THE stories of Northumberland wartime evacuees have been put to video.

More than 12 months ago, Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (TVCRP) started to work on a project to commemorate the evacuation of children from Tyneside to the Haltwhistle area by train in 1940.

With the help of project partners, Wallsend Local History Society, the partnership traced numerous former evacuees who were able to relate their memories of the evacuation and their lives with new families.

The history society helped discover who had the best billet, who loved it, what was it like to meet a cow for the first time, and what was it like to leave your family behind for the first time.

The evacuees, now over 80 years old shared their memories.

The events involving former evacuees and local school children planned for summer 2020 had to be put on hold, which was extremely disappointing for all involved.

Other ways to build on the work already done were considered, including a documentary film involving some of the former evacuees and young people working with Haltwhistle Film Project.

The Wartime Escape film project emerged.

Fiona Forsythe TVCRP officer said: “This project will bring communities together, young people from Haltwhistle will develop skills whilst learning about the former evacuees still living in the Tyneside area.”

As many of the usual funding sources were prioritising Covid related projects, TVCRP looked elsewhere and found there was a North of Tyne Combined Authority-supported crowdfunding opportunity.

Crowdfunding has been a new concept for TVCRP, which was pleased to have been able to take advantage of the combined authority initiative.

However, this funding mechanism was not without risk; as an all-or-nothing scheme, if the target was not reached then no funding would be in place.

TVCRP needs to engage with the community before January 29 to gain as much support as possible to reach its goal.

Anne Ridley, TVCRP director, said: “With a minimum pledge of £2, it is hoped that lots of

people will support us so we can achieve our target of nearly £7,000.

“As far as we are aware, Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership is the first community rail partnership to use crowdfunding and we are delighted to be able to acknowledge a pledge of over £4,700 from North of Tyne Combined Authority.”

If you would like to learn more about Wartime Escape by Train or support the project by making a pledge, visit