Mr B and I spend an amazing Saturday down in Weymouth, at the Grand Opening of Sandworld 2014. I’d been invited to take part as one of the local authors, even though I’m no longer local. I guess the fact that Stonewylde was mostly written in Weymouth and features Dorset means I still qualify though!
The theme for this year’s exhibition is ‘Literally Sand’ – featuring books and authors. I’ve never visited Sandworld in its new, posh indoor location at Lodmoor Country Park, but I do remember the beach sculptures from many years back. The advantages of having the sculptures under cover are obvious, and the sculptors have really excelled themselves. I’ll post a few pics here, but it’s hard to convey the size and sheer beauty of the sculptures in photographs – you really do have to visit to appreciate them.
Mr B was volunteered as the auctioneer – and he performed very well indeed! There were several items auctioned in aid of a local charity, and Mr B did his best to raise the maximum amount. The winner of the copy of Magus of Stonewylde was Kate, pictured here in front of the sculpture of Moby Dick. This was Mr B’s favourite, but mine was the Lord of the Rings sculpture.
It was great to meet up with the other authors: Carol Hunt, Kate Kelly, Kathy Sharp and Laura James. We did readings throughout the day and signed our books. We were well looked after by the staff of Sandworld, and enjoyed a gourmet barbeque and homemade cakes.
I was delighted to meet the three daughters of the original Weymouth sand sculptor, Fred Darrington. Apparently he started working on Weymouth beach after the First World War, and never stopped. Today’s Sandworld is run by his grandson Mark, along with business partner David Hicks. I’m sure that Fred would be proud to see what they’ve achieved in terms of talent and scale. International sand sculptors have visited and contributed throughout the past month in readiness for the Grand Opening, and the results are astonishing. This is the largest Sand Sculpture exhibition in the UK, and Weymouth sand is uniquely perfect for the job.
The displays are changed every year, and Sandworld remains open from April until the end of October. It really is well worth a visit, and we certainly plan to return. I’m hoping Mark or Dave will organise a small sculpture of a Stonewylde moongazy hare for me! Do take a look at their website here, or find them on Facebook.