WE ARE looking back to the Hexham Spring Festival in 2016 that celebrated the 'English way of life'.

Thousands turned up to the festivities that celebrated everything 'English' ahead of St George's Day, which is on April 23.

Many enjoyed watching the dancers, the music and food, and a plethora of purveyors of traditional skills on show. 

One key member of the additional St George’s Day parade, comprising 200 or so Scouts and Brownies, almost missed his entrance – the dragon that had been carefully crafted by 5th Hexham Abbey Brownies.

At the time of the event, leader Cath Homer said: “It didn’t fit in the car, so we had to get a willing volunteer with a pick-up.”

That sorted, George and his nemesis did indeed join the 400-strong contingent of visiting Scouts and the members of the town’s four Brownie troops for the parade. The destination for the human element was a St George’s Day service in Hexham Abbey.

In the Abbey Grounds, the bank of stalls promoting traditional skills included one run by the Northumbria Branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association and another by Slaley’s Ladycross Quarry. The latter had supplied the stone to both the former and a social enterprise business, Lithic Fire, it was playing host to.

Among those flying the flag for the region’s food producers were The Travelling Bee Company, which continues to keep hives in locations as diverse as Gateshead, Bywell and Argyll.

During the day, Stephen Laidlow, formerly of Hexham and Corbridge bakery firm Nichol and Laidlow, was garnering consumer reaction to the new line of flavoured nuts and biscuits that he produced under the branding of The Northumbrian Bakehouse.

Meanwhile, over on Beaumont Street was a long run of vintage vehicles that marked out the decades that together symbolised the 150th anniversary this year of the building of Hexham’s architectural treasure.

The Hexham Mayor at the time Coun. Trevor Cessford also gave an address from the Bandstand that signalled the start of the summer-long celebrations planned and car enthusiasts enjoyed what was the first of them.