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Making the game more beautiful for young fans; Students brighten up family zone at St James' Park.

Byline: RUTH LAWSON

TYNESIDE students used their creative flair to liven up the family concourse at St James' Park.

A group of Newcastle College students were hand-picked by Newcastle United to develop illustrations and an animation to give the new family area in the Milburn stand a family feel.

The club contacted the college's School of Creative Industries following the success of an installation designed by students to breathe new life into the concourse last year. The designers created a series of 6ft characters celebrating goals all joined by a huge black and white scarf.

After much praise from fans and in a bid to drive down ticket prices and encourage more families to watch matches at St James' Park, the club decided to dedicate a second concourse for family tickets only. John Hunter, membership coordinator at St James' Park, approached students on the second year National Diploma in Interactive Media and asked them to create a set of new characters and a 2D animation, which could be displayed within the concourse and on the club website. Course leader Deni Chambers, who coordinated the project for the second year running, said: "We are thrilled to have been asked to work with Newcastle United following the success of last year's project.

"The artwork produced this year compliments the work we undertook last year and opens up another room for families to enjoy before and during home matches."

Students worked individually to come up with concepts and had to present their ideas to the club, who then chose nine students to work together and professionally create the final illustrations and animation.

The team of designers were Adam Bailey, 22, of Heaton; Danny Flemming, 18, of South Shields; Chantal Gray, 20, of Gateshead; Ingrid Hellewell, 22, of Morpeth; Shaun McNair, 20, of Heaton; Cherelle Pickard, 20, of Wallsend; Simon Robertson, 21, of Heaton; Faye Walker, 19, of Berwick-upon-Tweed and Tom Wier, 19, of Scotswood.

The group created seven new characters and seven hanging speech bubbles. These were installed in the north west area of the Milburn stand last week. They also produced a short 2D animation that will be played in the main room during home matches and will also be available to download through the club website. It features real crowd sounds, recorded by the students when they were invited to attend a match.

Student Chantel said: "I've loved it. I designed characters last year but they didn't get chosen so I was delighted that my characters this year were picked. We did a lot of research on Newcastle United, the history of the club and everything involved and with it being a family area I was concentrating mainly on child-friendly characters .

It was incorporated with one of our college projects as well. We were graded on our designs and happily my grades were good."

Fellow designer Simon added: "It's been a really positive experience. All the designs started off as hand-drawn designs which were then digitalised by us. It makes me very, very proud to have our work on display at St James' Park. I've been telling all my friends back at home and they're all incredibly proud for me as well, which makes me feel even better.

It's all quite overwhelming."

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(Front) Shaun McNair and Tom Wier at St James' Park
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 11, 2011
Words:553
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