Volunteers knit a 12ft train to mark 40 years of the Tyne and Wear Metro

Some of the volunteers behind the colourful artwork Credit: Nexus

A community group has taken on a unique lockdown challenge, knitting a 12 ft Tyne and Wear Metro Train.

The carriage was lovingly crafted by a group of 30 volunteers, who picked up their needles to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Tyne and Wear Metro.

The knitters, from North Tyneside, took up their needles to create individual sections, before they were carefully sewn together by local artist Kelly Sheridan:

“One of the great things about this project is the community effort that went into it. Each panel is slightly different, showing the individuality of each knitter. Some contributors knitted, crocheted or French knitted meters and meters of black piping which became the rubber seals around the doors and windows."

It’s been a great effort, bringing local people together in a creative way during lockdown.

Sarah Sheridan, Local artist

Whitley Bay Big Local’s Community Development worker, Sarah Sutton, set up the 'Knit and Natter' group in Whitley Bay five years ago.

They joined forces with the Stakeholder Relations Team at Nexus, to create the colourful woollen wonder, which is going on public display at the art gallery in Tynemouth Metro station.

I knew that our knitters would love this challenge. They love to use their skills to support local efforts.

Sarah Sutton, Knit and Natter Whitley Bay

Nexus said that the finished work was a wonderful tribute to Metro’s 40 years.

It was one of only a few anniversary events to come to fruition due to lockdown.

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People collected packs to knit the panels that were joined to create the knitted Metro

Credit: Nexus

Customer Services Director, Huw Lewis, said: “This is a fantastic community project that celebrates Metro’s 40th year in a really fun and creative way. Metro is part of  everyday life in the communities that it serves, so it’s great to see a local group coming together to showcase their talents, despite all of the challenges posed by lockdown. It stemmed from an idea from one of our Stakeholder Relations Officer’s who heard about Knit and Natter and thought it would be great if the group could work together to knit a train.

Our iconic Metro train has been so carefully recreated in wool by a group of knitters who have had to rely on meeting up over Zoom calls during the pandemic. My congratulations go to everyone involved in producing such a wonderful tribute to Metro’s proud heritage.

Huw Lewis, Nexus Customer Services Director

The Knit and Natter group, who have been meeting up on Zoom during lockdown, were determined to make the project a success after they were approached by Nexus.

The volunteer group enlisted the help of Barbara Lowe, a local knitting expert and owner of Ring-a-Rosie wool and crafts shop in Whitley Bay to create the pattern, order in the wool, and co-ordinate the allocation of packs to local knitters.