A round-up from the clubs and societies in north Northumberland.
History society: There was an excellent turn out of members and visitors for our November meeting, at which Clive Hallam-Baker gave us a fascinating account of the 1513 Flodden Campaign and the fighting tactics employed by the two opposing sides. Clive’s account was illustrated with an animated map of the campaign, replica weapons and some superb photographs of the battlefield. A highlight of the evening was the opportunity to see at close quarters examples of the weapons used and learn more about them; many of us found it hard to envisage that the 18 foot pikes, used by the Scots, were ever an effective weapon. Nor were we aware that the English archers could choose from a range of specialised arrows, with tips and feathering customised for particular purposes. The shrapnel producing English cannon balls were another key weapon in the English arsenal. Nevertheless, at the end of one of the worst periods of weather this year, most of us could sympathise with a Scottish army which became bogged down in the mud! An excellent evening was rounded off with refreshments and some good discussion. Our next speaker meeting is on January 30, when Charles Baker Cresswell will talk on Sir James Knot and the College Valley Estate. Visitors welcome - £2.
ST ANDREW’S CLUB: Berwick St Andrew’s Club were so delighted with the success of their Annual Gatherin’ last week that they have already booked the Black and Gold Club for the 21013 event. At a committee meeting at Longridge Towers on Monday, president Diana Higham said feedback was excellent and the speakers and entertainers helped to create a great atmosphere. Now the focus has switched to the annual Burns Supper at Berlino’s on Monday, January 28. Jim Barrie from Eyemouth will propose the Immortal Memory and the reply to ‘The Lasses’ will be given by Isabel Cheek. The proposer is expected to confirm in the next few days. On the entertainment side, Ian Buick will address the haggis and give a recitation of ‘The Whistle’, a poem which brought him a national award. Songs will be from Michael Ross and the Rev Bob Higham. Bob will also team up with his wife for a duet. Their performance of ‘The Crooked Bawbge’ at the gatherin’ was a highlight. Tickets, at £16, are available from the president, secretary Iain Dempster or any committee member.
ROTARY CLUB: An inspiring Christmas message was given to Berwick Rotarians by the Rev Matthew Knox, vicar of Tweedmouth, Spittal and Scremerston. He told the club that Jesus was sent by God to serve and to save and rotary’s motto of ‘service above self’ shared the fundamental principles of Christianity. Mr Knox spoke of the many innovations he had introduced in his parishes, giving service to people of all ages and the developments were put in place to help others. Throughout his life Hesus had saved and served others and this was something rotary had tried to follow. He was thanked by president Ken Budge who congratulated him on his great efforts.
PROBUS CLUB: Alcohol remains the major problem behind social disorder in the Berwick area though there is still a hard core of drug users. Sergeant Keith Smith, who retires in January after a long and successful career in the police, gave a very interesting talk to Probus Club on Wednesday. It was followed by a question and answer session. He told the members that improved police efficiency was one of the reasons for the diminishing crime figures, but the attitude of the public had also changed. The police officers were professional to the nth degree. In October there had been just one burglary and one drugs offence but the officers worked very hard and closer partnerships were now the key for the future. The police were set up in 1829 and Berwick had its own small force until 1921 when it amalgamated with the Northumberland County. More than most organisations the police came under great scrutiny, and the financial cuts did have an effect although Northumbria’s Chief Constable Sue Sim was determined there would be no fewer front line officers. Sergeant Smith also stressed to the Club that they were no longer involved with the works of the traffic wardens, they were under the control of the county council.
ST ANDREWS WALLACE GREEN: There will be choir practice as usual at 6pm on Thursday 13th. The prayer group meets on Saturday 15th at 9.30am and in the evening the Berwick Arts Choir will be holding a Christmas Fantasia Concert starting at 7pm. On Sunday 16th our services are in Lowick Village Hall at 9.45am and in Wallace Green at 11am. At 3pm on Sunday afternoon there will be an additional service at St Andrew’s for those who find Christmas difficult for any reason. The church are providing a local Christmas card delivery service (minimum donation of £0.25 per card) with collections at the Bank of Scotland, Longbone’s and Hairworks or they can be brought to the church on Sunday 16th December. For further information please see the church’s website www.sawg.org.uk
U3A: A week past Monday our Christmas Festivities started with a Christmas Quiz put together by our Chairman, Jeff Armstrong. This was enjoyed at the same time as seasonal eats produced by our Treasurer, Mary Patterson. We were then entertained by the Berwick U3A Singers under the direction of Sheila Wilson. Members joined in the various carols and songs. Quite a controversial topic was discussed at the last meeting of the Philosophy Group when Derek presented the subject ‘The age and law regarding young people in our Society’. He gave us figures for this country and how it compared with some other countries. For instance, the age of consent in having sex in this country is 16 whereas in other countries it is from 12 to 18. They discussed the age when you can get married, drive, drink alcohol, and much more. If we, as adults, found the laws confusing we must understand how difficult it is for young people. We can criticise our youth but Derek said even the variables in interpreting the law are not easy to understand. The questions is ‘Has philosophy failed us by not having an influence on our Society today?’ The Nutrition Group, at their last meeting, decided to try and build up their immune systems, as per Government recommendations. The basis of the recipes they tried had two unusual flours - kamut and chestnut. They made 2 different types of bread in which they put dried fruits, nuts, seeds and beans. Kamut is a brand name for khorasan wheat and is 40% higher in protein and higher in most vitamins compared to average wheat. Chestnuts are low in calories compared to other nuts but high in the vitamin B-complex as well as a rich supply of other vitamins, minerals, and much more. The recipe using chestnut flour, honey, walnuts, and dried apricots was from Tuscany, plus, of course, chestnut flour is gluten free. Although the group tries to concentrate on the health aspects of their food the main part is to enjoy the tasting, and enjoy the discussions afterwards. Members and non members can check up on our activities, and details of group leaders on www.berwicku3a.org.uk.
parish council: Trees East Ord House Country Park - The chairman welcomed Mr R Smith to the meeting. Parish councillor Mr R Huntly asked Mr Smith if Northumberland is affected with the ash die back. Mr Smith replied that there is one old ash tree south of Chirnside which has been affected. Councillor Huntly advised the meeting that residents had been concerned about the letters they had received regarding the trees because they read it that they were responsible for all the removal costs of any of the trees. Mr Smith replied that each tree would be discussed on a case by case matter with the appropriate resident and they would only be expected to make a contribution to any tree works if the works were to benefit the resident and there would be no need for any payment for works on dangerous trees. Mr Smith informed the meeting that he has been in dialogue with some residents and some tree works have been agreed, however planning permission will be needed for any tree works on trees which have Tree Preservation Orders. Mr Smith went on to say that any trees which are removed that have Tree Preservation Orders on them will be replaced but in alternative areas in the park. The vice chairman asked Mr Smith to check the trees overhanging the footpath on the edge of the Village Green as some of the branches need to be trimmed back. Mr Smith agreed to check the trees. Mr Smith agreed to attend the February meeting if he had any updates and asked the parish council to contact him if they had any concerns. Feedback from meeting with Northumberland County Council - Councillor Huntly advised the meeting that he stated at that meeting that Ord Parish Council wished to be involved in any discussions Northumberland County Council have with Berwick Town Council about the transfer of cemeteries. Broadband - Councillor Marshall advised the meeting that there is no improvement on the broadband strength in the Unthank area. The clerk informed the meeting that each house should register their address at www.inorthumberland.org.uk/iwant. The date for the next meeting is February 4 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall, East Ord.
Probus Club: New Chairman, Brian Brand, welcomed the members with a special mention for Tony Willis who was attending his first meeting as a member of the club. Brian then presented the outgoing chairman, Roger Howell, with a past president’s tie and expressed our thanks for his efforts over the past year. Fraser Suffield informed us that he had completed the list of speakers for the coming year and this plus the list of current members was available for collection. He thanked Les Parsons for setting up the documents on computer. We have room for a few new members and anyone interested can telephone him on 01665 576236. The members thanked Fraser for his work in contacting the speakers. William Godfrey, our social secretary, said he had provisionally booked Doxford Hall once more, for our annual lunch. Fraser introduced speaker, Ian Wilkinson, to talk about his experiences during ten years in the Falkland Islands. Ian started by telling us that he went out initially for three months and circumstances led to the ten years. He started as port manager at Port Stanley, became a pilot, first for H.R.Shipping and then for the MoD. Ian’s talk covered the various aspects of his work out there, and the novel ways simple tasks had to be carried out. He emphasised the way of life with amusing tales of picnics by four wheel drive Landrovers, the beauty of the wildlife and the difficulties of driving. Ian continued by talking about the problems involved in piloting vessels as varied as a Russian Sail ship, a Royal Navy ship with 17 members of crew on the bridge giving information in order to dock and the difficulties with cruise ships in cramped surroundings. He gave a brief outline of the geography of the Falklands and the areas associated with the war. There are around 2500 inhabitants on East Falkland and only about 15 on West Falkland. Ian invited questions and as we have two members who served in the Falklands, Keith Harris and Malcolm Graham, more stories were told of the life out there. Gordon Cowan, in his vote of thanks, praised the photographs and the illuminating talk.
WI: Our festive season has started very well for us. A coach load of members went to the WI Pantomime on November 22 in the Arts Centre in Seaton Delaval. This was very well supported and well worth the journey on a cold, miserable wet evening. The actors played their parts very well and had us laughing all the way home. Apart from each one of us going to various Christmas lunches, Christmas Dinners and Christmas Coffee mornings, our annual Christmas Party was held on Tuesday last. There were 2l members present. The coach is organised to take us down to Christmas at the Abbey in Hexham. Our Christmas lunch will be held on December 18 at the Links Hotel, 12.30pm. Arrangements are in hand for our birthday party in February. Mrs Nora Mileham has kindly agreed to make the cake for us. Our next Pub Lunch will be at the Ship Hotel, Seahouses, on January 26 at 12.30pm. The celebratory bulbs have all been planted. The Reading Aloud competition for 2013 is organised. Applications with the secretaries. April 18 is Down Your Way at Branxton (Flodden) to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Battle at Flodden Field. This will be a walk along the Flodden Trail followed by afternoon tea in the village hall. Our party commenced with Jackie Adams singing for us “Home Sweet Home”, followed by one or two other well known songs. We were then invited to join in – although our voices were not as good as our Mrs Adams, we then progressed to hand clapping and, in the middle of all this, one of the festive paper ceiling decorations decided to fall down just as we finished - this reduced everybody to gales of laughter as it was very well timed. When our singing finally came to a close we enjoyed our delicious pooled supper. Our raffle was drawn and won by Mrs Wood, Mrs P Cole, Mrs M Turner and Mrs P Tucker. The competition, a Christmas table decoration, was won by Mrs Judith Stephenson, Mrs M Wood and Mrs Eileen Braidford. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 8 commencing at 7.30pm, when we will have a talk on “Walking the Camino de Santiago”. The competition will be anything beginning with “S”.