WI: Joan Wright, the invited speaker to the November meeting, delighted members new and old when she disclosed all the secrets from diaries she had discovered, written by a young lady from Outchester. The social scene in those bygone days was truly hectic with balls, supper parties and weekends away staying in other large country houses. The Bluebell Hotel in Belford held subscription balls on a regular basis which meant that you did not have to be invited but could pay for your ticket allowing a real mix of country folk to attend. On Monday, November 26 the walking group is meeting at Janet Wilkinson’s to arrange walks in the New Year, on Tuesday, December 4 is a Christmas table decoration workshop, all those taking part to bring secateurs or florist scissors with them, then on Wednesday, December 12 is our own Christmas tea party with games. Last but not least Thursday, December 13 is the WI carol concert in Hexham Abbey. Bamburgh WI wishes all their fellow Institutes a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
history society: We enjoyed a riveting history of the press gangs, and in particular their impact on the north east, illustrated by popular ballads and prints of the time, provided by Old English, a talented trio from Newcastle. We learned that the press gangs had a long history dating back to the Middle Ages and were the legal means by which governments of the day ensured that they had sufficient sailors to man their ships. Its use was at its peak during the 18th century, when England was involved in a long succession of naval wars. Not surprisingly, the press gangs operated mainly in the major seaports, where they could be confident of finding skilled seamen. After this fascinating talk, we enjoyed refreshments served by Denise and Joan, a new departure for the Society, but one which was agreed to be very successful. Next month’s talk, by Clive Hallam Baker, looks at the fighting tactics which produced the English victory at Flodden in 1513. All welcome, visitors £2.
Book group: New Writing North’s Berwick Book Group has an author coming to their December meeting. The group has been running for nearly four years now, meeting at The Barrels, Bridge Street on the first Tuesday of every month. Guests/potential new members are very welcome! This month’s reading is ‘Twelve Minutes of Love: A Tango Story’ by Kapka Kassabova. The meeting is on Tuesday December 4, at 6.30pm. Join Kapka Kassabova and the New Writing North Berwick book group for an evening of discussion, readings, love, hate and a bit of tango. Kapka is a poet, travel writer and novelist, and was born and raised in Bulgaria in the 1970s. She has lived in New Zealand and Germany and is now settled in Edinburgh. Kapka will be in conversation with the reading group about her book. Free event.
community reading group: Community reading group members changed their venue this month from Berwick library to the Queen’s Head Hotel, Berwick where they all enjoyed a distinctive Christmas literary lunch. It was also a special celebration as it was 21 years since the reading group was first set up. After coffee and a relaxing chat the group settled down to review the selected book - ‘The Forgotten Garden’ by Kate Morton. Having read the first few chapters, the reader realises how well the storyline is connected and how well it all flows. The plot was well thought out, the characterisation excellent with the chosen favourite character being Eliza. The group gave the book an average score of eight out of ten. We all agreed the story was the exciting and fast paced. Maureen Raper told how proud she was of the continued membership of the reading group which first started in 1991. Since that date the group have reviewed and discussed around 260 books and on some occasions the accompanying authors have attended the library to discuss their novels with the reading group. A special thank you went to Della for her choice and distribution of the books and Edward for his role as treasurer. Our meetings are held at Berwick library on the third Friday of every month from 6pm to 7pm and the next book to be reviewed is ‘All Bones and Lies’.
Probus Club: A superb presentation of slides delighted Berwick Probus Club members on Wednesday. Bea Nicholson was the speaker and the views shown were taken by her and husband Ray, daughter Anita and brother David. The first section ‘both sides of the Tweed’ contained some wonderful views of Berwick, many taken from unusual angles and very artistic. The shots of the coloured lighting under The Royal Tweed Bridge were loaned by Dr Jim Kirton who played a major role in bringing the scheme to fruition. Other sections, so well put together, featured The Forth and Clyde Canal, Glasgow in a day, Solway to Tyne and views from Robin Hood’s Bay to Skye. They were enhanced by stirring musical accompaniment. At the annual meeting which followed, chairman John Robertson said it had been a good year and the annual luncheon had been an informal ‘family gathering’. An aggregate of 1266 members had attended and the programme of speakers was outstanding. Treasurer, Andrew Dewar reported it had been a better year than envisaged and they ended with a surplus despite buying new lighting equipment, giving a donation to The League of Friends, presenting a trophy to the Bounds Riding Committee and hosting the inter-club quiz. Membership had reduced by seven and they must look into ways of boosting it. New chairman is Bob Steward, with Michael Yorke as vice chairman, Charles Fairfield and Andrew Dewar continue as secretary and treasurer. Committee members are Ron Shaw, Ian Moore, Ian Hannah and John Robertson. The officials were thanked for their efforts as well as Tony Langmack and ‘The Berwick Advertiser’ for the regular articles, so vital in keeping the club in the public eye.
rotary club: An invitation to meet Berwick Rotary Club council is to be extended to John Bell, manager of The Youth Project, to consider a new scheme he is proposing to introduce based on The Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme. It follows a letter to the club in which he outlined the way it could work and asked if Rotary would be prepared to give financial help to assist its setting up. Mayor’s Awards would be made at gold, silver and bronze levels under a points system. Mr Bell explained that because of costs - registration now costs £200 - the numbers applying for The Duke of Edinburgh Scheme locally had dropped to five. The awards are highly valued and useful to the CVs of young students. It is hoped to hold the meeting in the next month. Club Council also agreed to donate £500 to Berwick Archives Office to help them get within touching distance of buying the wonderful photographic archive built up by Ian Smith and his wife Ellen who retired last month. Berwick archivist Linda Bankier regards it as a remarkable record of life in the area. Donations will also go to the Berwick Hospice and The Day Hospital for Christmas. They are also to thank Berwick Council for a generous contribution to the Christmas lights on The Royal Tweed Bridge and Scotsgate. They were erected on Thursday followed by the Rotary’s illuminated Christmas tree in Marygate. A ‘thank you’ letter is also to go to Elizabeth Bryden for her tremendous effort made bringing disability learning to Berwick. The group’s activities are being wound down. Close links with the club and the disabled have existed for many years. A team of Rotarians will hold the popular Christmas readings again at Scremerston First School next month, and a Christmas cake will be presented to the Grove School on December 18. It will be baked by Tweedmouth Middle School students. The raised bed on Rotary Way has been re-planted in the form of the organisation’s Rounder and will bloom in the spring. Malcolm Murray reported that he was already making plans for the Spirit of Sport Event in May. He is looking into the possibility of sponsorship. Bowls will be returning to the programme. Jim Gladstone has organised the annual Christmas raffle for local charities which will be held at Morrison’s store on November 28, 29 and 30 with the draw taking place on December 4. An evening of curling is to be held at Kelso Ice Rink on December 21 and sports committee chairman Ian McCreath said it was hoped to arrange a meeting to Kelso Races in the spring.
U3A: We held our Open Day when Angela Clough of Age UK gave us a talk on attendance allowance - what qualifies for it and how one can claim it. Our next members’ meetings are all to do with celebrating Christmas. On Monday, December 3 we have Christmas festivities in St Aidan’s Hall when various groups entertain us. On Thursday, December 20 we hold our Christmas lunch which is being held in The Black & Gold Club. This three course meal costs £14.50 and members are asked to fill in the menu form (there is a downloadable one on our website) and send it to Mary Patterson with the money. There will be no Art Group meeting on December 5 . There will be an Art Group 2 meeting on December 12 and an Art Group 1 meeting on December 19. The Bridge Group is having its Christmas Party on Tuesday, December 18 in Berlino’s. Please let the group leader, George Martin, know if you can attend. There are several Groups who have still to give details of their activity to George Martin who urgently requires them to update and correct the website.
st andrews wallace green: On Thursday 22nd there is choir practice at 6pm followed by the Guild at 7.15pm when the guest speaker is Melanie Eve from the Family Support Project. On Saturday 24th the Prayer Group meet at 9.30am and the Guild Christmas Fayre starts at 10am until 1pm (admission £2 which includes a drink and baking). Our Sunday services are held at Lowick Village hall at 9.45am and St Andrew’s Wallace Green at 11am. At 6pm we have the St Andrew’s Day Service hosted by the St Andrew’s Club ‘o Berwick upon Tweed when Rev Bob Higham will invite Rev Dr Adam Hood to tell us part of his story and will select some representative hymns. On Monday the Bowling Group meet at 1.45pm and on Tuesday 27th Keep Fit meet at 10am. St Andrew’s Wallace Green will be providing a local Christmas card delivery service again this year. Collections will start from December 6.
TILLVAS: On Wednesday, November 7, TillVAS held their second AGM attended by 26 members and the current committee and officers remain in post. This was followed by a most fascinating presentation by David Jones from Coquetdale Community Archaeology, (CCA) which attracted an additional 12 members and friends. During the last two years, CCA have been involved in the location and investigation into the remains of a medieval fulling mill in the upper reaches of the Coquet Valley at Barrowburn, first identified in 2005. References had been found in the records of Newminster Abbey near Morpeth for a grant of land by the Umfraville family in the early 13th century, to “build a mill pond in the Coquet Valley. However, this valuable enterprise was non-existent by 16th century, the area wasteland and grazed only by cattle, and by 17th century records of rentals/rates have ceased. Further exploration is planned for 2013 and an attempt will be made to determine the date of the destruction of the mill. The December meeting, on Wednesday 5th, will be a walk at “The Hirsel” at Coldstream, meeting at 11am in the main car park, followed by lunch in the Cottage Tearoom at 12.30pm. Anyone not wishing to undertake the walk can join the party at the tearoom for lunch.
rotary club: The club was entertained by fellow Rotarian Bill Weeks, who told us about some of the major events in his personal life. Many people will know of Bill from his time as a radio and television broadcaster and his time as both parish and district councillor. He spoke of family members who influenced his life and of events that occurred when he was in Europe and America. Bill considered himself to have been fortunate to have travelled widely and to have crossed paths with fascinating and influential people but he modestly attributed his successes to being lucky and being in the right place at the right time. This week was the special general meeting where the main points of the agenda were the elections of future officers in the club. Secretary William McLaren and treasurer Roger Howell were both re-elected. All of the members were particularly pleased with the results of the elections for future presidents. Jeff Bell-Taylor will be president from June 2013. George Scott, known to many people in the community, June 2014 and John Wilson from Embleton will take the chair in 2015. Continuity is very important to the club as it allows us to plan for the future of the club and it enables us to plan our fund raising and support for local, national and international good causes.