong wind and limited space for assembly.These were resolved quickly and the volunteer team sprang into action once again.

                                                                                                                                           Photograph by David Jones

There was considerable interest from members of the public and some asked to have their photographs taken with the giant kite.They shared with us their favourite iconic places in the North East. We talked to visitors from Australia,Germany,Northern Ireland and many places across England.

                                                                                        Photograph by David Jones

A brief rest for lunch before we dismantled the kite and transferred to the Derwent Reservoir.

 Derwent Reservoir 

                                                                                                                                   Photograph by David Jones

At Derwent Reservoir the grass on the dam wall had been cut in readiness for the next giant kite assembly.  Unfortunately very strong and gusting winds made it unsafe to assemble the kite at this location.

Nine Arches Viaduct in the Derwent Country Park

                                                                                                                                Photograph by David Jones

We returned to the Derwent Valley to assemble the giant kite near the Nine Arches Viaduct. We had interest from equine as well as human residents.The final shoot proved to be a great technical challenge as uneven ground and strengthening winds tested our ingenuity to the limit.


                                                                                                                               Photograph by David Jones

The head and shoulders were put together first at this location.

                                                                                                                                   Photograph by David Jones

 The final touches are being made to the giant red kite before the final photographs of the day are taken by professional photographer Kaleel Zibe. The shoot was successfully completed and a tiring but satisfying day came to an end.The first three locations were complete.