Latest news from Berwick Rotary Club

Berwick Rotary Club is to invite speakers to talk to members and help raise awareness of mental health problems.

Thursday, 31st March 2016, 9:18 am
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2016, 9:22 am

At a club council meeting, Michael Richardson said the club had already helped financially.

There are difficulties in the North East and there have been tragic instances in the local area. He said it is worth trying to make the public aware of the problems, and by bringing highly qualified speakers to the club, they can explain how to tackle them.

The club council agreed to support a request from Lydia Lee to help towards the expense of staging a play at The Maltings in Berwick on July 1.

It will be based on The Accrington Pals, who fought and died in the Battle of the Somme. The play will be performed 100 years to the day after the event.

District governor Terry Long has thanked the club for its donation to his project in Sri Lanka. The target is close to being achieved.

Entries are coming in steadily for the Spirit of Sport, the annual event to be held on May 8.

And Ways and Means chairman David Ross reported on the success of a charity quiz at Berlino’s. It was well supported, with nine teams. Money raised will go to local charities.

The next big event is the Party on the Parade, which Rotary runs alongside Berwick Bloodline Group.

The annual Junior Schools Poetry competition was held in Holy Trinity School, with up to seven schools taking part. The winner was St Cuthbert’s School.

It was reported that Rotary Way was coming along well, and the council agreed that hedges should now be cut back and a fallen tree and branches removed.

Berwick club will again represent England in the Rotary World Curling Championship in Grand Prairie, Canada.

Sports committee chairman Ian McCreath is leading the team and the council agreed to buy blue baseball caps, with the Rotary badge, to present to all their opponents.

Members were delighted at a 90 per cent attendance for the visit of the mayor and sheriff.

• Gunsgreen House at Eyemouth made a surplus for the first time since it was opened to the public last season.

Now the building, known as The Smugglers’ Palace and House of Secrets, is preparing for an exciting new project.

Curator Tony Bolton, guest speaker at Berwick Rotary Club on Tuesday, revealed that a feasibility study is being prepared for a new visitor centre, a larger shop and a restaurant.

In early April 2016 there will be an exhibition of John Bellamy paintings.

Mr Bolton said visitors’ help, along with generous donations, enabled it to survive.

They were working hard as trustees to maintain the momentum.

The house, built in 1763 by John Adam, was refurbished in 2009 and five floors are now open.

In the 18th and 19th centuries it was renowned as the centre of tea smuggling.

In 1784 an Act slashed the tea tax from 110 per cent to 12.4 per cent and smuggling stopped soon afterwards.

The speaker said the house, with its revolving fireplace and its secret tunnels, appealed to people of all ages, and the Bellamy paintings were likely to draw in many new visitors.

Many famous people had connections with Gunsgreen House, and Mr Bellamy and stage and screen star Stanley Baxter were founder trustees.

The site also has its own Smugglers’ Trail.

Club president Chris Budzynski congratulated former club president and secretary Les Landels and his wife Joyce, who celebrated their golden wedding on March 19.