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Round-up of north Northumberland clubs and societies.


ROCK GARDEN CLUB: The next meeting of the North Northumberland Rock Garden Group will be on Wednesday, December 5 when the speaker will be Ian Young from Aberdeen. His talk is entitled “Off the Wall”. The meeting will be held at the Community Club, West Street, Belford at 2.15pm. Mulled wine and Mince pies will round off the afternoon. New members welcome.


Civic society: The civic society met to hear a talk by Canon Christopher Smith entitled ‘Sermons in Stone’ and was treated to an enlightening account of church building traits and their significance. Canon Smith’s thesis was that much could be learnt from the shape and style of a building and how its occupants planned to reflect and conduct themselves. Among the examples he gave were that of the Quaker Meeting House, its lack of any outward religious show marking an expression of purity and unity; the medieval church with a nave far larger than its neighbouring population could fill in order to accommodate a variety of activity; then there was the Methodist Hall which might have seats a good deal more comfortable than pews to hear the word. A look inside the parish church revealed what probably few of us had known - that it was originally built on a north-south alignment. The expertise was dispensed with warmth and enthusiasm.

border archaeological society: The next meeting of Border Archaeological Society is on Monday, December 3 at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre, the Parade, Berwick. Speaker for the evening is Dr Andrea Dolfini who studied at Graduate, Post-graduate and PhD level in Milan and Cambridge. He is currently Lecturer in Later Prehistory at Newcastle University and he will be delivering a lecture entitled “The Origins of Metallurgy in Europe: New Insights from Italy”. The subject matter has been one of hot debate for decades and of course excites the interest not only of archaeologists and historians but chemists, geologists, artists and really anyone with a lively and curious mind! Come along to what is sure to be an engrossing talk! Everyone is welcome with free admission to members and a £2 entry fee for visitors.

trefoil guild: Chairman Wilma Stead welcomed members to their November meeting. The Trefoil Prayer was said, and apologies were received and minutes of the previous meeting were read, approved and signed. The guest speakers for the evening were Margaret and Gary of Far and Near Images. They showed beautiful slides of the Scottish Islands and accompanied them with an excellent commentary. Vote of thanks for a most interesting and enjoyable evening was given by Mary Main. The Christmas Dinner will be held on Friday December 14 at the Rob Roy at 7pm sharp. Pre-orders and deposits were collected. Names were also taken for the visit to the pantomime on Saturday January 26 and also for a pre-show meal. For the January meeting a Burns Supper was planned and this will be organised by Jean Elliott. Each member to wear tartan. Refreshments were served and the singing of taps brought an enjoyable evening to a close.

WI: Sheila Cassidy greeted members and WIA Julia Davidson to the November annual meeting. Jerusalem was sun and minutes of the last meeting read and approved. The Millenium bench has at last had the plaque replaced. Business was discussed and the future of Denman House aired - a lot to consider. The treasurer and secetary gave their annual reports and Mrs Davidson presided over the voting - Sheila Cassidy will be president with Joy Lamb taking over from long-serving Evelyn Smith as secretary. Rea Robinson will be treasurer, Jackie Hamblett remains as social secretary. Committee members will be Jennifer Atkiknson, Evelyn Smith and Margaret Wood. Afternoon tea was much enjoyed and raffle drawn, Julia Davidson judged the silver item which was won by Margaret Wood with a lovely old silver locket, Joy Lamb second with a very attractive bracelet. Our December meeting on 12th is a “Meet the Members”, so please bring a friend - and a dice, if you have one - for the beetle drive. Competition is for a gold item. Meeting starts at 1.30pm, so do come along. Hope to see you there.

ROTARY CLUB: The excellent service provided for the community by Abbeyfield House in Berwick was stressed by its chairman, Marjorie Hardie. She predicted that in the future, sites at Bankhill in Berwick, Bamburgh and Warkworth could be replaced by one large centre. She doubted future generations would opt for the present bedsits. There are vacancies at present in Berwick where facilities and rooms cost around £1,200 a month. Abbeyfield, for which Berwick Rotary Club played a fundamental role in its foundation, is a charity with 500 houses and 80 care homes in the country. Residents are able to enjoy themselves supported by trained staff. Mrs Hardie urged rotary to promote Bankhill and visit it. Their help as volunteers would also be much appreciated.

PROBUS CLUB: The collection of seeds for the impressive arboretum at Howick Hall has given Robert Jamieson, head gardener, the opportunity to travel the world. He gave Probus Club members an insight into one section of his work when he was guest speaker. After employment in Aberdeen and Paisley, he moved to the north Northumberland estate where the hall, a charity trust, is a visitor attraction. The arboretum started in 1985, extends over 100 acres and has 12,500 species. Mr Jamieson showed slides of the hall and gardens where it is hoped to open a visitor centre next year.

U3A: On December 3, we are holding our Christmas festivities in St Aidan’s Hall at 10am when the U3A Singers are going to entertain with songs and Christmas carols. There will also be a Xmas Quiz. Members can donate a minimum of 50p for tea/coffee and eats. Christmas lunch is on Thursday, December 20 in the Black & Gold Club and treasurer, Mary Patterson must have all the names of those who wish to go by the end of this month. You can get a menu to print out on our website. At the last meeting of the ‘Music to Enjoy’ group the theme was ballads which was a very interesting programme. This was presented by Gordon and included ‘Me and Rose’ written and sung by Christy Moore; The Battle of Harlow, in 1411, sung by Jeannie Robertson; Well of St Keyne sung by Brenda Woolton and Barbara Dickson singing Ballad of Springhill. The ballads were discussed later over a cup of tea. Members and non members can check up the majority of our activities, and details of group leaders to contact, on www.berwicku3a.org.uk.

ART GROUP: Berwick Art Group held a sale of original paintings, sculpture, cards, knitwear and prints and raised a total of £300 for Macmillan Nurses. The sale was held at the Bon Marche shop, Marygate, from November 10-17. A very big thank you must go to manageress, Margaret Scott and the staff of Bon Marche. Thanks must also go to Tesco and Morrison’s supermarkets who contributed towards a splendid Christmas hamper which was designed and put together by Norma Wajzner, an art group member, as a raffle prize. The raffle was won by Margaret Baptie of Wooler.

st andrews wallce green: Today, November 29, the Work Party meets at 1.30pm for the final time in 2012. Choir practice as usual at 6pm. The prayer group meet at 9.30am on Saturday, December 1 and there are Communion Services at St Andrew’s Wallace Green at 11am and 6pm on Sunday, December 2, but no services at Lowick this week. Carpet Bowls are at 1.45pm on Monday, December 3. St Andrew’s Wallace Green will be providing a local Christmas card delivery service again with collections starting from December 6. The annual Berwick Male Voice Choir Christmas concert will be on Wednesday, December 12. More details can be found at www.sawg.org.uk

FRIDAY LIVE: FridayLIVE – Advent Praise Friday, November 30 at 7.30pm at Berwick Methodist Church, Walkergate. Advent is the Expectant Waiting, Hopeful Anticipation and Cheerful Preparation of God Breaking Into Our Lives. Please come and join us. All are welcome to this Lively, Contemporary and Informal worship.

Xmas fair: Berwick Middle School is holding a Christmas fair on Thursday, December 6 from 3pm-5pm. There will be a wide variety of stalls, refreshments, raffle, carols and there is sure to be a great atmosphere. Everyone welcome.


parish council: Parish magazine – currently parishioners must subscribe to receive this publication; the aim is to have it delivered to every household in the parish free of charge. Parish Council, Community Trust and Parochial Church Council looking to collaborate on this. Mr Mundy attended a Community Forum where Broadband was also on the agenda. The clear message was that unless there is a demand from residents and businesses the money being spent on improving broadband will be spent elsewhere. Parish Council in conjunction with Community Trust have prepared a letter to be delivered regarding this to all households in parish, encouraging residents to register their support for the campaign, and the Parish Council resolved to support this initiative. Regarding budget for 2013/14, it was confirmed that there will not be an increase in council tax and that services to the elderly and children will not be cut, although funding for these services mean savings will have to be found elsewhere. The Community Trust questionnaire was distributed to all parishioners so their opinions could be used to inform the trust what the community as a whole felt was important to them. This in turn would assist in decisions regarding distribution of the fund. A range of topics are listed in the output from the questionnaire, from flood alleviation to educational grants. The trust is now in the process of producing application forms to go out to all parishioners. School car park - clerk to write to the head teacher to request information on progress towards extending car park given safety concerns surrounding this matter. A1 and Wandylaw road junction –discussions with Natural Power/HA ongoing regarding whether or not the junction can remain as it is at present. The council is encouraging as many people as possible to use bus 460 at least once prior to Christmas. An increase in the number of rats seen had been noted. The next meeting is on Tuesday, January 8 at 7.30pm in Ellingham Village Hall.


WI: Our November meeting began on a sad note when Mrs Janet Laycock, our President, asked us all to stand and observe one minute’s silence in memory of our member, Mrs Sheila Smailes who died recently in tragic circumstances. Sheila was a very loyal and popular member of the WI for many years and will be sadly missed. After the minutes were read, agreed and signed, reports were given from Belford’s Birthday Party and the Group Meeting, both of which had been enjoyed and ‘Thank you’ messages from two members for our good wishes were read out. Our Christmas Dinner this year will be held at the Tankerville, Wooler on December 13 at 6.30pm. The Christmas Craft event at Heighley Gate was discussed and Janet encouraged as many members as possible to support the event with entries and attending on the day. We have given £100 to Denman College to their appeal for financial support and again, Janet encouraged us to go to the college to take courses which are diverse in subject and appeal. Two ladies who had recently taken courses showed us the craft items they had made – very impressive. We have supported the Shoe Box Appeal again this year and Janet and Jennifer will take all the donations to the Berwick collection point. We have had an invitation to Doddington’s Christmas Party on 10th December at 2.30 and names were taken. The date of our January meeting has been changed to January 9 instead of 2nd (that’s our Pies, Peas and Puds meeting) and the March meeting will now take place on Wednesday 13th instead of 6th. Arrangements were finalised for those attending the panto at Seaton Delaval. It was decided we will enter a team again next year for the carpet bowls competition to be held in Alnwick in March. Our speaker was Mr David Waters of the National Parks Search and Rescue Team. He gave a very interesting presentation full of humour and anecdotes and we all now have an appreciation of the invaluable work undertaken by the volunteers. The competition was for a wooden item and the winners were 1st Mrs M Bullock, 2nd Mrs J Scott and 3rd Mrs M Mathewson jnr. The evening ended with supper and the raffle.


ROTARY CLUB: The story of Grace Darling’s heroic rescue is well known in this area and was the topic of lively discussion and conjecture by members and guests of Seahouses and District Rotary club at their weekly meeting at the Olde Ship. Resident of Seahouses, and volunteer at the RNLI Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh, Jack Arrowsmith started off the discussion with an account of his research of various published records. He contrasted the communities of Bamburgh and North Sunderland and their reactions in the aftermath and publicity, which it is generally accepted Grace never wanted. Some facts are not disputed but the finer details and motivations show up many discrepancies which are interesting but difficult to prove. The museum is a popular attraction in Bamburgh and several rotarians volunteer there, although more volunteers are needed. The subject is widely taught in schools and many groups visit the museum where study workshops can be arranged. The link with RNLI helps to raise funds for modern day rescues which still occur on our beautiful but treacherous coast.


camera club: Patience, stealth, and a bit of luck – these are some of the qualities needed for success in wildlife photography. With a stunning exhibition of his own work Jonathan Gaunt introduced members to some of his Favourite Places. Jonathan photographs mainly in southern Scotland and Northumberland and a lifelong interest in nature and landscape led him to take up wildlife photography five years ago. By returning to the same locations year on year Jonathan has been able to photograph birds, mammals and insects in seasonal settings from high summer to the depths of winter. His exhibition was accompanied with information about each animal’s ecology that gave an extra dimension to his presentation. Patience - returning to a hide day after day often at very unsocial hours brings its own rewards and often of a kind far from what was expected. Indeed Jonathan told us that one of the more pleasant problems of wildlife photography is that of being tempted away from the subject. A morning set aside for some studies of deer can result in some fantastic studies of insects that just happen to be on the side of the hide! Stealth – stillness combined with all over camouflage clothing and a low profile can get the photographer very close to the subject, or rather the subject will approach the photographer. Jonathan illustrated this with some pictures of water birds. To get a more natural and effective picture Jonathan will often lie flat and still on the bank of a river or lake. This has led to some amusing incidents – “discovery of a man in distress” by early morning dog walkers being the most common! Jonathan concluded his exhibition with a series of pictures of Osprey taking rainbow trout from a specially stocked loch in the Scottish Highlands. The precision and effort involved in hitting sizeable capture talons first just below the water surface and then rising into the air was dramatically illustrated in a series of outstanding images that left Jonathan’s audience wanting more. The club next meets tonight (Thursday) at 7.30pm in The Glendale Hall when members will be competing for The Cheviot Cup where this year’s subject will be “Floral” and The Arthur Willis Trophy where members have been asked to produce prints on any subject they wish.

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