A CELEBRATION to mark 50 years of a controversial concrete artwork takes place tomorrow. (Tuesday, July 16)

Half a century since the historic Apollo XI craft set off on the Saturn V rocket to put man on the moon for the first time a new structure in Peterlee was named after the lunar mission.

The Apollo Pavilion, the creation of architect Victor Pasmore, was unveiled later that year and to this day has attracted contrasting views.

To mark five decades since the pioneering mission blasted off from Cape Canaveral a day of celebration is taking place at the brutalist structure on Sunny Blunts estate.

Durham County Council is staging the free musical medley from 11am to 2pm.

It will feature performances from Mr Wilson’s Second Liners and Oompah Brass, who are appearing as part of Durham’s BRASS Festival, plus Barry Hyde, lead singer of Wearside band The Futureheads, who has been working with local schools to create a new song to mark the occasion.

It will be followed by a programme of films reflecting the longstanding fascination with the moon and the missions to land there.

These will be screened at the nearby Pavilion community centre, from 3.45pm, with, once more, free entry.

The events are part of a year of activities organised by the council to celebrate 50 years of the Pavilion.

It began with a light installation by creative art duo Mader Wiermann at the structure in March, as part of the county’s year of culture, titled #Durham19.

Councillor Joy Allen, the council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, said: “The first moon landing was one of the most memorable moments in modern-day history.

“By happy coincidence it came at the same time as the building of the structure we now know as the Apollo Pavilion.

“There was a desire locally to mark the Apollo mission and it was decided naming the structure in its honour was the perfect way.

“We know the Pavilion has always divided opinion but the light installation earlier this year proved how much pride local people have in it.

“We are delighted to be continuing the 50 year celebrations on the anniversary of the Apollo mission.”

The programme begins with theatre school members from The Academy at Shotton Hall portraying scenes from their new musical, Pleasantville, followed by Barry Hyde playing a selection of his band’s hits, at 11.30am, and, performing a specially-commissioned piece, Standing on the Moon, accompanied by 500 local school children, at 1.55pm.

A brassy interlude at 12.05pm and 1.10pm, will be interspersed by East Durham Dementia Friendly Choir, at 12.50pm. All those attending are welcome to bring their own picnic blankets, but free popcorn will be available from 2.30 to 6.30pm.