The latest news from your town or village.

Bardon Mill

Bob & Mike Ducker

Quoits has come back for friendlies before the league proper starts next week: both the Bowes Bombers and Bowes Lions will be back in action on the green on Wednesdays at 7.30. Get a drink from the Bowes and watch the match.

The swifts are back too - but has anyone heard a cuckoo this year? – we haven’t, so tell us on if we can finally class this as the summery half of the year. The weather doesn’t know. But holidaymakers are back in the local guesthouses and holiday lets which is such a relief for many. The days of eerily quiet roads are definitely long gone.

Last week we successfully used the AD122 bus for hopping between Vindolanda and various cafes as far away as Chesters, plus we managed to do a Hexham shop at the end of the day on a £10 day ticket so you are very much encouraged to try similar! We will next be testing out the Green Croft on the Wall sound trail.

Henshaw Nursey raised £163 in last week’s prize draw. More local fundraisers to come including the all-conquering scarecrow trail on August 15th.

It’s the season of daft lambs stuck in fences or loose on the road – sometimes I think they have more adventures than we do. And local businesses with new job opportunities include both Vindolanda and Errington Reay this week. Meanwhile the list of free items advertised to share locally has included turf, furniture, garden equipment, seed potatoes, plus a whole variety of home-grown veg plants at Bridge Cottage.


Robin Piette

The riverbank is collapsing and putting Tom & Joe’s and 2 homes at risk of collapse. The council are dragging their feet. Something needs doing urgently. The local petition has not attracted very many signatures, considering Tom & Joe’s is a great family business in Wylam for so many years. Please take a minute to sign and tell your friends.

The Co-op are looking for applications for this year’s community funding. If your project helps people access food, improves mental wellbeing or provides opportunities for young people, apply by midnight on 30th May on

On 25th May there’s a virtual concert at the Library with local singer/songwriter Jackie Davidson. Jackie's latest album, Northumbrian and Proud, is a celebration of the culture and history of our county, inspired by real historical events and his own personal history. You can book for this virtual event on Eventbrite -

The family of John Peace, painter, are trying to locate his paintings for an exhibition. Do you have one, or know of anyone with one? Let them know on

There’s a Hermes parcel scam going around, asking you to pay for delivery. If you get an email like that, report it to Action Fraud – UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime 0300 123 2040.

Still time to support Alison Malcolm and Marion Cassidy doing the 300 mile in a month Cycle Challenge to celebrate their 70th Birthdays, in aid of Cancer Research and looking for sponsorship.

Ovingham & Ovington

Malcolm Cairns

The Reading Room toddler group is proving very popular, now running two sessions a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. Due to the high demand a booking system is in place. Details can be found on their facebook page.

Ovingham Community Orchard are on the lookout for folk to participate in their 2021 wildlife survey. All age groups from Ham and Ton are invited to record sightings of birds, butterflies and mammals over the coming year. The results will give an indication of how numbers could be affected by climate change etc. "Spotting Forms" can be downloaded from their website in the our documents section. Their recent dawn chorus gathering identified blackbirds,song thrush, chiff-chaff, great tit, collared dove, dunnock, wren and of course the screeching of one of the local peacocks.

Today , Thursday the 13th of May is Ascension Day and the Rev. Tom Birch will be live streaming a service from Wylam at 9.30am. This can be viewed on St Oswins and St Marys facebook page. Dont worry if you miss it as it will be saved on the page.


Emma Anderson

The Rede, Tyne and Coquet Sports & Leisure Centre, Otterburn, has announced details of two activities commencing next week. The Table Tennis Club reopens on Monday, May 17 with a guest coach. Juniors, aged 9 to 17, will play between 6pm and 7pm. Seniors, aged 18 and older, follow between 7.30pm and 9pm. Everyone is welcome; no experience is necessary. Tai Chi training will take place on Wednesdays between 10.30am and 11.30am, starting with a free taster session on Wednesday, May 19. The blocks of six, weekly, hour-long training sessions are for adults aged 18 and over. Experienced participants and beginners are welcome. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and flat soled shoes or indoor, non-marking trainers. Please register your interest for either of these activities by emailing For further information, please visit


Julie Foster

The Annual General Meeting of Acomb Parish Council will be held at 7pm on Wednesday 19th May 2021. The meeting will be held in Acomb Village Hall, as dictated by the current legislation. Residents wishing to attend should note that the meeting will be socially distanced, with other Covid-19 requirements in place. This may cause public attendance numbers to be limited. Any questions to the Parish Council, from residents, should be submitted to the Parish Clerk ( or 01434 634397) at least 48 hours before the meeting.


Ruth Marlee

Finding myself looking for inspiration for these notes, I spotted our local litter picking heroine diligently bagging litter that had collected in the odd-shaped brick building close to Whitley Chapel School. Despite the entrance having been blocked up many times over the years, unscrupulous individuals have dumped rubbish inside this tiny building making her job most unsavoury.

There is some local confusion over the building’s history; some say an air raid shelter, others a storage for ammunition. Slaley have looked into the history of their similar building and suggest it was built by the Home Guard at the onset of WW2 to store weapons to use if the area was invaded. Apparently, these consisted mainly of bottles of fuel sealed with rags, and sharpened wooden staffs. Other information has suggested all schools were required to have air raid facilities, and the brick building was Whitley Chapel School’s planned retreat, if needed.

There have been suggestions that rather than just clean out our building, it should be knocked down. However, going with the view that we must never forget the courage and sacrifices during these awful periods of our history, surely this little brick structure standing neatly in nobody’s way, is a rather appropriate reminder that Hexhamshire was prepared to play its part in every way it could.

Rather pleasingly, the new community effort to clear it out and fit another secure barrier, has ensured our little memorial can stand proud for a while longer.

Another lovely addition to the ‘Shire is the set of new church gates. I suspect Will Chalmers who works at Langley Furniture Works has something to do with them. Nice job!

Please send new contributions for Community News to by the Friday before publication.

Allen Valleys

Robert Philipson

It is good news that Allendale library is now open on a Thursday 10am-1pm and 1 30pm-4 30pm. This is an important facility so please use it and pop in to see what they have on offer.

With summer coming up why not get your young children involved in cricket at Allendale by joining Get into Cricket with All Stars. All Stars Cricket provides fun for boys and girls from 5 to 8years old with 8 weeks of non-stop fun. The activity and game based programme is suitable for all skill levels, providing your child with the foundations to begin a lifelong love of physical activity and cricket, while making friends in a safe and enjoyable environment. The course runs from Friday 21st May till Friday 9th July 18 00 to 18 45 and costs £40. Apply via Allendale Cricket Club website or phone 07965 999802.

Don’t forget that The Allendale Forge has started exhibitions of work with the present one during May a poignant reflection on the artist’s experience of Lockdown and the reasons for the various works produced during this time. Next month the exhibition is Double Vision by husband and wife Alan and Mary Hayward, Alan a photographer and Mary a painter. More information nearer the time.

Allendale will be busier than normal over the next few days with Vera being filmed in the locality but this series attracts a lot of viewers around the country and any publicity that will help the hard pressed tourist industry in our area will be welcome.

Please send any contributions to his column for next week by Sunday 6pm and sent to or telephone 01434 685266.


Maurice Holliday

The AGM of Horsley Parish Council will take place in the WI hall at 7pm on Monday May 17th. The bi monthly meeting will follow on after the AGM. Please contact the parish clerk if you have any items to place on the agenda of either meeting. It is unclear at present if there will be restrictions on the number of people able to attend. Best to check parish website or notice boards nearer the time for up to date information.

Horsley gardening club members continue to meet every Saturday at 10am in the field behind the Lion and Lamb with the kind permission of new tenants.

The Hearth cafe has expanded its undercover outdoor seating area by using spaces in the rear garden. From Tuesday May 18th visitors may be able to use the inside of the cafe with opening times being extended to 4pm. However much still depends on the success of the government road map. From May 24th the cafe will be open seven days per week. During lockdown the cafe was closed on a Monday.

Landowners, local councils and individuals in Horsley are being encouraged by the Woodland Trust to plant native trees this autumn. Felling in Horsley Wood and in other parts of the parish has greatly reduced the number of trees at a time when the country as a whole needs more trees to support wildlife and improve the quality of air. As a local community we could play our part and highlight suitable areas around the parish to support this initiative. Nearby parishes have already planted numerous trees through a variety of other programmes.

Ornithologists would have been surprised last week by the presence of a white feathered heron sheltering in the field adjoining Hopside farm.

Horsley Book Club members have agreed to meet at the Hearth cafe on a monthly basis. Meetings will take place during the afternoon on the first Friday of each month. The June meeting will feature a book swap.


Birtley Nail

Tory John Riddle was safely returned as the North Tyne and Redesdale’s man at County Hall in last week;s county council elections. The Blakelaw farmer secured a 520 vote majority over his nearest rival, Liberal Democrat Kevin Smith, for the Bellingham seat, but the turnout was under 46 per cent of those entitled to vote. Labour’s Anne Palmer was third with 246 votes.

A major facelift at Bellingham Cemetery is gathering pace, with a thorough clean up of the far end of the burial ground just completed by Otterburn contractor Chris Mowatt. The area has been levelled, and surplus soil removed, with a new walled area created for the storage of soil from grave digging. The footpaths have been cleared, the exterior fences repainted, and walls repaired as part of an ambitious Bellingham Parish Council improvement scheme. And now the parish council is seeking the co-operation of villagers to keep the cemetery in tip top shape. Mourners are being encouraged to put their dead flowers, grass cuttings and discarded wreaths into the bins provided at the cemetery entrance rather than dumping them at the newly tidied areas, as well as removing their Christmas wreaths in reasonable time.

Accountants have the reputation of being somewhat dull and stodgy, but not so those involved with Bellingham’s TyneRede accountancy practice. For on June 11 the entire team is taking to the road for 24 hours non stop to walk from the business headquarters at Lloyds Bank House in the village to Hesleyside Hall to raise money for mental health charity MIND. The trek is being undertaken to recognise the huge impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the nation’s mental health. The route was chosen because many local people walked it during the lockdowns, and organisers are hoping that local businesses, organisations, groups and residents will join in with us for a stint on the road. You can donate via a Just Giving page The walk will begin at 4pm on Friday, June 11 and finish at 4pm on the Saturday.