OLDER people got up close and personal with alpacas thanks to a programme to help them experience new things.

The First Time for Everything programme run by the Royal Voluntary Service headed to Barnacre Alpacas near Heddon-on-the-Wall as one of its events aimed at over-55s.

The walk was led by Debbie Rippon who, along with her husband Paul Rippon, owns Barnacre Alpacas and has grown it from three alpacas in 2013 to more than 300 now.

During the session, participants learned about the alpaca’s personalities, their breeding, the pecking order and about how their fleece is lanolin free, which makes it hypoallergenic.

Louise Parker, Royal Voluntary Service activity co-ordinator for Northumberland said: “The participants really enjoyed this First Time for Everything activity – the alpacas are such lovely natured animals.”