Julie Foster

Acomb WI meets on Monday at 7pm in the village hall for jewellery making with Debbie Young. There will be a competition for a home-made jewellery item.

Acomb Angling Club is holding its AGM on Tuesday, in the Miners Arms, starting at 7pm. The club has salmon and trout fishing on the Tyne below the meetings. Membership is open to anyone resident in the parish, come along if you’d like to learn more.

Let’s Sing Again is on this Tuesday, refreshments at 10.15am, join in the singing at 10.45am. Contact Julie on (01434) 607490

The Fourth Friday film on January 24 is The Girl on the Train. Doors open at 7pm with the film at 7.30pm. Refreshments available though you are welcome to bring your own food or drinks.

Celebrate annual village hall week with an exhibition of old photos of Acomb at the village hall on Saturday, January 25 between 10.30am and 12.30pm. All are welcome to view Acomb’s rich history. Have you any old Acomb photos? Then bring them along too. All will be returned. Donations towards the history society are welcome.


Hilary Nichol

Did you know that there are several local groups running activities in Haltwhistle Library, in addition to IT facilities and a range of books and periodicals to browse and borrow? A consultation is ongoing to determine the future of Haltwhistle’s library, please add your opinions by calling into the library to complete a paper copy of the survey. You can also complete the questionnaire online at

Saturday’s coffee morning in the Methodist Church Hall is raising funds for Haltwhistle’s Town Twinning Group. Come along to find out more about this year’s planned exchange visits with friends from St Meen le Grand in France and Valentano in Italy, alongside the chance to indulge with tasty home baked treats and the usual stalls.

Start your spring cleaning now and rummage out those hidden family heirlooms. Paul Laidlaw and Georgina Nixon will be visiting Haltwhistle soon to host another antiques valuation day and they’d love to include your treasures. Look out for more details soon.

Haltwhistle Jubilee Football Club had an unexpectedly early end to their match against Ellington last weekend when bad weather stopped play after 64 minutes. The football league will decide whether to reschedule the game. However, weather permitting, the team return to action this week with an away match at Gateshead Redheugh on Saturday.

Haydon Bridge

Karen Lumsden

Saturday’s coffee morning at the community centre will commence at the usual time of 10am, all welcome.

John Harrison will be testing the grey matter on Tuesday, January 21, at the General Havelock from 8.15pm. This month’s beneficiary will be Hexham Cancer Support Group. The evening includes the beer question and a raffle, for which prizes would be gratefully received.

The art group will meet on Tuesday, January 21, at the community centre between 1pm and 4pm. Anyone who would like to be part of the group can get tuition and borrow materials.

Kelly Hollings will be giving a talk at the Nature Club on Thursday, January 23, on Restoring Ratty. Refreshments served at half time. The meeting begins at 7.15 pm. Members free, there is a charge for visitors.

One for the diary: Shaun Fenwick will be singing at the social club on Saturday, January 25 from 9pm. Entry is free.


Birtley Nail

VILLAGERS have their chance to have their say on the future of Bellingham Library on Wednesday, January 29 at a consultation exercise in the town hall from 10am to 1pm. While there were fears that the library’s future was in doubt as Northumberland County Council seeks to make savings of £200,000 in the service across the county, these concerns have been dismissed by the county council. The council says it is trying to consolidate what was a fragmented service. The library, based in the town hall, is about much more than borrowing books – there are also four public access computers, with advice on how to get on line, a jigsaw club and a popular junior section. It also offers public information about health and wellbeing, and various other services. Although it is only open two days per week, it attracts some 70 people each week to browse among the shelves well-filled with both fiction and non-fiction books, including a good local interest section.

BELLINGHAM got its first real taste of winter last week, when the road from the village to Otterburn via Hareshaw Fell was hit by up to four inches of snow. The road was particularly treacherous for non-four-wheel-drive vehicles, and at least one pick-up skidded off the road, demolishing a wall and a telegraph pole, while other vehicles were abandoned. Happily, the snow had gone by mid afternoon.

THE concert in Bellingham Town Hall by Jason Arnup and friends before Christmas raised an excellent £1,200 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Riding Mill

Pam Pryor

On Sunday, January 19 at 3pm, churches together will be holding a service for a week of prayer for Christian unity at Minsteracres to which everyone is invited.

The parish hall should be particularly busy on Monday, January 20 between 10am and 1pm when the Village Hall Trust Committee and its wonderful team of Café @ The Foyer volunteers celebrate the café’s tenth anniversary. As a past volunteer myself, I know how hard Val, Elaine, Barbara and the unbelievable number of waitresses work to provide a warm and welcoming hub for friends to meet and enjoy the delicious fayre. There are volunteers to serve, wash dishes, shop for produce, bake scones and cakes, create menus, organise rotas and so much more. At the same time these volunteers have raised thousands of pounds towards the maintenance of our halls. The residents of Riding Mill are so grateful for giving your time so generously. We wish you a happy 10th birthday and many more birthdays to come and thank you with all our hearts.

Later on that week, if you are still in the party spirit, a Burns’ Night supper and ceilidh will take place in the parish hall on Saturday, January 25 from 7pm until 7.30pm. There will be a two-course meal – all you need to do is bring your own drink, glasses and comfortable dancing shoes. Tickets are available from Jenny on 682486 or Penny on 682578.

Let’s celebrate all that is good about our village.


David Walton

Work continues on the gas main works on Front Street which commenced last week. Representatives from Northern Gas Networks will be available tomorrow in the parish hall to answer residents’ concerns.

Carpet bowls continues in the parish hall every Tuesday with sessions taking place at 2pm until 4pm and again from 7pm until 9pm. All are welcome including any prospective new members.

Corbridge Parish Council meets for the first time this year on Wednesday, January 22 with the agenda likely to include the parish precept and possible new people to fill the vacancy on the council.

The village was badly hit by the gales and heavy rain that hit most of the region. Only minor damage was cause with damaged roof slates lying about and on Saturday the river rose near to the banks then receded.


Ian Warburton

The congregations of St Mary Magdalene Parish Church and Prudhoe Methodist Church are holding a joint morning service at the Methodist Church on Sunday 19 January, commencing at 10am. All are welcome to attend.

Prudhoe Over-50s Group will meet in the parish hall, Front St, on Monday, January 20, commencing at 9.30am. Tony Evans will give a talk on the subject of Catcleugh Reservoir.

Prudhoe Library runs a book club, which meets in the Spetchells Centre on the third Tuesday of each month, commencing at 6.15pm. New members are always welcome, so, if you think this could be for you, you are invited to come to a meeting. Inquiries to Rosemary Kenyon on 07791 747867.

A DISCUSSION group relating to volunteering in Prudhoe will meet at the Spetchells Centre on Thursday, January 23, from 10am to 11am. This will be led by Prudhoe Community Partnership, which supports voluntary groups and volunteers, with the kind assistance of Martin Conway from Northumberland Community Action. Refreshments will be served. If you would like to take part, please feel free to attend. For more information email

I AM always ready to receive intended contributions to this column. Please send these to me on or by phoning/texting me on 07796 820893, preferably by the Friday preceding your desired publication date.

Ovingham & Ovington

Malcolm Cairns

Ovingham Community Orchard is to hold a wassailing event on its field on Sunday, January 19 at 1pm until 3pm. Celebrating a traditional way of blessing the trees with songs and mulled cider, Karen Banning and her singers will be providing entertainment while refreshments will be available around the fire. This is a free event but donations will be most welcome. Come along and join in to ensure good crop this year.

Tickets will be on sale soon, oh yes they will!, for Ovingham Drama Group’s forthcoming panto performance of Rapunzel. Written by Dan Hodgson and with lots of well-known songs by Queen, it promises to be a hit. Details to follow nearer the time.

The Reading Room toddler group is up and running again for a new term in the Reading Room on Tuesday mornings offering safe play, healthy snacks, fun for the kids and tea and coffee for parents and guardians. All welcome.

Ovingham Parish Council meets tonight in the Reading Room at 7.15pm. A council surgery will be held from 6pm to 6.45pm, open to all who wish to raise any relevant issues before the meeting.


Robin Piette

And in the evening of Saturday, January 18 your community cinema is showing Fisherman’s Friends at 7.30pm in the Institute. It’s a comedy drama based on a true story about a group of Cornish fishermen from Port Isaac who were signed by Universal Records and achieved a top 10 hit with their debut album of traditional sea shanties.

Good news for Wylam Community Orchard. Wylam Parish Council has given them a grant to fund the purchase of wildflower seed and 800 in-the-green wildflower bulbs, including wild snowdrops, English bluebells and wild daffodils. The grant will enable members to continue their spring bulb planting programme for the fourth year. The programme is aimed at providing food for early pollinators and spring cheer for the school and residents. Many thanks to the parish council for their generosity.

From Thursday, January 30 to Friday, February 7, Wylam Winter Tales is back with a wonderful mix of events, from music to drama to meet the author to learning to play the spoons! Programme and tickets from the Spar.

Upper North Tyne

Sarah Hallberg

If you are looking for something different to do to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2020 (or just to have a great Friday night out), the incredibly talented Tim Kliphuis Trio are coming all the way from Holland to Tarset Village Hall with their high energy brand of music inspired by classical and gypsy jazz. Their new programme, Swinging the Classics, brings together the music of JS Bach, Duke Ellington, Edvard Grieg, Django Reinhardt and much more. Described as ‘an exhilarating journey with moments of sheer beauty’! It will start at 7.30pm on Friday, February 14, and doors and bar open at 7pm. Advance booking is advised as this promises to be an excellent evening. Tickets are available by calling (01434) 240767 or online at

Allen Valleys

Glynn Galley

Catton Village Hall Committee will be meeting in the hall on Friday, January 24, at 6pm.

It was decided at the recent parish council meeting to once again start locking the doors to the Hearse House in the Market Place. This is because of problems with litter and some people using it as a public convenience which is pretty disgusting. The situation will be reviewed later in the year.

Well, it’s goodbye from me and hello from Robert Philipson who takes over from next week. You can contact him by email at Thanks for all your support over the years, I’ve had a great time!


Kelly Adshead

Chollerton Parish Council next meets on January 22 at 7.30pm in Barrasford Village Hall.

Chollerton Benefice services will take place at Gunnerton Church HC at 9am and Birtley HC at 10.30am on Sunday, January 19.


Wendy Bond

I HAVE already reported on the local successes in the National Parks Awards and we can now join South Tyne Sustainability in celebrating its award as best volunteer group at a meeting in the Haltwhistle Hospital Community Room on Tuesday, January 21, at 6pm. Everyone interested in the environment and how we can help combat climate change here is very welcome to come along and plan for the future activities of this informal but hands-on group. There will be food provided by Sue so please bring along a sweet or drinkable contribution and let her know you are coming to help gauge quantities, on 07935 259 416 or by email

Another important meeting on the same theme will be the Brampton Cafe Scientifique talk on Thursday, January 30, on ‘peatlands from the global to the local perspective – what they are, they they are threatened, why we need to protect them and how we an help’ by Deborah Land. Deborah is an ecologist working in the field of restoration and habitat management for more than 20 years in both the private and public sector. She has developed expertise in peatland restoration, as well as working on a range of other important habitats. She is also investigating ways that land can be managed to keep carbon in the ground through adaptive farming techniques. We have one of the most precious Border Mires to the north of Greenhead, protected by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, and we also have much experience in the recent past of flooding, so peatlands are an important subject for us. If there is sufficient interest, it would be possible to arrange a guided Café Sci visit to the local Bolton Fell floating peat moss during the summer. It is located near Hethersgill, about four miles from Brampton. Details will be given after the presentation.


Herbie Newell

The parish council meeting last Thursday discussed a range of issues. Minutes will be available at

The celebration of the life of Pat Binks is this Saturday, January 18. Full details in the village shop.

The film night is showing, Isle of Dogs tomorrow in the village hall. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

Good friends to our community, Colin Washington, and Marilyn and Steve Robins, are moving this month and we wish them all the very best. Colin has been an active member of the playing field trust for many years, carrying out running repairs and helping with annual events. Marilyn and Steve are leaving us after 17 years during which they have been stalwarts of the village shop and Humshaugh Arts Programme, in particular. Steve’s iconic video of the campaign to save our shop was critical to securing its survival and Marilyn, a legend in her kitchen, supplied the shop with cakes and bakery for many years.

Redecoration of the village hall is proceeding well. Regular users will be informed when the hall can be used again, and apologies for any inconvenience caused.

A REMINDER that the pub quiz this month is next Tuesday, January 21 at 8pm in aid of the Crown Inn Leek Club.

Save the date for the Crown Players’ murder mystery evening Murder on Air on Friday, February 7.

The service at St Peter’s this Sunday, January 19 is Holy Communion at 9.30am which will be taken by Peter Robinson, Archdeacon of Lindisfarne.


Peter Samsom

At the first meeting of the town hall management committee for 2020, a few events were mentioned that you might want to put into your diaries now. The next town hall curry and quiz night will be on Tuesday, March 17 and the date for the AGM has been set for April 27. The Highlights events for this half of the year will both be in April too. Slanjayvah Danza will be with us on April 5 and Liz Cotton will perform her show on April 26.

The Wark branch of the WI will be celebrating its 100th anniversary on Wednesday, January 22. The first Women’s Institute was formed in Canada in 1896 and the first WI meeting in the UK took place on Anglesey in North Wales in 1915. The WI was first established to educate rural women, and to encourage them to get involved in growing and preserving food to help to increase the supply of food to the war-torn nation. The sharing of skills has always been at the heart of the organisation, and this remains true today. The centenary celebration meeting later this month is a closed one as a number of other WI groups will be joining them, but I’m sure you’d be very welcome to join the group at future meetings.

I WAS really interested to read that the Wark Primary School is taking part in the National Primary Engineers Leaders Awards this year. It is designed to highlight the importance of engineering and will give children some insight in the careers available in that sphere.


Rob Tindall

Garrison Keillor used to start his broadcasts with, “Nothing much happened in Lake Wobegon today”. Substitute Newbrough for Lake Wobegon, and this week for today and you have a picture of life on this patch. But even Garrison couldn’t see through closed curtains.

One group who are celebrating are the winners in the Newbrough Town Hall 200+ January draw: 1st Alison Murray, 2nd Nick Whitaker, 3rd J Reed. Congratulations also to Samuel Foot who won the long-running Diary Lottery draw by opting for June 28, 2020.

A GROUP which obviously knows how to have a good time is the Stanegate Readers. I don’t know what book the members were supposed to be discussing, but it must have been an uproarious comedy judging by the sounds of giggling and laughter which permeated to Warden Parish Council which was meeting in another room. There again it probably was a late Christmas celebration if the leftover goodies outside the door were anything to go by. And writing of Christmas, this is your last chance to book your place at the Senior Citizens’ Christmas lunch on Saturday. Call Christine (07555907281 or 674445) to reserve your seat at the table.

There won’t be a 10am service at St Michael’s, Warden on Sunday, January 19. It is being replaced by a Communion Service at 8.30am to allow congregations and clergy to attend the Ecumenical Service in Hexham Abbey at 11am.

The year is moving on. The first snowdrops were out in the garden last week.


Stella Douglas

You may have seen the article in last week’s Courant about Slaley Commemoration Hall achieving Hallmark 2 for good management. In order to improve on that, in February, the hall will launch an online booking system which can be accessed through the parish website. This should help users to see what is available easily. You can still call Stella on 673001 or email if you prefer to book in person. If you would like to see the new system in action or ask anything about using the commemoration hall, there is an open day, noon until 5pm on January 26 – more details soon.

As 2020 gets going, the usual opportunities are available in Slaley for those who want to volunteer. The first meeting of the Slaley Show Committee this year means that show preparations are under way. If you would like to help in any capacity before, during or after the show, contact the secretary on 07766 467455 or visit the website ( and send a message. The shop is going from strength to strength: volunteers welcome. Just pop in and have a chat. It is a lovely way to meet people and have an interesting few hours. If you are reading this and would like to alert Slaley folk to other opportunities, contact Helen (676852) or Stella (673001).


Emma Anderson

The Christmas whist drive held at Rochester Village Hall on Friday, December 20, was a great success. There were 11-and-a-half tables and a good night was had by all. The event raised £235 for the hall. The organisers would like to thank all those who supported the event, particularly those who donated prizes.

Otterburn’s carpet bowlers played in their annual J&J Competition at Otterburn Memorial Hall on Sunday, January 5. The winners were Davy Wallace, Isobel Wallace, Elsie Anderson and Dorothy Meikle. The afternoon was a great success, not least the beautiful afternoon tea enjoyed by the members. Otterburn won their home game with Cambo on Tuesday, January 7. Members enjoyed both the evening and a lovely supper.

Those who would like to pay their last respects to Dr Iain Mungall, the former Bellingham GP, are welcome to attend a memorial service at Hexham Abbey this afternoon at 2.30pm.

A TRADITIONAL Burns’ supper, in aid of St Bartholomew’s, Kirkwhelpington, is being held at Kirkwhelpington Memorial Hall on Saturday, January 25, starting at 7.30pm. The supper features the piping in of the haggis, Burns’ Address to a Haggis, the Selkirk Grace, a home-made three-course meal, entertainment and a pay bar. Bob Bolam, the ever-popular comedian and raconteur, and Fiona Charlton, accordionist, will provide the entertainment. Please buy your tickets without delay as the supper is usually a sell-out. Tickets are on sale at Kirkwhelpington Post Office or can be ordered by telephone at (01830) 540230.


Clare Daltry

If you’re interested in meeting people and making friends, the Friendly Friday Drop-In at the Quaker Meeting House on the corner of New Ridley Road is every Friday, 10am-noon. Drop in for a cup of tea and enjoy a biscuit or slice of cake, meet new people or catch up with friends. More details from Melna 844040 and Edna 843081

The Tynedale Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers will meet on Saturday, January 18 from 10am-4pm at Stocksfield community centre. The day’s activities include a presentation at around 11am ‘Guinevere’s Robes: Textiles in Medieval Stories’. Visitors and people thinking of becoming new members are welcome to attend – the visitors’ fee is £5.

There’s a drop-in coffee morning at Stocksfield Methodist Church Hall in Mount View Terrace on Monday, January 20 from 10.30am to noon. This weekly event is dementia-friendly and open to all.

Stocksfield Plants and Gardens Society meets at the community centre on Tuesday, January 21 at 7.30pm. Richard Barnes will present ‘A History of Garden Design’. New members and guests are always welcome.

If you have anything for inclusion in the Stocksfield village notes phone or text 07443 222 887.


Lynda White

If you would like to test your brain power there is to be a quiz night on Saturday, February 22 in the parish hall at Whitley Chapel. There will be a £50 cash prize plus spot prizes and a pie and pea supper is included in the ticket price. Teams of up to six people can take part. There will also be a bar available and the proceeds of the evening will go towards the parish hall repaint. Get your teams together and telephone Dan or Claire Nixon for tickets on 07800932956/07793733094.

Congratulations to Janet and her team at the Dipton Mill Inn on being named best value for money in the UK in the Good Pub Guide 2020. This is a wonderful achievement as it is a national award having been voted from pubs from all around the country. Janet is delighted with the award and buys all her ingredients from local suppliers and producers and serves her food simply with pride. You can still book tickets for the Burns’ Night supper at the Dipton Mill Inn but, be quick!