A round-up of what is happening in your community across Tynedale.


Lynda White

IT is hard to believe that it will be the 20th anniversary of the Hexhamshire Millennium Show next week. A lot has changed in the Shire since then, people have come and gone, but for those who can remember it was a wonderful weekend for the community to come together. The show took place on Saturday, August 5, 2000, and included a huge marquee which housed dozens of competitions from baking to photography, and outside there was an exhibition of ploughing with heavy horses, vintage tractors and cars and sheep judging. The Hexhamshire Morris Men appeared in the main ring. Happy memories 20 years on.

AN opportunity has arisen to purchase a three-bedroom property at St Helens Gate at Whitley Chapel on a 25 per cent share basis. You are able to buy 80 per cent of the property. To be eligible you must meet the following criteria. Your principal place of residence or employment for the last three years is in the Hexhamshire or Slaley Parish, or you are a former resident or have family residing in those parishes. If you are interested please contact Rook Matthew Sayer, which is handling the sale.


Stella Douglas

THE commemoration hall nears its reopening and bookings can be taken. The trustees have been working hard and have made it a safe venue. If you need to know more about this before you book, please contact the committee. Contact and booking details are on the village hall page of the parish website. Activities in the village hall can become cash-free, there will be a contactless card reader available and its super simple – honestly.

The annex to the commemoration hall (Phase 2) was planned with fairly traditional activities in mind. Now work, education and leisure have changed for most of us and there are a host of new possibilities for its use. It will be an exciting new space. If you have an idea, even a new business plan, please contact the committee. New ideas can open up new grant opportunities.

Meanwhile, the SCH200Club (fund-raising for the village hall) goes from strength to strength. If you want a particular number (or more), contact Pat on (01434) 673388.

WATCH out for news of a virtual Slaley Show on Facebook. Get entries ready! Contact the show secretary for further information, email fiona.slaleyshow@gmail.com.

FOR the person who edits the parish website, it was a delight to see that the numbers visiting the site nearly doubled this month! The editor tries hard to make a colourful, informative place for Slaley folk to find news. If you want to post a picture, find out some village headlines or share information please contact the parish website via stellacdouglas@gmail.com


Maurice Holliday

NCC are gradually replacing broken street signs to the west of the village. Several had rusted and fallen into the grass verge last winter.

A reminder from the garden club about entries for hanging baskets and or planters. Entries should be made by photograph and delivered to 1 Fernley Cottages by August 7. You do not need to be a member of the garden club to enter.

The football field in the village is now open. Both goalposts have been repainted by the parish council.

Several residents are taking part in the “Big Butterfly Count.” If anyone wishes to join in please refer to the Butterfly Conservation website for details.

A69 workforce have been repointing the bridge at the junction of the road to Harlow Hill as well as checking and cleaning drains. The pedestrian walkway was flooded last winter from the adjoining field producing a slimy surface which froze over in cold conditions. Temporary traffic lights were in place while the work was completed.

NCC countryside team have replaced the stile with a metal gate at the junction of the old A69 and Whittle bridge.

The first art class since March took place at the Hearth arts centre last weekend. Hopefully this is the first of many after all the Covid 19 problems this year. Naturally numbers are limited to comply with health and safety.

Riding Mill

Pam Pryor

Don’t forget that Susan Wray, the barber, is back in Riding Mill tomorrow, Friday July 31, between 9.45am and noon. The ‘salon’ will be set up in the marquee beside the parish hall but appointments must be made, so please ring Susan on 07712 609057 to book your haircut.

I’m sorry I didn’t know for last week’s notes, but delighted to learn since, that the Café @ The Foyer reopened on Monday, July 27 and will be open on Mondays only, for the time being, between 10am and noon. Customers will be served in the main hall, rather than the foyer, to allow social distancing but food can be eaten outside or taken away too. There are changes to the menu and a voucher system for payment to reduce the handling of cash. The trustees and the volunteers look forward to welcoming back their customers.

Parents and children will also be pleased to know that the playpark is open again. The parish councillors ask you to follow the guidance notes displayed on the entrance gate and parents must be responsible for keeping their children’s hands washed and sanitised as it is not possible to clean the apparatus continuously.

As some semblance of normality begins to return, if you have any queries please remember that the Village Assistance Number is still available to you – 07935 271922 – or email me pampryor@btinternet.com and I will try to point you in the right direction. Stay safe.


Ron Tindall

For those who have missed physical attendance at church, relief is at hand. Holy Communion will be celebrated in St Michael’s, Warden on Sunday at 9.30am. Obviously there are new protocols but the church is being given a thorough pre-clean.

I don’t want to scoop the August issue of the Stanegate, but I can recommend a letter submitted by a reader about the Lych Gate at St. Peter’s – who actually made it and why the builders, although based in Acomb, is Charlton & Sons (Newbrough) Ltd.

The mobile fish and Chip van will be in the villages on Saturday from 4.30pm to 6.30pm at the Millennium Beacon and then in Sidgate from 6.45pm.

As ever there is grumbling – rightly so – about speeding through the villages and it’s not only humans who could be the victims. Driving from Allerwash last week I had to take care to avoid a half-grown hare which insisted in racing alongside the car. Less fortunate was the mature badger hit by a car on the outskirts of Fourstones which gruesomely and quickly became a writhing mass of maggots.

Grandchildren force you to do things that you are normally too lazy to attempt – so it was 6.4 miles from Tower Tye via Sharpley, Teppermoor, Carrawbrough, Carr Edge and Lookwide. The 360° views to the horizon showed how magnificent Northumberland is. A nice touch at the Scout Camp was a stone painted with a Union Jack showing that our young people do get out and take exercise.


Emma Anderson

THIS year, despite the pandemic restrictions, the Anglican Churches in Redesdale and the North Tyne still plan to hold part of the annual festival dedicated to St Cuthbert. The festival will begin on Friday, September 4, when John Grundy and Peter Ryder hope to give an online presentation along the lines of last year’s excellent event at St Cuthbert’s, Elsdon. This year the focus will be on St Cuthbert’s, Bellingham. A socially-distanced festival walk will go ahead on Saturday, September 5,when the local St Cuthbert’s Three-Church Trail will be inaugurated. The trail includes the improved cross-country route, including the new Smoutel Ford crossing, facilitated by Revitalising Redesdale. All are welcome to join all or any part of the guided walk which is about 14 miles long; there will be car back-up if anyone needs a lift en-route. Much of the walk is over rough grassland with some soft or rocky patches. Boots and a stick are recommended. The pandemic restrictions also mean the organisers are unable to offer free refreshments at the three St Cuthbert’s Churches. Participants should provide their own breakfast and tea and, if they wish, carry lunch. However, the Bay Horse at West Woodburn can provide individually boxed picnic lunches. If you would like a boxed picnic lunch, please contact the Rev Dr Susan Ramsaran on (01434) 220019 or by email at SMRamsaran@aol.com as soon as possible.


John Stewart

Heddon United FC proudly received notification from the Northumberland FA that they have been shortlisted for the FA grassroots club of the year award. This is a fantastic achievement for the club, just simply to be nominated. We would like to thank all club members for their hard work and support. The winner of the award will be announced week commencing Monday, August 24. I am also delighted to announce that club chairman Liam Duffy has been shortlisted for the FA grassroots coach of the year award.


Ian Warburton

Prudhoe Town Council will be reopening its office on Monday, August 3. For now, only those with prior appointments may visit the office. To make an appointment, please email info@prudhoetowncouncil.gov.uk or phone the clerk on (01661) 835487 / 07495 856624.

The town council is also interested in receiving comments from the public with regard to the continuing closure of the children’s play areas at Highfield Park, Castledene, Mickley and the Copse. Any comments can be submitted on email or by phone (see previous item) or by post to Prudhoe Town Council, Room 2.06, the Spetchells Centre, 58 Front St, Prudhoe NE42 5AA. Or you can contact your Ward Councillor.

Station Road will be closed in the area of the level crossing from Saturday, August 8 to Monday, August 10 from 10pm to 10am both days, to allow access to and egress from the site by a Road Rail Vehicle.

Ovingham & Ovington

Malcom Cairns

Susan and her Barber Bus will be be in Ovingham on Wednesday August, 5 from 2pm until 4pm at the usual spot in the White Swan car park. Haircuts are by appointment only, contact Susan on 07712 609057.

A mysterious appearance of a 30mph road sign in our lovely flower bed next to the old phone box raised concern recently. Looking totally out of place the sign just as quickly vanished after intervention from the parish council.Seems like NCC highways made a mistake.

Ovingham’s Garden in Bloom competition - judging will be taking place during the week ending Friday 14 with a decision on Saturday, August 15.There are three categories; large garden, small garden and best house frontage. Get in touch with the parish council if you would like to enter your Shangri-La. There is no entry fee and prizes will be awarded for each category. Get pruning and keep watering!

August 9, 2020 is Mary Sumner day when Mothers Union remember their founder. This year the occasion will be somewhat different with a night prayer zoom meeting. To join in or if you want to have an order of service sheet contact Anne Cairns (01661) 612640.


Herbie Newell

HUMSHAUGH calendar: Over 170 photographs from 26 contributors were received from which 13 were selected. Many thanks also to all those involved in Humshaugh Publications for undertaking this challenging task and for producing our very popular calendar each year.

CHURCH Fetes have been one of the many casualties of Covid; however, there will be a cakes, jams and produce stall on Simonburn Village Green this Saturday, August 1, from 11am until 2pm, in aid of St Mungo’s Church. All are very welcome.

ALTHOUGH our playing field and children’s play area are open again for use, provided Covid restrictions are followed, as always dogs must not be taken onto the field either on or off the lead.

VERY many thanks to Ryan Scott, Liesbeth and Roger Langford, and Val and Chris Harding, who braved inclement weather to tidy St Peter’s Churchyard.

IN line with Government guidelines, customers entering Humshaugh Village Shop must now wear a face mask. Volunteers serving behind the counter are not required to wear a mask. As is currently the case, only two customers should be in the shop at any one time.

COVID restrictions still apply to our Surgery and anyone needing medical help should either call (01434) 681281 or go online at http://humshaughandwarkmedical group.nhs.uk/ to arrange an appointment.

ST Peter’s remains open for Private Prayer between 9am and 6pm. Details of virtual church services are at www.achurchnearyou.com/16162 and on the St Peter’s Facebook page @HumshaughChurch.


Kelly Adshead

UNFORTUNATELY, Gunnerton Railway Club has cancelled its autumn 2020 meeting as a result of the of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on availability of venue and speakers. We will therefore not hold a meeting until March 2 2021, when Ed Orwin will be with us and start us on our journey through the history of the Blyth and Tyne Railway. I am delighted to confirm that the two speakers booked for September and October 2020 have agreed to move their talks to September & October 2021.


Jean Conteh

THERE’S a new activity beginning in Matfen village hall after it reopens on Saturday, August 1. It’s proggy mat making, a North-East tradition which seems to be ever-popular. If you’d like to find out more, such as the difference between hooky and proggy mats, and perhaps join the group which will be meeting on most Tuesday evenings, get in touch via the village email: matfenvillage@gmail.com.

DON’T forget to pop down to the village green this Saturday from 10.30am to join in the activities around the re-opening of the village hall, and have a look in the hall to see what has been done to make it safe for groups to use. If you want to enter some rainbow baking into the competition/raffle, please bring it by 10am. It can be anything from a cake to muffins, cookies, biscuits and more, as long as it has some rainbows of one kind or another.

Upper North Tyne

Sarah Hallberg

HARD to believe it’s nearly August already. The village hall is preparing for its reopening in September and is currently (somewhat hampered by the weather) being decorated outside so it looks smart and fresh for the new season. Obviously, Covid-19 restrictions mean there are some changes to the way that we are allowed to use the hall, but all precautions are being taken and there will be more news nearer the re-opening time.

THE next services at St Aidan’s, Thorneyburn, will be Parish Worship on Sunday, August 9 at 6pm and Communion on Sunday, August 23 in the afternoon. There is also a special service planned for St Aidan’s Day on Bank Holiday, Monday, August 31 – followed by a picnic (weather permitting).

AS always, please don’t forget to let me have details of anything you would like to see in the notes, especially as businesses and social activities are starting, cautiously, to resume. Just drop me an email by (latest) the Sunday evening before the Courant is printed on Thursdays. Email: saharagirl@btinternet.com


Julie Foster

A SCARECROW trail around Acomb parish is planned this summer with the theme of celebrating frontline key workers. All households are welcome to join in. Register your scarecrow by Saturday, August 8 by emailing action4acomb20@gmail.com or phoning (01434) 609567. You need to do this if you want others to find your scarecrow. Display your scarecrow week of Saturday, August 15, judging will take place on Saturday, August 22, and prizegiving on Sunday, August 23. Trail maps are available from Acomb Post Office from August 11 for a small charge. Funds will go towards the prizes. Join in the celebration.

THE parish newsletter is due to be distributed to all households any day soon.

THE zip wire in the playing field is broken and has been cordoned off for safety reasons. Please do not use. Repairs will be carried out soon.

WE are sad to announce that Joyce Weatherston passed away on Saturday, July 25 in Wansbeck Hospital after battling with cancer for several months. She had family with her and passed peacefully.


Birtley Nail

BELLINGHAM rocker Jason Arnup has released his debut single – and it’s a classic. His bluesy version of the Rolling Stones’ 1964 number one It’s All Over Now was launched on Sunday evening on ITunes and Spotify. The lockdown has been a difficult time for Jason, as he had just embarked on a career as a full time musician when the shutters went up. He has also been robbed of two big chances to showcase his talents with the cancellation of both Bellingham Show next month, and the Bellingham All Acoustic Festival in September, so he is hoping that the new single will keep him in the public eye. Jason said: “Many thanks to everyone who helped with my single, I am delighted with it. Huge thanks to Joe McNamee for producing the piece; he put in a lot of hard work so I can’t thank him enough. Huge thanks also to Paul Kelly Music, and Sharpe Music, for releasing the work, and to everyone else involved.”

MORE Bellingham businesses and attractions are easing themselves out of lockdown, with the Heritage Centre now open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week from 10am to 4pm. I hear the centre is always on the lookout for more volunteers to lend a hand, so if you have time to spare, just pop in to the station yard to offer your services.

AFTER many let downs with the supply of sanitising units and other equipment, the Cheviot was expecting to finally reopen on Tuesday.

A FILM crew was busy at the town hall and up Hareshaw Linn on Thursday, making a piece about babies and yoga for Cbeebies, which hopefully will be shown in September. Keep your eyes peeled.


Robin Piette

How about the BT fire in Newcastle on Thursday? Scary, losing both broadband and telephone at the same time – at first it seemed surprising that all one’s friends were on the phone!

Sunday August 2 from 2pm - 4pm, Wylam Community Orchard meets to do a little summer pruning.

To echo my Ovingham colleague, patients of our villages who are registered with Wylam Riversdale surgery have been informed that the premises were closed on July 31. The surgery will retain its name but has relocated to Oaklands Health Centre, at no. 01661 832287.

I see the Wylam Wagonway is going to be closed for resurfacing from August 10 to August 17 from the entrance at Stephenson’s Arms to Stephenson’s Cottage. Dogwalkers and cyclists take note!

Allen Valleys

Robert Philipson

Joanne Sutterby, in her role as chairwoman of Allendale Pre-school committee would like to thank everyone for their fantastic support during this difficult summer. To date almost £5,000 has so far been raised through the Calor Community Fund crowd funder for the new outdoor green space at pre-school. This organisation is a registered charity and needs a committee to run it. This hard working committee is looking for a treasurer to replace its existing one who is stepping down at the end of August. The role currently includes completing payroll and HMRC payments, banking and paying of invoices. Liaising with their accountant, producing annual accounts and inputting data to a software system as well as overseeing the pre-school site- dealing with matters such as IT support, insurance, utility bills and fire extinguishers. The successful volunteer would need to complete a full DBS enhanced disclosure and an Ofsted EY2 declaration. If anyone wishes for more information or feel they or someone they know can fulfil this role and help a very worthwhile and important organisation please email allendalepreschool@googlemail.com

Following the success of their trial days in July, Allendale Forge studios are opening an extra day. From Tuesday, August, the whole building (including the upstairs) will be open from 10am to 4pm Friday to Monday inclusive. A big thank you to those who have come to the café, the café gallery and shop. They have really appreciated your support.

The Elks Head at Whitfield will be reopening from Friday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime inclusive from Friday, August 14, and accommodation will be available to book on Friday and Saturday night.

B4AV has gone live. B4RN engineers were in the valley last week putting the final touches to the first few community broadband service connections. It had an impressive download speed of 703.35 Mbps and an upload speed of 947.2 Mbps. More connections to come.

Please send any contributions for these notes to robert.philipson@btconnect.com or telephone (01434) 685266 and the deadline is Sunday 6pm.