saturday soup: Home-made soup and a roll, tea or coffee and cake in aid of St. Anne’s Church. January 26, 12-1.30pm at Ancroft Village Hall. £3 entry, children 10+ £1.50, under-10s free.
INNER WHEEL CLUB: Members were delighted to welcome one of their own members, Di Higham, as speaker at the January meeting. They were highly entertained as she talked about her experience of taking part in BBC Television’s “The Weakest Link”. She explained her willingness to face up to “The Queen of Mean”, Anne Robinson, by saying that she likes a challenge and was interested to know how the programme was put together. She described the detailed preparation including an interview and trial run which took place in Glasgow and then the trip to Pinewood Studios for the recording of the programme. The information contestants are required to give in advance about themselves and their interests provides Anne Robinson with the jibes to direct at them during the programme. Our speaker realised that it is important not to take what she says personally but to be prepared to stand up for oneself – which she is very capable of doing. She did not win the contest that day, perhaps because she was too honest in her voting but she did maintain her integrity. During the business meeting, members were thanked for their generous contributions to the cake stall at the Cancer Research Coffee Morning in November which raised £272.60 and for contributions to overseas projects. The meeting next month on 11th February will be a business meeting and the International Evening will be on 11th March when there will be a speaker from the Vine Trust. President Jacqui Budge will hold another coffee morning in her home on Friday 25th January in aid of her charity, HospiceCare.
Rotary Club: The modern Royal Air Force was highlighted in a talk to Berwick Rotary by Club member - and ex-airman - Eddie Smith. Once one million strong, the RAF has now only 40,000 men and women, but it plays a key role in both defence and attack, air power is still crucial in preserving peace, managing international crises and displaying its strength. Through a series of slides Mr Smith described the three major fighters, the Tornado, Typhoon and F35 as well as the many missiles with their deadly accuracy and laser-guided bombs. He told the club of the huge expenditure on the two aircraft carriers due to be ready in 2016 and 2018. He also explained the work of the combat support group, the helicopter types and their roles, the RAF regiment and training command which runs the air training corps where Mr Smith is a civilian instructor with 1016 Berwick Squadron.
Probus Club: The world of Grand Opera and Operetta was brought to life for Berwick Probus Club on Wednesday when Mrs Ann Reeve gave a very interesting talk in her career as a professional singer. She spent 21 years with the Royal Opera House, appearing as a principal along with many of the world’s finest singers and also starred with D’oyly Carte in a series of Gilbert and Sullivan musicals. Members were told that she and her late husband Peter, a trumpeter in the orchestras which appeared with her, decided to retire to Berwick after being enchanted by the view from Holy Island. Her career began at four years old when she sang ‘Away in a manger’ and six years later came her first professional role in a Blyth Miners Welfare concert. She took singing lessons at school, won a television appearance with Mike Neville, worked as a teacher, travelled in Europe with a north east group, studied at the Royal Academy of Music and gained a contract with D’oyly Carte. Her time at the Royal Opera House led to principal roles in venues across the world.
U3A: At our last Open Day, first of the new Season, we were given a very interesting talk by Ann Reeve on her life story as an opera singer. Originally from Blyth she was better known in her day as Ann Guthrie who performed with very many well known international artists. Our next Open Day is on Monday, February 4, when Steve Fuller-Shapcott will be giving us a talk on ‘Search & Rescue’. This will be held in St Aidan’s Hall with tea/coffee and biscuits at 10am and the talk at 10.30am. Even if you are not a member you are welcome to come along and join us. Club 55 meets on Thursday, February 7 at Oxford Farm and the next date is February 21 at the Meadow House at 12.30pm for each. Please get in touch with Jill Dudgeon on 302830 if you wish to go to either or both. Sue Handoll has a tapestry class on Friday, January 25 from 10am to noon at The Maltings. If any members wish to attend do please go along - Sue will be delighted to see you. Members and non members can check up the majority of our activities, and details of Group Leaders to contact, on www.berwicku3a.org.uk.
HISTORY SOCIETY: For the History Society’s January meeting The Worshipful Master, Chaplain and Junior Warden of the town’s St. David’s 393 Masonic Lodge gave an illustrated lecture on ‘The History of Freemasonry in Berwick-upon-Tweed.’ Steve Newman told us that although it is difficult to be precise the origin of Freemasonry in Scotland possibly goes back to 1307 when the Knights Templars fled there from France. They are thought to have amalgamated with the stonemasons guilds. There are suggestions that Templars took part in both the Battle of Falkirk and fought on the English side at Bannockburn. Apparently Freemasonry in Berwick can be traced back to 1641 using Masonic evidence around the town including a plaque in Tweedmouth Parish Church recording the laying of the foundation stone by members of St. Cuthbert’s Lodge No. 133 in 1789. Research suggests that lodges used to meet in various hostelries and private rooms before the building of the Masonic Hall in 1884. The presentation was both interesting and thought provoking and was brought to a close with numerous questions and answers.
ARTS CLUB: The next meeting of Berwick Arts Club will be on Tuesday February 12 at 7.30 – 9.30pm in the Conference Room of the Berwick Voluntary Forum (CAB) Building, Tweed Street, Berwick. Brendan Kenny will give a talk called ‘About time’. This talk was initially prompted by a reading of Adam Frank’s book of the same title which examines the interaction between cosmology and human experience of time. In addition Brendan will examine the way time is treated in language and literature. The final part of the talk will examine some ways in which time is handled in literature: specifically how time is used to structure narrative and the use of time as a theme in poetry. Texts such as The Odyssey, The Bible, Ulysses and poems by Shakespeare and Hardy will be selectively touched upon. All are welcome. There will be a charge of £2 for visitors.
methodist church: FridayLIVE returns this coming Friday, January 25 at 7.30pm at Berwick Methodist Church, Walkergate. Our theme this year is ‘Making a Difference’. This week we look at ‘How can we be more like Jesus?’, and it doesn’t involve a white robe, beard and sandals!
POST OFFICE: Friday, January 18 was a Red Letter Day for Ford Village, featuring a sad farewell and a warm welcome to new faces. Terry and Olwen Gordon have left Ford Village Shop and Post Office and handed over the keys to incoming couple, Brian and Laura Thompson, who will continue the service Terry and Olwen provided since they first came to the parish in 2002.
glendale LOCAL history society: Members and guests of Glendale Local History Society started their New Year programme with a welcome coffee at the Cheviot Centre in Wooler. The speaker for this evening was John Almond who gave a presentation on ‘Aspects of Border History’. His talk was a snapshot of our border region in the Middle Ages and the fortifications required during the border conflicts which raged between England and Scotland. John highlighted battles such as Halidon Hill (1333), Otterburn (1388), Homildon Hill (1402) and Flodden Field (1513) where the English and Scottish armies fought to establish superiority and take prisoners to ransom and raise monies for future battles. Many skirmishes took place between 1300 and 1600. These raids are referred to as the `Border Reivers Raids` where bands of men would not only forage over the border but wage war against their own countrymen in order to profit by plundering for animals as well as property and goods. These conflicts, which ranged from complete battles to smaller skirmishes, required those living in the region to fortify their homes in ways which are specific to the area. John added that the wealthiest in the region would fortify their castles and gave illustrations of Berwick, Norham, Dunstanburgh and Alnwick. Many of these structures had very thick walls, secure gates and bastions (protruding walls to gain line of sight) to effectively repel assailants. Lindisfarne, Hermitage Castle, Preston Tower, Edlingham and Belsay castles were all examples given by John where their owners, the local gentry, had extended to create improved defences. The clergy provided defences to their homes and John gave as an example Ponteland Tower which is a notable Pele Tower house which was largely destroyed by the Scottish army under the Earl of Douglas the day before the Battle of Otterburn. The remains of this tower were incorporated into the building now occupied by the Blackbird Inn, which is thought to contain an old tunnel connecting it to St Mary’s church. The tunnel is supposedly bricked up behind the fireplace in The Tunnel Room. Bastle farmhouses were the third kind of building found along the border mainly in the Allendale area. These were characterised by thick stone walls (about 1 metre thick), with the ground floor devoted to stable space for the most valuable animals, and usually a stone vault between it and the first floor. The family’s living quarters were on the floor, above the ground, and during the times before the suppression of the Reivers, were only reached by a ladder which was pulled up from the inside at night. The windows were narrow arrow slits. The roofs were made of slate to improve the bastle’s fire resistance and gave elaborate security measures against raids. Their name is said to derive from the French word “Bastille”. John concluded his talk by suggesting that society members may like to follow up his talk presentation with visits to these sites and enjoy our heritage. The next meeting of the society will take place on Wednesday 13th February with County Archaeologist Dr. Chris Burgess talking on ‘Flodden: 500 years on’. This will be at the Tankerville Arms Hotel in Wooler and commences at 7.30pm. Visitors are very welcome Please note change of venue for this meeting.
CAMERA CLUB: As every student of Physiology will tell you “Even the Archbishop of Canterbury is ninety per cent water” and it was water - so vital to our lives our health and our enjoyment - that was the competition subject for The President’s Cup at Wooler Camera Club last Thursday. In fact there were two competitions that evening because after the break members competed for the Tom Dickinson Trophy with “Church Architecture” as the chosen subject. Both competitions were judged by John Wilson the President of the club and a distinguished photographer himself. John commented that the standard of entries was high and this had been recognised by the awarding of a greater number of commendations that usual. First then to the water, the theme title was “Water in Any Form” and in thirty one images members gave the audience the power and majesty of waterfalls, the stillness and tranquillity of reflections and the contained strength of the waves. When water stops flowing it becomes ice or clouds and gives the image maker the chance of some spectacular sculptural studies. Water supports life both within and without and there were some mesmerising studies of fish and birds and humans simply enjoying or enduring getting wet. Awarded first was Russell Young with a study of lake and sky entitled “Serenity” second Pat Young with “River Ripples” and third Patrick Sherald with “Rockies Sunrise”. Members and guests then moved from the fluidity of water to the solidity of stone - from a natural material bounded by nature to one shaped by man for the glory of his maker. There was majesty a plenty in this competition too. Images of glorious soaring architecture that drew the observer in and along, contrasted with the close intimate simplicity of a naturally lit altar. Carefully patterned coloured roof tiles compared with vibrant colours on flagstones. Shapes in stone gave the opportunity for some arresting views and perspectives. Nice human touches were given by some intriguing faces and animals carved in stone while pictures of some simply constructed churches in out of the way locations reminded us of man’s innate and universal desire to gather for a common purpose. The winner of The Tom Dickinson Trophy on the theme of Church Architecture was Margaret Urwin with “Altar; Alban’s Abbey”. Second was Russell Young with “Boxgrove Church” and third was Patrick Sherald with “About Face”. The next meeting of Wooler Camera Club will be on Thursday January 31 at 7.30pm. in the Glendale Hall, Cheviot Street when members will be given the opportunity to look at other members’ camera equipment and advice will be given throughout this informal meeting over a cup of tea or coffee.
ROTARY CLUB: The Rotary Club of Till & Glendale held their first meeting after the Christmas holiday and quickly resumed their usual style of dealing with business effectively and with humour. The shoe boxes filled by members were delivered to the People’s Kitchen in Newcastle before Christmas. Congratulations to the winner of the Christmas quiz organised by the club and to Rotarian Margaret Ling for selling the most quiz sheets. Nominations for the club’s ‘People in Community Award’ were requested. Several people were suggested but more nominations are welcome. Ideas for fundraising for the coming year were considered, with different members taking on gathering more information about the feasibility of some of the activities for us as a club. Ideas for the programme for the coming year, including speakers, were also discussed. Meetings are due to be fortnightly from today (January 24), but please check with our secretary Maggie Harker (tel 01289-388490) or with Helen Henderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding venue and time, as we hope to include more social activities in our programme.