Kicking a Rugby ball over the six-storey Hilton Newcastle Gateshead with a single kick is a challenge that surely only Jonny Wilkinson - England Rugby hero and Captain of the Newcastle Falcons Rubgy team - could rise to. At the official opening of the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, however, it was only his brother Mark Wilkinson who managed to clear the North-East’s newest landmark!
Jonny and Mark were joined by Tom May, another Falcons player, to make the attempt, and were watched by the whole Falcons team and a large gathering of senior local business people and dignitaries, including the Lord Mayor of Newcastle. The kicking attempts were heralded by soprano Belinda Evans - well-known from her singing performances at the Rugby World Cup 2003 - performing the much-loved Rugby songs ‘World in Union’ and ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ to inspire the players.
Wolfgang M. Neumann, Area President, Hilton UK & Ireland, said in his welcome speech: “Newcastle and Gateshead have both seen exciting new developments in the last few years, and Hilton is proud to be part of this increasingly vibrant and prosperous area.”
The four-star deluxe Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, which is Hilton International’s first hotel in the North East, offers 254 bedrooms, conference and banqueting facilities for up to 500 guests, 10 Hilton Meetings rooms, a LivingWell Health Club and the contemporary Windows on the Tyne Restaurant & Bar with sweeping views over the Tyne.