2005 Public Service

Christmas Lights and Santa’s Sleigh, ’05

Make no mistake, the configuration of the Christmas lights around the square was quite an operation, between the cherry picker capably operated by Terry Page, and the scampering about on the Co-op’s rooftop by Nigel Baynes and Fergus Sandison, and the helpers who stayed safely on the ground, including Michael Keene overseeing the operation, and Foster Milburn, Graham Girvan, and Trevor Newman.

I’m hoping, as I peruse my way through Steph Jamieson’s delightful photo archive, that the arrival of Santa’s sleigh will also show something of the lights festooned around the square.

Enough of a set of images to get the idea, anyway, as the excitement of the festive season grew to a tumultuous climax, and the tired but delighted members of the Allendale Lions Club reflected back on a big year of service and fun.

Minutes from our meeting early in February ’06 revealed that we’d collected £150 in tins from locals impressed with the lights (which included Kevin Lee’s set pieces) for the Children Cancer Trust via the Ellen Lee Fund. The collections with Santa’s Sleigh (special thanks went to Cliff Calvert reprising his role as the jolly bearded gent) conveyed some £700 to the charity account for good causes.

We’d also found time to hold our own Christmas party, and to renew our commitment to Carols in the Square, with heartfelt thanks to Fran Wraith for the roasted chestnuts.

It was Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

2005 Public Service

Grab-a-Granny for Metro Centre shopping, Dec ’05

The Lions’ friendly photographer must have been bemused by the indulgence in ice cream cones by some of the helpers at our foray to the Metro Centre with ageing locals. But one special scene of helping was captured, and that seems to me to encapsulate the spirit of the service, in all its action blur.

Helping folks to shop for their Christmas gifts, the presents they’d hoped to pass on to their loved ones, must have been a very special kind of joy, even if it came to sharing that slurp of ice cream with a very interested toddler!

And finally, the cheerful coachload returned to Allendale where everyone disembarked safely. Thank yous rang out from everyone, and it felt like the festive season really was upon us.

2005 Bonfire Nights

Bonfire Night & JAVA

The eponymous JAVA made sure to thank the Lions for the great Bonfire Night and Fireworks

I’ve been working my way through Nigel Baynes’ archives of local memorabilia, and being humbled to tears by what he deemed to be memorable enough to file away. I remember creating this monthly newsletter jam-packed with information about our community, but I think it couldn’t have lasted more than a year or so. Perhaps too many other things got in the way. Besides the newsletter I was also compiling an online diary of events, and writing the weekly District Notes for the Hexham Courant. Of course, I was fortunate to have an insider’s viewpoint as I was becoming more intimately involved with the village hall as well, and that began to become obsessive, that pre-occupation.

We were certainly busy back in the day, weren’t we! It’s particularly intriguing to place the Allendale Lions activities in the context of what was going on in the village during the same time. Some day, I’m convinced, historians will pour over these primary sources and all of the wonders of enchanted community life will be revealed once more. Meanwhile, we have our little blogs and other attempts at what I call contemporary social history, and that’s enough to be getting on with.

Generations change, and things are cyclical. I wrote about just this sort of generational upheaval, disruption, dissipation, and finally rejuvenation, this continuous cycle in the life of a community, in a recent entry. What I didn’t mention there, but will try to manage here, is what an incredible joy it was to be part of this vibrancy, this philanthropic and selfless service, while we all had such a lot of fun.

2005 Charity Auctions

Charity Auction 2005

What treasures have the Lions collected together to re-distribute back amongst the community this autumn? It’s all a grand recycling scheme, of course, with proceeds to good causes, always.

Prue Newman and Rosemary Granger are handling the front desk and welcoming folks in, while Jonny Baynes is his usual smiling self. The hall is all set up, and Nigel Baynes is mugging for the camera with cheerful Lynda McGregor and Wendy Blowman. It’s all go!

Let the auction commence . . . Margaret holds up a cuddly sheep for starters, as Christine Hutchinson contemplates the crowds coming in for a warming cup of soup, and this year’s auctioneer Paul Murphy is captured in repose on the balcony. Finally, with Trevor Newman on the computer and a friendly helper beside to collect the winning bids and run them to the back room where the book-keepers keep a tally, the auction is ready to roll.

With any luck the village hall table with its eponymous embroidered logo (AVH), a legacy from Nora Handcock, on the front, will not be part of the lotted sale items!

2005 Lions Social Events

The Hungie, or Nigel’s Tales of the Riverbank

Somewhere, in some of Nigel Bayne’s voluminous files which I’ve just acquired for this blog archive, I hope to find some personal mementos of the big Hungie riverbank hand-over barbecue on the 18th of June 2005, when Lions President Trevor Newman handed the reins of office over to Vice-President Margaret Stonehouse. In particular, I’m hoping to see an image of the floating candles bobbing down the little brook, which is one of my salient memories of that event. That and the midgie nets some of us wore with affected nonchalance.

But until then, these images from Steph Jamieson’s archive will do nicely, thank you! The report on the hand-over party recorded in Prue Newman’s most excellent minutes was brief, which rather suggests to me that a brilliant time was had by everyone, if only we could remember it after all that imbibing.

2005 May Fairs

May Fair 2005c

What these images of the amazing troupe of stilted animals can’t quite show is how windy this Fair Day actually was. The performers up on stilts were really blown about, and if the wind had been less, their presence might have been more obvious. As it was, many folks who were at the Fair commented that they’d not seen this troupe at all. Nevertheless, the stilted creatures were an incredibly zinging feature of the Fair Day, and once seen could never really be unseen.

The Tea Dance folks had a lovely time during the afternoon, twirling around on the big floor laid out throughout the huge marquee. Naturally, the tea and cakes were delicious, and quickly scarfed up.

Yes, it really was Dr Feelgood, the famous ’70s band, here in Allendale’s May Fair on the Saturday night, and rocking the whole marquee!

The May Fair continued into Sunday with an ecumenical service in the big tent, but by that time the photographer must have been completely exhausted|!

2005 May Fairs

May Fair 2005b

Just in case we hadn’t remembered, Davey Humes sends along this logo which was what the 2005 May Fair was all about:

Meanwhile, the traditional events of the weekend were very much in full swing, including the always delightful Pet Show, the Karaoke finals, and the Strong Man Competition.

I imagine everyone who entered their pets was thrilled with the result!

I can’t remember what Paul Shield and friend called themselves, but it was something outrageous, that much would have been certain. I suspect they actually won the Jock McConnachie trophy!

The Strong Man Competition always attracted large crowds, out to watch one or another very strong guys bust a gut for fame. I hadn’t clocked this particularly hold, some sort of pectoral support provided by the spotter?

Tomorrow we’ll try to finish off the wonderful May Fair images from 2005 with a look at the strange and exotic coloured animal stilt-walkers, the Tea Dance, and the exciting gig with Dr Feelgood in the main marquee.

2005 May Fairs Public Service

May Fair 2005a

I think we’re going to need considerably bigger buns if we want to cover all of the exciting events at the 2005 May Fair! The crowd outside the big marquee was watching the music events performed out of the curtain-sider in front of the Co-op:

One of the showcases was the SNAP ’05 group from Brittany, presented by local music promoters Northumbrian Music Nights, as part of an EU-funded project. Another was an exciting local band. The weather smiled on everyone in the square.

During the afternoon, the beer and wine tasting was going down a treat too.

There’s just too much to show in one entry, maybe even in two, of this wonderfully exciting Allendale Fair, so we’ll present another entry tomorrow, and maybe even one more after that.

Look out for the huge puppets mingling with the crowd, the brilliant animal show, the karaoke finals, and the big dance into the night hours. Coming to a cheerful blog entry soon!

2005 General Administration Lions Social Events

Intriguing business

Dawson Place, adjoining the Library, was the 2005 target of the Allendale Scouts group

While we waited for our special bottles and lids imprinted with the ‘Message in a Bottle’ scheme logos, all 6 cubic meters of them or 86 boxes, we were particularly intrigued with the enterprise of the Allendale Scouts group. The Scouts were eager to acquire the venue where they had been meeting, a building belonging to the Methodist church, for renovation to suit their purpose more conveniently.

The Methodists were also keen to sell the property and so the Scouts had been busy eliciting funds from every possible source. We Allendale Lions were keen to support them in their bid too, but we were seeking reassurance that if the bid failed, our donation would be returned to be used for another good cause. At the meeting of 4th April, 2005, Trevor conveyed assurances that such an eventuality would be assured.

Meanwhile, we pre-occupied ourselves with considerations of what other clubs in the country were doing: the national MD105 convention was to be held over the 1st of May weekend; Disclosure application forms were being circulated; Newcastle upon Tyne Lions Club’s 37th (and last) Charter Dinner was being held in Ponteland on 16th April; Lockerbie’s Charter Dinner is scheduled for mid-October; the Kellogg’s Great Walk, a four month collective effort, was seeking intrepid walkers and helpers for just after our May Fair; a new competition seeking to inspire inter-club visits is being launched; the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalger (‘Kiss me Hardy’) was coming up in October, and should we do something about this?

We hadn’t got anywhere with our request for funding for a permanent marquee for the fair, much to our discomfiture.

But perhaps we were most intrigued, at this business meeting, with Maggie Shearer’s idea for a Polish Midsummmer Event, to coincide with the biennial Handover Party: we could have a Maori barbecue and floating flowers to drift down the River East Allen! It all sounded very international in flavour, and we hoped the date could be over the weekend of the 17th and 18th June.

With a few more intriguing bits of Club business, notably our Trevor Newman’s acceptance of the role of Zone Chairman for the coming year, and our collective decision to store our paraphernalia (Charter and pennants) at the Golden Lion, now that the pub’s future was secure (after the Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001, some financial incentives helped a small group of local farmers to acquire the pub), we did, formally, raise our glasses to toast Elsie Eye (LCI = Lions Clubs International), and the meeting was adjourned.

2005 May Fairs

Karaoke Heats

Crucial heats in the run-up to the May Fair

The Karaoke Heats were a kind of drum roll to herald the upcoming Allendale Fair. Not only did they generate publicity for the fair, but they also elicited talented participants who could be winnowed down to an exciting few who would be asked to perform on the big day, for cash prizes.

The schedule shows how ambitious Nigel Baynes’ karaoke team were in their efforts to recruit likely talent:

April 9th, Manor House, Haltwhistle, 4-6pm Juniors, 8-11pm adults

April 15th, Allendale Inn, Allendale, adults

April 22nd, Kings Head, Allendale, 4-6pm Juniors, 8.30-11pm adults

April 23rd, Alston House, Alston, adults

April 30th, “Nothing Like the Buzzcocks”, VH

May 4th, Allendale Youth Project, VH, Juniors 12+ only, 6-8pm

May 6th, Allenheads Inn, Allenheads, adults

May 12th, Golden Lion, adults

May 13th, Allendale First School, Juniors

May 19th, Railway Inn, Haydon Bridge, 6-7.30 Juniors, 8-11pm adults

May 28th, Grand Final at the Fair

Sometimes, perhaps rarely, there were a few photographs taken at these heats. There don’t seem to be any in Steph Jamieson’s photo archive, however, and if there were any distributed during 2005, my email records don’t go back that far any longer, only stretching to 2006!

Perhaps someone will have a few photographs to jog our collective memory? These heats seem to have been a social affair for the Lions who took the bookings, who applauded every contribution, and who helped out on the drinks front in every venue visited. So sometimes the evening would probably have got a little boisterous?!