District News

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A round-up of north Northumberland news from local clubs, charities and societies.


BINGO: A Christmas Prize Bingo and Raffle will be held at Ancroft Memorial Hall on Wednesday, December 19. Doors open at 6.30pm, eyes down at 7pm. All welcome.


LIGHTS: The very first display of Christmas lights on the Bullring in Beadnell will be officially switched on tomorrow (Friday), December 7 at 6.30pm. To mark the occasion, Coun Pat Scott has been asked to do the switch on. There will be refreshments, hot mulled wine and minced pies along with carol singing. Everyone welcome.


Floral Art Club: Berwick and District Floral Art Club recently held its annual open night. Val Stevenson, chair, gave a warm welcome to all guests and members handed over the evening’s entertainment in flowers to Jean McClure, an area demonstrator from Saltburn. Her title for the evening was “Inspiring Christmas”. Five main arrangements were created during the evening. The next meeting will be held at 7pm on Friday, December 7 at St Aidan’s Hall, Church Street, Berwick. The demonstrator will be Gemma Landels from “Occasions”, Eyemouth. This will be a “hands on” evening and everyone will need to bring a cup and saucer as they will be making their own Christmas arrangement. The monthly competition will be letter ‘C’ and there will also be a competition for the best decorated Christmas cracker using the innards of a toilet roll. Everyone welcome.

BORDER ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY: Dr Clare Wilson of Stirling University gave the latest Border Archaeological Society talk on ‘Reading the Soil Record: the role of Geo-Archaeology in excavation and post-excavation analysis.’ She calls herself a geoarchaeologist and has a PhD in archaeological buried soils. She focused on two major sites to illustrate her work. The first was Lefkandi, Euboea in Greece. It is a Greek Dark Age site built on a tel or mound, a feature 17m deep. Using soil analysis, it materialised that the mound was made up of degraded mud bricks, accumulated over 12-1300 years of occupation. Artefacts were preserved too, including boat designs on pottery shards. The town was a trading settlement with contacts as far away as Egypt. One puzzle was that there did not seem to be a harbour. Fieldwork observation revealed a silted up area much higher up than current sea level and with giveaway wavecut notches in nearby rock. Soil analysis revealed marine clay. The whole area seems to have been tectonically uplifted in antiquity. The second site was a complete contrast, Mulchaich West on the Black Isle in Ross-shire, the possible site of Ferintosh distillery. Clare showed us the Kubiena tins used to collect samples. Acetone is added to repel water, and then a slide is made sometimes using coloured dye. The slide can then be placed under a microscope, and we can look at soils intact. Shell, bone and textile can all be identified; ploughing can also be ‘read.’ She finished with some comments on grave soils. Analysis can show burnt grass offerings, ochre painted over a body and coffin collapse. Stirling is working with York University on this project, using digs in Edinburgh and Bamburgh, though soils in the latter case are too sandy for good preservation. The talk was excellently presented and well received.

ROTARY CLUB: The experience of standing up to the acidic wit of Anne Robinson, television’s ‘Queen of mean’ was described as “fantastic” by Diana Higham on Tuesday. Accompanied by her husband, the Rev Bob, she was guest speaker at the meeting of Berwick Rotary Club. She finished fourth in the popular ‘The Weakest Link’ on television. She applied to appear on the show as one of nine competitors and had to pass an audition in Glasgow before travelling to pinewood studios. Mrs Higham told how she dealt with Anne Robinson’s comments, repeatedly giving as good as she got after the remarks of the presenter, especially after revealing that she regularly took part in the radio Borders religious programme.

PROBUS CLUB: The James Cook, the sailing ship based at North Shields, has helped develop the character of hundreds of young people over the last 25 years. A regular visitor to Berwick, she has close links with the youth project and the rotary club who have sponsored people to crew it. Eighteen are usually on board with most at sea for the first time. They plan the routes and have a wide variety of tasks to carry out. The boat is owned by Ocean Youth Trust North and Steve Lennon, its former skipper, is now the manager. Guest speaker at Berwick Probus Club, he said it provided adventure and a unique residential platform for the education of youngsters from all walks of life. Anyone from 12 to 24 can take part in the five day experience. Mr Lennon showed a film depicting a typical week on board.

BRFC SUPPORTERS CLUB: Berwick Rangers Supporters Club’s latest fundraising night - a race night - takes place on Friday, December 7 in the Black & Gold Club at 7.30pm. Everyone welcome - you don’t need to know anything about horses, racing or gambling. All monies raised will benefit Berwick Rangers football club, so please come along and have a laugh.

history society: Queen Victoria’s reign saw dramatic changes in the methods of producing, processing, transporting and selling food and drink. It was the heyday of Berwick’s farming, herring fishing and salmon netting industries. The Society’s visiting speaker for November was Derek Sharman who based his talk, ‘Berwick’s Food Heritage’, on old photographs, advertisements and extracts from 19th century editions of local newspapers. He highlighted the growing importance of steam ships and the developing railway system and the important part they played in the herring and salmon fishing industries. In conclusion he drew our attention to Berwick’s townscape of today with its reminder of those vibrant times - The Maltings, The Granary, the ice-houses, curing sheds and smokehouses. The evening was both educational and enjoyable not only to our own members, but to visitors from both London and Bristol who appreciated the warm welcome and the fascinating talk. The next meeting takes place on Wednesday, December 12 in the Parish Centre at 7.30pm. John Ferguson is our guest speaker with the topic ‘Barmoor Connections’, an opportunity for us all to explore some of the interesting history of the Barmoor Estate.

U3A: Final orders have now been taken for our Christmas Lunch which is being held in The Black & Gold Club on Thursday, December 20. At the next meeting of May Wilson’s Busy Bees Group Sue will be showing how to make a Christmas Decoration. If anyone is interested do go along to The Maltings on Friday, 14th December starting at 10am and finishing at 12.15pm. Do also feel free to take along your own work which others will be interested in seeing. The Creative Writing Group has no meetings in December. They are, however, having a ‘Literary Lunch’ on Wednesday, January 16. Because of all this wet weather, the field and facilities at 15B Lamberton are now closed until spring of next year. If you fancy having a game of Carpet Bowls there is room for more members taking part every Thursday afternoon in St Aidan’s Hall from 2pm. The December walk of the Walking Group will be on Thursday, 13th December, starting from Morrison’s and following the trail along the coast to Burnmouth starting at 10 am prompt. Do you fancy doing the Tango? If enough members are interested Maria Fuentes is willing to come back again as a tutor. Do contact Maria on 332592 to take part. Members and non members can check up the majority of our activities, and details of group leaders to contact, on www.berwicku3a.org.uk.

ST ANDREWS WALLACE GREEN: This Thursday, December 6, choir practice starts at the earlier time of 5.45pm followed by the Guild’s Christmas Party at 7.15pm. On Saturday morning at 9.30am, the prayer group meet and then on Sunday there is a service at 9.45am in Lowick and 11am in Berwick, which includes Sunday Club and the lighting of the second Advent candle. On Monday the Carpet Bowls group meet at 1.30pm. There is no Keep Fit during December. The annual Berwick Male Voice Choir Christmas concert will be on Wednesday 12th at 7.30pm. The church are providing a local Christmas card delivery service (minimum donation of £0.25 per card) with collections starting from 6th December at the Bank of Scotland, Longbone’s and Hairworks or they can be brought to the church on Sunday 9th or 16th December. For further information please see the church’s website www.sawg.org.uk.

BIG SING: Christian Aid Christmas Big Sing is on at the Methodist Church,Walkergate today (Thursday), December 6 at 7pm. The Eyemouth Fishermen’s Choir and The Border Tarts will entertain. It should be a good start to the festive season and all proceeds will fund Christian Aid projects. Adults £5, Children £1 including refreshments. Tickets from Mediamania, Castlegate or on the door.


BORDER TEXTILE GROUP: Christmas is coming and that means members are looking forward to their festive lunch at Foulden Village Hall on Saturday, December 8. The idea is for each person to bring something sweet or savoury to be shared on the buffet table. Anyone with something that needs heating in the oven should please come in advance of the start time of 1pm. This is also the time of year when we see who has risen to Theresa’s Challenge. The title for 2012 was ‘Just for Fun’ with a remit to “create something that is fun to make in any material and method you want to use”. Challenges are kept hidden until after lunch when all is revealed but in any event pictures will be posted on the group’s website www.bordertextilegroup.wordpress.com. There is no obligation to take part in the challenge so please don’t let it put you off coming! At the November meeting the speaker was Tricia Reynolds from Kelso who is passionate about Italian Casalguidi embroidery. She explained some of the history of the technique and how she has developed her own more colourful textural style.


VILLAGE HALL: Kirknewton Village Hall Trust recently held a very successful quiz night in the village hall. Quizmaster was Reverend Jeffery Smith and supper was fish & chips provided by Geoff Allan of Wooler. Thirteen tables of four enjoyed a laughter filled evening and the winners of the new “Kirknewton Challenge Trophy” was the local team of B.C.A.S. Thank you to all who took part and helped in any way. The next event at Kirknewton Village Hall will be the popular Border Supper on Friday, February 22. A community website for Kirknewton has been launched at www.kirknewton-northumberland.co.uk featuring Kirknewton in words and pictures. News of events and activities in our community can be found there. If you would like to make a contribution, or have any suggestions, to the site please email kirknewtonvillagehall@gmail.com.


RESIDENTS GROUP: St Boisil’s Residents’ Association meetings take place in Tweedmouth Parish Church Hall at 7pm on the third Tuesday of every second month. Local volunteers who have addressed issues and problems over the last five years have had some notable successes. Legal recognition of The Green on Dock Road was achieved, after intensive archive research and form filling, with the support of our councillors and especially, the people of Tweedmouth and Spittal, Our community banded together to save this valuable greenspace for recreation. A similar communal area under threat is the Goody Patchy; with planning permission given for houses to be built on the Coal Yard at the former Tweedmouth Railway Station. Tracts of trees on Goody Patchy land are earmarked for felled to make a new roadway onto Billendean. There are concerns about the wisdom of any new access onto a road with busy traffic and visual restriction caused by the rail bridge and the safety of children from schools who use it most days. A few years ago St Boisil’s Residents’ Association was granted a ‘lease’ from Berwick Borough Council on part of the Goody Patchy to enhance the site. The meadow area is managed to allow the orchids and other wild flowers to flourish in a boggy area; which is part of Berwick in Bloom. Nest boxes and bat boxes were erected as a primary school project and the former dock railway is part of the Lowry Trail. To carry on this work, we may need to engage some professional help with maintenance, safety and recreational activities. We are hoping grants can be obtained for a survey of the woodland to know how to proceed. This is England’s most northerly Community Woodland and we should all take an interest and pride in it; to use it and protect it from further destructive intrusions. At the November meeting these issues were brought up at the AGM along with other local concerns - including anti-social behaviour, speeding and shoplifting. The Residents’ Association is open to all, it is not a religious group. Meetings are informal and friendly. If any of these issues are of interest do come along to the next meeting on January 22 at 7pm. New members are always welcome. Further enquiries to Margaret Thomas Tel: 01289 307314.


ROTARY CLUB: This week the Rotary Club of Seahouses and District was entertained by club member Dr Jack Dineley, talking about and showing slides of his recent trip to Namibia. Jack informed us that at one time the main industry of Namibia was diamond mining, but now like many places the main industry has become tourism. The images presented by Jack showed some amazing geological rock formations and gave an insight to the country’s landscape. Club member David Morgan will talk about “50 years in Rotary” at the next meeting and the following week will be the Rotary quiz against the Rotary Club of Cramlington. Seahouses and District meet every Tuesday evening at 7pm for 7.30pm at the Olde Ship Seahouses. All fellow Rotarians and guests are welcome.


Glendale local history society: In his talk to Glendale Local History Society, John Fletcher, reminded us that coats of arms are represented in many places throughout our communities and hold a valuable place in our history. He started his talk with an historic background of the Norman Conquest and the Battle of Hastings. Depicting an image of the Bayeux Tapestry, he pointed out that William was seen lifting his helmet: this action was accepted practice at various stages of battle, proving he remained alive and in charge, since at this time there were few other signs of his recognition. John speculated that because of a number of different emblems depicted on William’s shields throughout the tapestry these were more likely or have been decoratively produced by the embroiderers, rather than intended for personal identification at that time. Early mediaeval seals depicted motifs for identification and were likely to have became associated with future insignia, or ‘arms’. Following a swift journey through an intricate, early Royal genealogy we reached the oldest documented coat of arms as shown on an image of Geoffrey, son-in-law of King Henry I, father of Henry II, depicting golden lions on a blue shield and small lions on his shoes too. Heraldry became established from mid-12th century and the general term derives from a group of men known as ‘Heralds’ whose task it was to equip, announce and interpret the arms, or emblems, providing a knight with individual devices to ensure recognition in contests at tournaments or jousts – each being armoured and otherwise unrecognisable. To this day heralds remain important officers of the Royal household. Our speaker ended with a modern interpretation of this ancient art: an image of our modern day jockeys’ colours!

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