A look at what's happening where you are.


Ian Warburton

THE Prudhoe branch of u3a will meet on Zoom on Monday, June 28 commencing at 10:00am. Gillian Russell will give a talk entitled ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ which will look at aspects of expat life in Japan. For details of the Zoom link, please email u3a.prudhoe@gmail.com. For general information relating to u3a, please visit u3a.org.uk

RADIO Prudhoe is to return for a three-week run from Monday 5 to Sunday, July 25 inclusive. There will be a wide range of shows and a strong local flavour. The station can be listened to online on www.radioprudhoe.co.uk or via TuneIn app. The run has been timed to coincide with some exciting events taking place in the town. I hope to be able to publish more details of these very soon.


Ian Warburton

BYWELL Schooling Day will take place at Bywell NE43 7AB on Sunday, June 27 from 9:00am to 5:00pm. There is no need to book; you can pay for horse and rider on the day. There will be a huge variety of cross-country jumps, including a water splash. Jumps are suitable for all ages and abilities from leading rein upwards. Refreshments will be available via North Acomb Farm Shop Catering and a selection of gin and tonics will be available via Gin and Tonia. Dogs welcome. Proceeds to the Charlotte Straker Project and Stocksfield Community Association. Information is also available on the Bywell Open Schooling Days Facebook page.


Jean Conteh

MUSIC on the Green is going ahead in Matfen on Sunday, June 27, with the reassurance of a safety plan which has been accepted by NCC. It starts at 2.30 and if you’re planning to go, enjoy the afternoon and stay safe.

MEANWHILE, the Great Whittington Village Hall committee has decided to postpone their barbecue, which was scheduled to take place this coming Saturday, June 26. It will now be happening on July 24, following the same plan. Let’s hope it goes ahead then and the weather is kind.

MATFEN Hall Cricket Club faced Mitford at home on Saturday and from all reports, it was a good game. The team were pleased that a good number of spectators turned up at the ground. They’ll be at home again to Haltwhistle this coming Saturday, so another chance to support your local team – and also the Black Bull which will be open for business afterwards and is already proving to be a welcoming spot for thirsty cricketers.


Robin Piette

SUMMER Pop-Ups: the venue for this event on Sunday, July 11 2-5pm has been changed to the Institute at 8pm. Local artists, designers, craftspeople and artisan food traders. If you would like a stall at this event, please contact maisiehenderson@live.co.uk.

IT has been a delight in this good weather to see how Wylam Jubilee Field and Wylam Cricket Club are coming back to life. The cricket square and outfield are in excellent condition and reportedly one of the best in the Tyne Valley. It is lovely hearing the sound of leather on willow again after the trials of last year. Wylam 1st 11 has had a superb start to the season both home and away and is currently lying fourth in the West Tyne league. With all the hard work behind the scenes, the club is beginning to flourish again, resulting in a ‘friendly’ side joining the North East Midweek League. In addition, the club has junior sides at under 13, under 11 and under nine level. If you are interested in joining, please contact Mark Wilson 07309749289 for senior cricket or Richard Opie 07798718321 for juniors.

THAT charming pair of musicians, Annie and Katie of Semibreve, together with Gareth Davies-Jones, are holding another of their secret outdoor concerts on Saturday 26 at 8pm. If you would like to come, tickets are available on their website www.semibreve.co.uk, or ring Annie on 07972 178702. Bring a chair, a drink and some nibbles!

THERE is just one week left to vote for 1st Wylam Rainbows, Wylam Brownies and Wylam Guides to win up to £1,000 of funding from the Venator Community Fund. They would love you to vote for them three times from each email address you use and ask your friends and family to vote as well. Just follow the link to vote. https://www.venatorcommunity.com/community.../project/...

Upper North Tyne

Sarah Hallberg

FOLLOWING last week’s announcement concerning further delays in the easing of lockdown restrictions, Tarset Village Hall Committee has reluctantly decided to postpone the ‘Lockdown Arts, Crafts and Photo Exhibition’ which was scheduled for July 4 -10. Whilst the regulations would allow the hall to stage the exhibition and open for viewing with limited numbers and social distancing measures, the committee really wants the exhibition opening and closing to be social events under as normal conditions as possible and therefore feels that the event should not go ahead until people are allowed to meet and socialise safely. Please keep your eyes open for the new dates, which will be published in due course. In the meantime, the hall will be open for bookings, provided these comply with the prevailing regulations and the Covid cleaning rules (which have been put in place by the hall both to meet the legislative requirements and to make sure the hall is as safe as possible for all its users) are adhered to. It is also worth mentioning that the event organisers/hall hirers will be responsible for ensuring the implementation of and compliance with the prevailing Covid restrictions for their event(s), so if you want to book the hall and have any queries about what that entails, please email tarsetvh@btinternet.com. The hall’s requirements and the relevant rules (in place, it is expected, until July 19) are listed on the Tarset Website (https://www.tarset.co.uk/community/villagehall.cfm).


Ruth Marlee

CAN you help our community? The Parish Hall Committee is looking for someone to take over the organisation and running of their Christmas Fayre. This entails advertising and taking bookings for the stalls - making sure there is a good balance of products on offer and overseeing all other aspects of the day, such as setting up, teas and the raffle. This event has always been well supported and helps generate funds towards the running of the hall. The committee will be on hand to help but need someone new to introduce new ideas and take charge. Anyone interested, please get in touch with Gill Whatmough on 676949.

ON June 22, a funding stream will be launched which includes parish, town and community councils. ‘Places Called Home’ will offer eligible groups funding awards of between £1,000 and £5,000 for activities and equipment that meet a required criteria. Is there anyone in Hexhamshire who may feel inspired to start up a social club or arrange a regular transport service for people? For more information about the scheme or the required criteria, contact Marge Rastall (mandarastall@hotmail.co.uk).

A MESSAGE from Andrew Patterson. “Whitley Chapel is not known for its crime waves but it was pointed out to me on Sunday that a substantial number of the half-moon shaped stones which cap the wall of the churchyard have been removed: stolen to be more accurate. This is a bit sad and petty; in the years I have been here, no-one has caused any damage to the church and it is open to all. If anyone has seen anything suspicious, please tell the vicar”.

PLEASE send new contributions for community news to hexhamshirenotes@gmail.com by the Friday before publication. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Allen Valleys

Robert Philipson

THE Carillon at Holy Trinity Whitfield. 200 years ago, the Reverend Ellacombe decided he could no longer cope with the difficulty of finding reliable bellringers for his church at Bitten in Gloucestershire and invented ‘remote’ bellringing. This involved a mechanism which mean the bells could be rung by one person and without the need for them to ascend the church tower. The 200th anniversary of Revd. Ellacombe’s invention occurs in June this year. Churches are planning to ring bells across the world at midday on June 26 to celebrate this invention and his wider contributions to bellringing generally. In 1978, JC Blackett-Ord donated a Carillon (remote bell system) to Holy Trinity Whitfield in memory of his late wife Elisabeth. At Holy Trinity, the Carillon will be rung at 12 midday on Saturday, June 26 to celebrate this event. If anyone wants to come to the churchyard to listen, you are most welcome. The commemorative book, ‘Ellacombe Chimes: Two Hundred Years’ (ISBN 978-1-304-706101) can now be purchased from the publisher Lulu. It is hoped that shortly this will be available through other outlets including Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but in the meantime, you can pre-order on the link below. https://lulu.com/en/gb/shop/mike-gates/ellacombe-chimes-two-hundred-years/paperback/product-me5dpe.html?page=1&pageSize=4

ALISON Diamond Rogers has a solo exhibition opening on July 2 at Allendale Forge Studios. The exhibition is entitled ‘Treasured Memories’. Alison is a well-known print maker and painter who teaches art at Sunderland University. Her figurative and deeply personal images are drawn from scenes and experiences with friends and family. The drama of her work is enhanced by her unusual viewpoints and angles, some akin to Japanese print designs. The exhibition continues through July and is open daily from 10am-5pm.

CONGRATULATIONS to Rory and Megan on passing the BA section of their training and becoming fully fledged members of Allendale Fire Crew.

PLEASE send any contributions to this column to robert.philipson@btconnect.com or phone (01434) 685266.


Birtley Nail

LOOKING like a man in his mid 70s, Bill Minette didn’t turn many heads when he mingled with the tourists who thronged Bellingham last week. But Bill was one of the most remarkable visitors the village has had for some time. For the former schoolteacher is in fact 104 years old, with an incredible memory for names and faces from the past. Bill came to the village in 1952 as one of the first teachers at the newly opened Bellingham Secondary School. After originally lodging with Mrs Brown from the Snack Bar, he and his wife Audrey eventually got a house on Westlands. He stayed at the school for around a decade, before taking a series of teaching jobs around the country, and now lives in Cirencester in Gloucestershire. However, he still retains fond memories of his years in Bellingham, and returns to his old stamping grounds frequently. He is in regular touch with Mrs Brown’s daughter Wendy Reeve whom he called upon on his latest visit. Wendy said: “ He is perhaps not as mobile as he once was, but he has an incredible memory. His brain is as sharp as a pin.”

I HEAR that the public bench on the linn footpath from Hillside, which was stolen some weeks ago, has been found. Apparently it was secreted in a disused farm building belonging to our county councillor John Riddle which was being illicitly used for “anti social activities”. It is unlikely to be replaced in its original location for fear it may go walkabout again, but the provision of a more robust seat is under consideration by the parish council.

MANY congratulations are due to Josephine Sanderson, a familiar figure around Bellingham for many years due to her work for the Forestry Commission at its offices at Eals Burn. Although she retired last year from her role as finance and business support manager for Forestry England, she was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List last week for services to forestry. Josephine is also one of the longest serving parish clerks in the land, having been clerk to Falstone Parish Council since 1978. She cut her clerking teeth during one of the most turbulent times in modern Upper North Tyne history, when work was in full swing on the building of Kielder Dam, which actually stands in Falstone parish.

Riding Mill

Carole Craig-Gilby

WELCOME to the week of June 21 and our sunshine has been so very welcome.

I WENT to visit Riding Mill Drop-in held on Tuesday, June 15 in the Millennium Hall. All were welcome (don’t miss out, do drop in anytime between 2pm and 4pm every Tuesday onwards, circumstances permitting). What was it like? It was fantastic—yes, the weather helped but there was a lovely vibe where folk chatted, had a cuppa and light refreshments –there is no set charge just a donation.

THE Drama Club in Riding Mill are still working away on Zoom and are performing Victoria Woods Dinner Ladies on Wednesday, June 30 –all parts have been cast (I am pleased to say I have! And Celia Imrie played my part!) But for anyone wishing to join the drama club, we welcome all who act (any age from 18 up to any age), just drop a email to rmdcsales@gmail.com

Our website is www.ridingmilldramaclub.com or call 07950974874 for details .

CLARE would be so happy to see you on the yoga mat -and in person! All welcome but please be aware spaces are limited. If you require any further details or wish to book, www.hope-yoga.com or Clare on 07956407905.

IF you would like to book a charity table at the Charity Table Top Sale Saturday, July 3 at the Parish Hall 10.00-1.00 only £10.00 per table, please call Linda Sheppard on (01434)682069. You may leave a message and be sure she will get back to you. Entrance fee is £1 per person and light refreshments will be available between 10am-1pm.

WORLD Prayer Day coming on June 28 at St James New Churchyard 11.30am followed by a bring your own picnic lunch, open to all.

MONDAY coffee mornings are back on in the parish hall but due to social distance issues, we cannot recommence the Fridays for coffee as there already is a class booked into the parish hall at 10am - but we have been speaking about moving it on Fridays? To The Millennium Hall?

PLEASE contact me with your news ridingmillnews@gmail.com/07950974874.

Ovingham and Ovington

Malcolm Cairns

FAMOUS film and tv characters have recently been spotted around the streets of Ovingham. It seems that people have had a lot of fun in making and displaying their scarecrow creations for this years competition. The judges again had a difficult job of deciding the winners, as they were all so worthy contestants. Here are the results- children’s section: Joint 1st Bart Simpson and Minions. Adults: Joint 1st Cruella de Ville, Russell ‘Scare’ Crowe and Olaf. Groups: Golden Girls and Last of the Summer Wine. Ovingham Pre First and Middle School all get prizes. Highly commended certificates awarded to Vera, Nightmare at Christmas, Blackadder, Super Mario and Lungi. Well done everyone.

OVINGHAM Mothers’ Union Tea Party has been rescheduled to July 18 1.30pm at St Mary’s Church.

AFTER the extension of regulations, Ovi-Fun is to move its field day event to Saturday, July 24. There will be a bric a brac stall run by the Parish Council, the Chat Club will have home baked goodies on offer and refreshments will be available. All proceeds to the upkeep of the playing field and pavilion. Everyone welcome, come along and enjoy the day.


Herbie Newell

FOLLOWING the recent government announcement extending Covid restrictions, the Village Hall Welcome Back event has been postponed from July 4 to July 25 – confirmation and more details to follow.

VERY many thanks to David Prest for his annual mowing of the footpath in the back field down to Humshaugh Burn. Walkers, Humshaugh First School children and dogs with short legs are very grateful!

A FINAL reminder that contributions are still welcome for the 2022 Humshaugh Calendar. Photographs of the village or its surrounds should be sent to Richard Hewitt (rahewitt1@gmail.com) by the end of June.

DUE to the changes to the Covid guidance, only the parents of Year 4 children will now be able to attend the First School end-of-term performance of “Pirates versus Mermaids” on Tuesday, June 29. It is appreciated that other parents and residents will be disappointed about not being able to watch the show live; however, Chris Harding has very kindly agreed to produce a DVD which will be provided to all families in Years 1 to 4.

OUR community choir North Tyne Voices is continuing to meet outside at the Village Hall every Tuesday at 2pm. In the absence of our choir leader, who is now on maternity leave, the choir is flying solo and very many thanks to Peter Woodward for providing the musical lead. All are very welcome.

THE main St Peter’s Sunday Worship continues to be an online Deanery Service at 10am (please contact rogerlangford37@outlook.com).


Rob Tindall

THE seat which stands in the churchyard at St. Peter’s is well used by visitors seeking a few moments of quiet contemplation. It was gifted by former vicar Rev. Lynn and his wife many years ago but is now in need of some repair. It wouldn’t be a massive job but obviously requires a competent carpenter. If any joiner would, out of a sense of community pride, like to tackle the task, they should contact Sophie (sophie.straker@btopenworld.com).

BY the time you read this, we are probably swimming up the Stanegate but I am advised by our resident meteorologist at Parkshield that earlier this month we entered a state of ‘official drought’. Two months ago, we wondered if the rain would ever stop!

BADMINTON is back, but due to covid restrictions , the hall at present can only cope with five participants an evening. Social distancing shouldn’t be a problem because if memory serves me right, there were many occasions when the shuttle wasn’t within two metres of the swipe. The quoit players are also active again on the pitch opposite the Red Lion and I’m sure their quoit is always within one metre of the spike. In our three sporty villages with facilities at hand – MUGA, cricket and football pitches, it is sad that we cannot raise enough people to make meaningful use of them. It is only 124 years since a Newbrough XI beat High Warden by two runs in a local derby. Top scorer was J Clark with 13.


Stella Douglas

MANY of us will have experienced serious concerns about the hazardous junction at Glen Crossroads. There are yet more reports of near misses. Both travelling west along the Lead Road and south from Slaley village towards Slaley Hall we are in danger when we use the junction as visibility is very limited. There is a mirror on the junction, but it provides only partial aid to the motorist. Strenuous efforts have been made over many years by both Healey and Slaley Parish Councils to resolve the matter which has become particularly treacherous this year with strong hedge growth. Please be careful. Please notify the parish clerk (pat.wilson28@outlook.com) if you have a near miss so the parish councils can use your experience to continue to pressure our county councillor and NCC Highways to provide a lasting solution.

THE Parish Council sends thanks to all those who have trimmed hedges and trees to help keep paths and roads safe.

HAVE you got too much Cavalo Nero and not enough Cosmos? The Village Shop hosts the Great Green Slaley Seeding Swap on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27 between 9am and noon. There will be plenty of choice and a few surprises. No need to book, just visit on the day with your surplus or to pick up some seedlings for a small donation.

THE Community Environment Group meets June 23. If you would like to join in, please contact Pat (see above) for an invitation to the online discussions.


Maurice Holliday

The Hearth Cafe which is open seven days each week continues to provide hospitality with indoor and outdoor seating. Certain restrictions still apply now that the Government has extended its road map for a further four weeks. The cafe staff have a strict cleaning routine which includes sanitising every chair and table after the departure of every customer. They thank you for being patient during this regulated procedure.

HORSLEY Craft Club is meeting again in the Hearth Cafe at 2pm on June 24.

THE Gardening Club continue to meet every Saturday at 10.30am in the raised bed area behind the Lion and Lamb.

HEARTH artists are planning their summer art fair on July 17 and 18. Some of the larger studios will be open as well as the hall. Every effort will be made to establish social distancing. The artists are also planning a fair prior to Christmas on November 20 and 21.

THE public right of way between Horsley Hill and Northside is blocked by overgrown vegetation and overhanging branches in the field closest to the hill. Unfortunately, this is creating problems for walkers and the farmer as people are walking into the crop. The matter has been reported to NCC who have this path designated for a summer cut each year.