Exhibition ensures Belford’s history is no longer hidden

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AFTER many months of work and preparation by Belford Community Group’s Hidden History sub committee, its new exhibition was officially opened by ‘local lass’ Marjorie MacDonald on Friday.

The exhibition has been funded thanks to a £25,000 National Lottery Village SOS grant and a further grant from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty,

The now permanent exhibition is housed in the Belford Reading Room which dates back to before the turn of the 20th century, having been rebuilt with its curved frontage in the mid 1930s.

Phil Nicholson, chairman of Belford Community Group, welcomed the 60 invited guests and handed over to Fiona Renner-Thompson whose previous history exhibitions had led to this great achievement for the village.

Fiona thanked the Reading Room trustees and committee and all who had helped provide material for the exhibition and the team of workers who had made the exhibition a reality.

She welcomed Marjorie MacDonald, a local lady who had invested most of her life to the benefit of Belford community in so many ways and whose Belford based family could be traced back to the 19th century.

Marjorie reflected on the use of the Reading Room which had at one time been the home of people who could go in and read their papers, the home of several very successful snooker and billiard teams, the home of many fund raising events and now was fulfilling a new function in housing the artefacts, photographs, writings and a computer based interactive display of the history of the Belford area.

She asked Dr George MacDonald, a descendant of the long line of Belford Drs MacDonald, to present the Pitt Cup on loan to the exhibition, the cup being first presented for billiards in 1925, and finally won by her husband James MacDonald beating local dentist Geoff Stephenson.

She paid tribute to “an excellent job done by a dedicated few” and cut the ribbon with great aplomb as is ever Marjorie’s wont!

The guests then looked around the exhibition and ended their visit with refreshments in St Mary’s church gallery where they also enjoyed the work of local historian, Joan Wright, whose photographic history displays have become a permanent feature of the church.

The exhibition is open daily from 10am and is free although donations are welcomed.

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