How did we come to set up FTLOTN?

September 12, 2021 3 min read

Our story begins a few years ago when both Lucy and Paul worked full time in their respective previous careers. Lucy as a Deputy Headteacher at a local First School and Paul running the Tourist Information Centres within North Tyneside. Both had a huge love of the North East, it's people and it's places. 

For Paul he was always in his element welcoming the hundreds of visitors each year who would travel to the region from all over the UK and far further afield on the daily ferry crossing from Holland and the many cruise ships that would berth on the River Tyne. It was an absolute labour of love, passionately promoting the area and setting all those visitors up with all the information they needed and more for a memorable stay. 

The information centres would stock the work of artists and craftspeople from around the North East that visitors would love to take away with them as a memento of their holiday. What was becoming very apparent was an emerging talent of creatives from the region who all possessed such different styles and interpretations of locations and landmarks of the North East. 
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When it came to their holidays however, Lucy and Paul worked in fields where their time off couldn't be more different. Being in teaching Lucy would be off in the school holidays but for Paul his busy times we're right during these weeks. As the years passed it became very apparent that they both just wanted their time off to be in synchronicity.
By 2016 it became very apparent that Tourist Information Centres were very much the subject of cuts by local authorities up and down the country and later that year it came as very little surprise to Paul that the axe would fall on North Tyneside's Centres in the Spring of 2017. 
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From the outset of their relationship it was obvious that Lucy and Paul made quite a team and over the winter an idea between them was born. An idea born out of adversity, an idea very much born out of love.  In early 2017 (6th January to be exact) Paul received a letter that made him literally jump for joy on the doorstep and for them both the exciting prospect that an idea could become reality.
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The letter contained confirmation of Paul's redundancy from the local authority. He could have stayed and rejoined his former life working in libraries but no, this wasn't the time to go back it was very much the moment to move on.
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From Paul's time working in Tourist Information they knew there was a raft of creative talent in the region and that from within the North East and all the northern homebird's scattered far and wide across the globe a huge sense of pride in the area. We wanted to help the artists whose normal outlets of the likes of information centres were being cut one by one. Lucy spent those first weeks of 2017 building a website on which we could showcase the work of these wonderfully talented artists. We were doing this because we loved the North East and felt so passionate about it. This was also an opportunity that would allow us to spend more time together. 
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Love was very much a feature and so "For The Love Of The North" was born and the website launched very aptly on Valentine's Day 2017. 
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Selling, prints, cards, gifts and souvenirs we began to spread the North East love from the outset and were bowled over at how the website took off. Whilst still working full time in our respective roles we would spend our evenings wrapping and packing orders to post out, learning all sorts of new skills along the way such as finding the right sort of packaging for each item and Paul learning that his wrapping skills really needed improving.
People really seemed to connect with what they were doing in showcasing the work of North East Creatives and it really gave us so much encouragement in those fledgling weeks when really neither of us knew what we were doing. 
Just a few weeks later, on 31st March 2017 Paul bid farewell to his old life of working for the council and for them both, the adventure really begun............................

Lucy Hull
Lucy Hull


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