THE Northumberland County Show last Bank Holiday Monday heralded the start of the summer season for big events.

A record 27,000 people turned out for the event at Bywell, near Stocksfield.

And around 2,000 people descended on Hexham last Saturday when the Hexham Regatta was held at Tyne Green.

It took place over another bumper weekend for the district, which also included the Belsay Horse Trials and Haydon Bridge Festival.

Such annual events draw in the crowds, and the vast number of visitors they attract have a positive impact on the local economy.

The Haydon Hundred, now a key event on the cycling calendar, takes place this weekend bringing in around 200 participants from different parts of the country each year.

The popular pedal from Haydon Bridge to Alston and back was created in 2013 with the sole purpose of supporting local businesses.

One of the organisers, Ian Foster, said: “It’s an event which only takes place every 12 months, but there are year-round benefits.

“On the day, cyclists come into the village and will use the shops. Some of them will go for a drink afterwards in the local pubs, or somewhere to eat.

“For some of the participants, the Haydon Hundred is introducing them to this community for the first time.

“They come back to cycle in the area again or bring their families for a day out.

“Hopefully, over the past five years, we’ve helped to put Haydon Bridge on the map and supported our businesses.”

The Haydon Hundred raises money each year for the Haydon Bridge Development Trust, which supports the volunteer-led Bridge Community Library.

Ian added: “The library is our base for the event, and the Haydon Hundred helps to keep the library going.”

Hexham Rowing Club’s Graham Marples said Hexham Regatta promoted tourism in the area.

He explained: “It’s the biggest regatta in the North-East and it attracts university crews from Newcastle and Durham, and from other parts of the country.

“Participants have to stay somewhere the night before and after the regatta, which is supporting local accommodation providers.

“It is bringing young rowers to Hexham from further afield, making them aware of the town and the beautiful setting on Tyne Green.

“It’s also putting Hexham on the map, and bringing in lots of spectators to watch the rowing, which is good for tourism in general.”

In addition to the regatta, Hexham enjoys a variety of events throughout the year.

Winter activities, such as Spook Night and Bonfire Night, are complemented by Hexham Carnival and other summer activities.

Lorna Paxton, of Paxton’s fish and chip shop in Hexham Market Place, said: “It depends when the events are on, and where they are located.

“Spook night and Bonfire Night are usually quite good for us because they’re on later in the day, and people are looking for something hot to eat.

“The regatta is at Tyne Green, which is out of the town centre, but you would hope that people who come to see the rowing will want to come and see what the town has to offer.

“If they don’t have time to come into town on the day, hopefully they will return for a repeat visit.”

Janet Hardy. of the Card Shop in the Market Place. said: “Hexham is quieter than it used to be in terms of shopping, so it’s good that these events are flying the flag.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve noticed a significant increase in trade, but anything that brings people into Hexham can only be a positive.”

Richard Smithson, of North Tyneside, attended the Northumberland County Show with his family.

He said: “It’s one of my favourite days of the year.

“I travelled on the day, but I know of people who stay over, because it’s a massive event with a lot of attractions, tents and trade stands.

“They need somewhere to stay locally. I’ve no doubt that it does a lot of good for the economy year on year.”