A BALLOON launch marked the 150th birthday of one of Hartlepool's best-known landmarks.

About 150 anniversary balloons were released on Saturday from the tower of the former Christ Church, now better-known as the Hartlepool Art Gallery and Tourist Information Centre.

The balloons all bear a souvenir certificate and the finder of the one which travels the farthest will receive a prize.

Visitors to the church, in Church Square, were also treated to various events over the weekend, including the chance to meet live bats, a family poetry workshop, a guided walk with a local historian and an informative talk on the colourful history of the church building.

A photographic exhibition, called Bygone Days, was also on display, featuring a selection of photographs and objects which are associated with Christ Church.

The art gallery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 5.30pm and Sundays from 2pm to 5pm.

For more information, call (01429) 869706.