September 2022 Update:

We are pleased to announce that the film "It Started with a Train Ride" has been been premiered to many of the people who have been involved in the project.  Two special events have been held, one in Wallsend and the other in Haltwhistle, when we able to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed.

Using the research undertaken by Wallsend History Society, Haltwhistle Film Project and Film Able, a film production company run by young people with learning difficulties, filmed many hours of interviews with the former evacuees, which were edited and complemented by the animations created by Film Able, the film production company run for and by people with learning disabilities.. Youth groups from the Haltwhistle area - brownies, rainbows, scouts and the Young and Sweet Youth Group - were involved in recreating the arrival of evacuees at Haltwhistle.

The film is available on our YouTube channel or you can watch it here


Look out for our officer, Fiona, staring as Miss Carrick, the school teacher.

May 2021 Update:

Funding for the project has been achieved.  Thank you to everyone who supported our crowdfunding campaign.

Some filming has been undertaken and more interviews will be held in the next few weeks.  

We are grateful to CrossCountry trains for supporting us with a specially written song to be used in the video.  Local singer songwriter Gareth Davies Jones will be featuring some of the memories of the evacuees within the new song.  We will showcase the song here in due course

November 2020 Update:

More than twelve months ago Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership 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, we traced numerous former evacuees who were able to relate their memories of the evacuation and their lives with new families. The events involving former evacuees and local school children planned for summer 2020 had to be put on hold.


This was extremely disappointing for all involved.  So many interesting memories had been related by the former evacuees, stories which deserved to be heard by future generations.  Other ways to build on the work already done were considered, including a documentary film involving some of the former evacuees and young people from Haltwhistle Film Project.  And so, the Wartime Escape film project emerged.  Fiona Forsythe explained “this project will bring communities together, young people from Haltwhistle will develop skills whilst interviewing the former evacuees still living in the Tyneside area.”

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

Crowdfunding has been a new concept for the CRP, who were pleased to have been able to take advantage of the NCTA initiative. However, this funding mechanism is not without risk; as an all-or-nothing scheme, if the target is not reached then no funding will be in place. Until 29 January, the CRP will need to engage with as much support as possible to reach their 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 £7000”.