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


Helen Savage

We should have been all geared up for Slaley Show on Saturday, but all is not quite lost this year – a virtual show will take place on the show’s Facebook page. Just photograph your entries (together with a Slaley Show Logo 2020 card) and upload them. You’ll need to decide which classes to enter – but all the details are there. You can win rosettes and free admission to next year’s show. You have until September 1 to post your entries. But even if you don’t want to enter, do have a look. It’s great!

I’ve agreed to host a wine another tasting on Thursday, August 13, via Zoom – with two wines specially ordered through Slaley Shop. The idea is simple and already tried and very successfully tested – buy the wine, join the meeting at a set time and I’ll guide you through the wines as we taste them together and I’ll suggest food pairings too. If you think it sounds like fun, please contact me helensavage1@gmail.com and I’ll send you full details. Last month we had two ‘sittings’ at 5pm and 8pm. We’ll do the same this time.

Our short acts of outdoor worship at St Mary’s Slaley in the gorgeous churchyard extension behind the church, beside the wildflower meadow, have proved popular, so we’ll continue them every week at 10am as long as the weather allows. Streamed services also continue on our Moorland Churches Facebook page, every Sunday, along with Wednesday’s ‘thought for the day’.


Ian Warburton

A yard sale will be hosted by Redbrick House in the alleyway adjacent to Ginevra Restaurant, Front St, on Friday, August 7, running from 10am to 4pm. All proceeds will be used to add to the Residents’ Fund. Please observe social distancing at this event.

It’s good to note that some of our attractions are reopening. Particular mention should be made of Prudhoe Castle and Eastwoods Park, which should have reopened by the time you read this. Also, the work on the Riverside Playground should be completed in the next few days. If you’re visiting these areas, please remember that social distancing and frequent washing of hands should still be observed.

Look what’s coming to a woodland near you – a new bushcraft youth club for young people aged 14 to 19, which will run at Dukes Hagg Wood, Moor Rd, Prudhoe, from 5pm to 7pm each Wednesday, commencing September 23. Learn new skills, hang out with like-minded people, share food and ideas, relax in a hammock, cook on an open fire, whittle and create art using natural materials—all at your own pace in your own way. Please book your space on stomping-grounds.org/book or phone/text Sophie on 07950 118816.


Emma Anderson

THE next collection in aid of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) takes place on Wednesday, September 9. A GNAAS van will be parked outside Otterburn Memorial Hall between 10am and 1pm only. The hall will not be open. Items should be securely tied and put straight into van. Elsewhere, there will be collections at Byrness between 11.30am and 12.15pm, Rochester between 12.30pm and 1pm, and Kirkwhelpington between 10am and 10.45am. No official GNAAS bags will be delivered but any suitable bags will be accepted. Mobile phones and printer cartridges should be bagged separately. Books, CDs and DVDs are accepted and should also be bagged separately. Please note that jewellery, ornaments and bric-a-brac are not acceptable.

OTTERBURN has been the victim of flooding three times in the past year and the parish council, together with the Environment Agency, is calling on local people to play their part by registering to volunteer as a flood warden. Flood wardens are the eyes and ears on the ground, they act as a link between the Environment Agency and communities at risk, getting vital information out to local residents and ensuring the local flood plan can be used effectively in the event of flooding. The role is not time-consuming, requiring your support only when flooding is possible and ensuring the plan remains up-to-date. If volunteering interests you, please contact Otterburn Parish Council at otterburnpc@hotmail.co.uk


Jean Conteh

IF you were out and about in Matfen on Saturday, you could not have missed that there was something going on with cakes. There was a gazebo on the green selling coffee and a range of delicious home-made cakes, and over in the hall there was a magnificent display of rainbow-themed bakes. It was all to celebrate the reopening of the village hall following Covid-19 regulations. In the hall, the month of August is being given over to mindfulness and wellbeing, with a whole range of new sessions to try out, including different types of yoga, crafting and a ‘men’s shed’ event. There’ll also be an osteopath talking about self care and posture, a horsewoman sharing her skills, and more. Look on the village Facebook page or email matfen village@gmail.com for more information and to sign up for taster sessions. Hurry, as places are going fast. Regular hall sessions, including Susan the Barber, karate and zumba, will be back in September.

The committee wishes to express thanks to everyone who supported the reopening day, in many different ways, including Ian and Tracey in the shop who had rainbow-themed buns on sale and Marshall at the Black Bull, who donated vouchers to the raffle. One outcome of the effort put in was that the committee raised around £100 as a donation to Tynedale Hospice at Home.

Allen Valleys

Robert Philipson

The new normality, whatever that may be, takes a step forward with the return of the Allen Valley and Kings Head Leek Club Bingo on Sunday, August 9. Venue is the Kings Head, with start time of 8pm.

We may be having another taste of summer at the moment, but it was less than a fortnight ago we were on our quads gathering the fell sheep for shearing and having to wear a hat, thick coat and gloves. With that in mind don’t be caught out and take advantage of the Allen Valleys Oil Buying Co-operative service for buying oil. The deadline for an August delivery is noon on Tuesday, August 11. Telephone (01434) 683334 or email oilorderfawside@gmail.com

It seems to have been a good summer for hedgehogs in the Allen Valleys this year. There have been a number of photos of the young on their travels on social sites and not only have we seen a number of young on Broad Gate Farm but a nest of young hedgehogs was discovered in the shelter of some big bales of straw in the barn.

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


Rob Tindall

THE schedules are being printed but some doubt remains as to whether the Parish Produce Show can take place on September 12. The committee is currently trying to produce protocols and procedures for the day using the Town Hall risk assessment documentation as a starting point. The committee will meet the week beginning August 10 to make a final decision as to whether to hold the event.

THE holding of the first Holy Communion service in St Michael’s, in Warden, coincided with my reading of a review of a book called ‘The Good Sharps’ which is based on a late 18th century portrait of 13 members of the Sharp family, which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. The subjects are the eight children of Archdeacon Sharp and their progeny. It was the same archdeacon who conducted a visitation to St Michael’s in 1723 and found it in a most unsatisfactory state. This isn’t surprising since in 1681 the churchwardens reported the building to be ruinous and the windows unglazed. Strangely, no action seems to have been taken following Sharp’s report as in 1759 a successor, Archdeacon Robinson, reported it as being in very poor condition. Aided by a donation from the Blackett family, the church was almost completely rebuilt in 1765 and it was evident from Sunday’s visit that much greater care has been taken of the building since then.

THE next service in the parish will be Holy Communion in St Peter’s, in Newbrough, on August 16 at 9.30 am.


Kelly Adshead

OCCASIONAL services are to be held within the Chollerton Benefice, following consultation with the Rev. Sarah Lunn in consultation with fellow clergy and church wardens. They will take place on Sunday, August 13, with holy communion at 10am at St Giles’ Chollerton; and Thursday, August 20, holy communion at 10am, St Christopher Gunnerton. There will also be a holy communion at 8.30am on Sunday, August 23. In addition, services will continue via Zoom at 10am each Sunday. Please note that a mask should be worn if attending any of the above services and social distancing measures must be observed at all times. There will be no music or singing.


Herbie Newell

Further to last week’s note thanking volunteers for their sterling work on clearing St Peter’s Churchyard, special thanks are also due to Liz Campbell for initiating the task and to all who have been involved in any capacity.

Although house moves have been depressed by the Covid-19 pandemic, some new residents have joined us recently and Humshaugh is very pleased to welcome new occupants at East Farm into our community.

The easing of Covid restrictions now allow those classed as vulnerable to be out and about again. As we hear on the news Covid-19 is still with us, and residents are asked to observe social-distancing and hygiene rules. Excess UK deaths over the last six months are now approaching the total UK civilian death toll in World War II, and every effort must be made to prevent further infections.

Following on from the recent Humshaugh Carbon Footprint Household Survey, the first Humshaugh Net Zero newsletter is now available in the Village Shop or by email from action@humshaughnetzero.org.

Real church services are starting this week, in addition to those online at 10am every Sunday which will continue through August and September; details at www.achurchnearyou.com/16162 and on the St. Peter’s Facebook page @HumshaughChurch.

Holy Communion services for the first week include Sunday, August 9 from 8.30/9am at Thockrington and Sunday, August 9 at 6pm in Wark. When in Church social-distancing rules and guidance from Church Wardens must be followed. St Peter’s remains open for Private Prayer between 9am and 6pm.


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 telephone (01434) 609567. You need to do this if you want others to find your scarecrow. Display your scarecrow week of Saturday, August 15, judging on Saturday, August 22, prize giving on Sunday, August 23. Trail maps are available from Acomb Post Office from August 11 for a small amount, funds will go towards the prizes. Join in the celebration!

Riding Mill

Pam Pryor

Catherine Harrison, parish council clerk, and Suzanne Barker, manager of our village halls, have kindly updated me on support still being offered to help residents. As you know, Suzanne has been manning the village assistance number since lockdown, but she is now back at work full-time at the parish hall as activities start to increase. You can still call this number but it’s likely you will need to leave a message which Suzanne will pick up at various times during the day and get back to you. Many volunteers have gone back to work so services are more limited but still available such as assistance with shopping and the collection of prescriptions on Friday mornings. Please call or email Suzanne to let her know there is a prescription to collect. You should all have the contact details. Also, the meal service will continue during August for those who have previously used the service. Those customers will receive correspondence directly in this regard.

As mentioned last week, the parish hall cafe has reopened on Monday mornings only from 10am until noon. A reminder that the menu has changed a little and a voucher system has been introduced to minimise the handling of cash. Six vouchers can be purchased for £20 or one voucher for £3.50. Each voucher can be used for two items eg a drink and a scone/teacake etc or two drinks. Our thanks to the five volunteers who enable the café to open each session. You are stars.

Ovingham & Ovington

Malcolm Cairns.

IN these strange and trying times, it is nice to see the generosity and kindness displayed by our residents. One such gesture taken up in our villages is the giving away of children’s toys, books, clothes and even cars spares, building and garden supplies. Tidily displayed outside homes inviting people to help themselves, such a positive act in this uncertain period.

SUNDAY church services continue online at 10am on St Mary’s and St Oswin’s Facebook page. St Mary’s Church is open for private prayer on Thursday’s 6pm until 7pm, Sunday’s 2pm until 3pm and for Sunday evensong 3pm to 4pm. Social distancing measures are in place.

OVINGHAM ‘Garden in Bloom’ competition: if you wish to enter your garden in any of the three categories (large, small or house frontage), contact me (01661) 612640 or email. cairnsmalcolm@yahoo.co.uk to register. Judging is in the second week of August, winners will be announced on Saturday15. Free to enter.

AND finally, unless we are directed otherwise by the Ministry of Transport, we will continue to drive on the left side of the road. This especially applies to the Ovingham-Wylam riverside stretch, where several mishaps have recently occurred due to drivers coming around bends straddling the white line or even on the wrong side of the road. Be careful! be aware! keep left! you don’t know what awaits around the corner.

Upper North Tyne

Sarah Hallberg

ON Wednesday, September 9, the next Great North Air Ambulance collection will take place at venues across the district _ Falstone from 10am to 10.45am, and Tarset from 11am to 11.45am. For this collection, GNAA will not be able to use buildings due to Covid-19 restrictions, so at each venue, a GNAA vehicle will be parked outside so that all bags can be put directly into the van. Unlike normal collections, you will not be able to drop your items off in advance. Please make sure you bring your items with you to the venues only during the time slot stated. If you can’t make the slot or miss it, you will need to take your bags home with you this time and keep them until the next collection - there are no storage facilities available. The timings are obviously very important for this collection. Another thing to note is that because of the risks, no official bags will be distributed for this collection. Please put clothing/fabrics into any adequate bag. Books should be put in separate bags/boxes, as should mobile phones, CDs, cassettes, and print cartridges. All bags should be tied securely to avoid any spillage.

A QUICK reminder that a parish worship service will take place at St. Aidan’s, Thorneyburn, at 6pm on Sunday.


Birtley Nail

WITH foreign holidays out of the question for many people, there have seldom been more tourists knocking about the village as there have been this past few days. Caravanners are back in large numbers, and the Boe Rigg campsite at Charlton could not be fuller.

The Fountain Cottage tea rooms are doing a roaring trade, and the Rose and Crown has been granted formal permission to extend its normal sphere of operations to the cable reel tables in Manchester Square, to assist with social distancing.

AFTER being closed since March 20 because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Bellingham Town Hall is once again open for business. There are some Covid-19 restrictions in place, with a one way system in force, and lots of sanitising equipment available, but there is nowhere better in the North Tyne to hold your meetings or events. Since lockdown was eased, the hall has already played host to a film crew making a programme for the CBeebies television channel, which goes out in September, as well as welcoming the first session of a new Monday night Thai boxing and martial arts club. The hall soon hopes to be welcoming back regular Age UK fitness classes, pilates, taekwondo and bingo sessions and a myriad other attractions. Anyone wishing to book the hall should contact the bookings clerk on (01434) 220471. There were presentations at the latest town hall meeting to long serving committee member Ken Gaskin, who has stood down, and to the committee clerk Monica Tasker, who has also resigned. The new clerk is Lesley Allen from Reedswood.


Maurice Holliday

HORSLEY Village Church held an outdoor service in a private garden on July 26. This was the first church service to be held in Horsley since March. Those who attended enjoyed meeting again after so long. It is 280 years since the Wesley brothers preached in Horsley and over 350 years since Congregationalism put Horsley at the centre of religious change after the Act of Uniformity in 1662. The present church building dates from 1900 and was built in the Gothic style of architecture.

AFTER 16 memorable years of Singing Babies and Squeaky Feet at the Hearth arts centre, these activities have been retired by Louise - their organiser. Many thanks to Louise for the support she has given to the Hearth and so many local families with young children.

THERE are now ten scarecrows around the village with the appearance of a live one last week. The garden club would like to thank all those taking part.

MY report about the new gate on the old A69 near Whittle bridge was incorrect. The gate was kindly provided by Roger Dinning, of Whittle farm, and not NCC countryside team. This is a generous gift by Roger to improve access for all. I feel sure the gesture will be appreciated by cyclists and walkers alike.

THE two rights of way at the foot of Horsley hills leading to Northside are completely overgrown and difficult to access. The problem was reported to the countryside team who have placed both paths on their summer cutting programme from 2021.

SADLY, the Wright Bros. summer bus service to Keswick has had to be cancelled. This is due to major road improvements over Hartside pass.


Robin Piette

There was an Orchard Session last Sunday, August 2. Jobs included summer pruning of the trees, planting wild flower plugs and weeding under the trees. Next session is Sunday, August 16, from 2pm to 4pm. If you would like to have a go at pruning, please bring your own secateurs. Everyone is welcome, including accompanied children. Please bring your own tools, gloves and sanitiser. At the session on Sunday, July 19, work carried out (by socially distanced volunteers) included weeding under the fruit trees, planting wildflower plugs, mowing paths through the meadow, checking the apple and plum trees and burning winter prunings. Many thanks to all.

From the Guardian newspaper: “Staycation drinks: a tour of British tipples - from a Suffolk cider to a gin in Northumberland and a selection of malts, here’s some of the best bottles that Britain has to offer. The superb Newcastle craft brewers, Wylam, known for their intense IPAs, but in Wylam Gold English Golden Ale (wylambrewery.co.uk) they have a classic, clean, crisp summery thirst-quenching golden ale which hits several spots.”

The Coffee Tree has an excellent offer on from Monday, August 3. They have joined the ‘Eat Out to Help Out Scheme’, which means 50 per cent off food & drinks (non-alcoholic)! up to a limit per person throughout August, Monday-Wednesdays only. Also on the same scheme, a very good offer from the Ship.

A friend of Kate Williams (Jools) says her friend Rachel Fitzgerald wrote last Sunday: “My husband was knocked off his bike yesterday on Station Road leading to Crawcrook Lane. It happened at approximately 11.40am. There were cars behind so was wondering if anyone would be able to come forward as a witness to the incident?”

Some classes are returning to the Institute – praise be!