2006 Lions Social Events Public Service

Christmas Activities, 2006

Not only were the Allendale Lions in full swing throughout the seasonal festivities, in their money-raising and public service endeavours, but we also managed to hold our own Christmas party later in the evening after the Carols in the Square, upstairs in the Golden Lion!

The December business meeting, however, is yet another treasure trove of information about our activities. For example, at the annual Mini-Market in the village hall (one of Nora Handcock’s inventions, I believe), some £110 was raised during the first outing of the book stall. These books, inevitably, were the product of some years of collection for the Charity Auction. They simply didn’t go at auction, but rather repaid time spent by browsers looking through, collecting their own treasures, and paying up. Ever mindful of stepping on the toes of other groups, we decided not to schedule too many of these book sales, as the church coffee mornings at St. Cuthbert’s held much the same activity every month.

After several, rather wet forays to Haltwhistle with the sleigh, and bedraggled elves, it was time for the courtly old gent to emerge from the gloom into Allendale’s square, and to take requests from the small queue of children gathered to greet him. You can see how carefully protected the big speakers were, positioned on the little trailer that transported the sleigh.

After all the sleigh forays, and by my count from the minutes there were three visits to Halty, possibly one to Allenheads, and a final two divided between Allendale and Catton, after all of these efforts, it was finally time to enjoy the carols together with the rest of the brave souls who ventured into the night, on the 21st of December along with the Dale Singers, and then to party into the later hours.

The last public service of the year was a volunteer effort by some strong and sturdy Lions as Stewards for the annual Tar Bar’l Parade and Bonfire in the square.

2006 In Memoriam Public Service

The Grrr. . . Newsletter

The front and back pages of the newsletter, to be folded over . . .
The inside pages of the newsletter, revealed when the front page is turned over.

What a very humbling delight, to turn over the page in Nigel Baynes’ carefully laminated archive file, and to discover a pristine copy of the Q4 Newsletter I’d created somewhere toward the end of 2006.

The idea, I believe, was to create a newsy sort of feature, to be given away free at the Post Office in Allendale, so that folks would have a better idea of what the Lions actually were doing around the houses. And also to serve as a notice for the Carols in the Square event coming up.

Anyway, I’d forgotten all about that newsletter, though now that I see it I do recall how pleased I was with it at the time. A quiet labour of love, I imagine.

Time goes so fast, so quickly through our fingers, it seems. We’re here, and then we’re not. The Lions Club held a minute’s silence, at the 34th Business Meeting on the 6th of November, to mark the death of Alan Newman, a member of the Round Table as was. Condolences were sent to George and Joan Newman, and to Trevor and Prue, with flowers from the club, to let these Charter Members know we were thinking of them.

And although there were quite a few apologies from members who couldn’t make it to that meeting, lots of plans were developed to ensure that the Santa’s Sleigh rode again in the upcoming festive season, and that the tradition of Carol Singing in the Square was carried on. As well, of course, as careful consideration of funding requests, which involved the Middle School production of We Will Rock You, the Haydon Bridge High School’s Sunshine Panners, the Allendale Youth Project refurbishment, and the Pebbles Art Café’s section for young people. Each of these projects received £100 from the Lions Club. By this point, the Charity Account boasted only £1000 remaining for disbursement; it had been quite a year of supporting good causes!

2006 Bonfire Nights

Bonfire Night, 2006

The one where Peter Flanagan’s painting, created during the event, was auctioned

I guess everybody knew that Nigel Baynes was so proud of the big field, and he was always delighted to put on the big bonfire night, every year without fail on the eponymous date: remember, remember, the 5th of November.

There weren’t always press releases to herald the event, but this one made it into the archive Nigel maintained so faithfully. I’m intrigued to see that AVOOSC (that’s the Allen Valleys Out Of School Club to you and me) played a big part in the fire this year. And also that hand sparklers were very much a part of the fun yet again; that wouldn’t pass the Health and Safety committee any longer.

But I was sure there would be a photo, somewhere, of Peter Flanagan’s wonderful painting, though I cannot find it anywhere. I’m not sure, either, who the successful bidder actually was. Perhaps it was Nigel himself?!

Anyway, I did manage to find a 2006 email from Nigel which entails just some of the huge organising that always accompanied the bonfire event, and I thought it might be worthwhile to paste the list in below, just to refresh in our minds the amount of work we Lions put in to make this event sing:

Meet at 10am on Saturday, there’s lots to do!

This week’s weather has helped the field a little bit but still very squidgy underfoot.  Could I ask therefore, that we restrict vehicular traffic to 4WD with trailers (driven with care) and that the handler only makes one trip across the field for turf purposes and is not used for the actual building.  Thanks.

* Turf Stripping, Rolling & Stacking on to trailer

* Pallets for Fire Base, Placing of Round Bale & Building of Tunnel.

* Transport of ex-auction Furniture from Green Shed to Fire Site,  Likewise with other builders waste which has been dumped around B.E.

* Kitchen Area to be organised – Fran to advise of her requirements (ie gas rings bbq’s electric points etc)

* Lighting: including colouresd strings and halogens for gates, raffle, food etc.

* Tables etc to be sited for above

* Safety Barriers and Wheelie Bins to be sited.

* Other safety items to be considered – Dave H to advise.

* Fireworks area to be prepared

For information:  The local Fire Crew will be attending from about 6.30, they will park outside the front of B.E. and mingle amongst the people.  After the event they will stand by the Fire Appliance and hand out freebies to the children and information leaflets to the adults.

I have probably missed stuff but this list gives some idea of what’s required.  I think the expression is:  All hands on deck!

It would be helpful if we could also collect the white tables and chairs from Deneholme this week end.  If it’s a fine night on Sunday they may even be used outside the food court.

But what Nigel’s list does not include is the considerable effort involved in clearing up, after the event! The raking of the embers, the trawling through the smoking residue with the wheeled magnet to collect nails, and finally the replacement of the turves so that the field would soon be as it was before the conflagration. Lots of heavy work, for sure.

2006 Charity Auctions Public Service

Charity Auction, 2006

A rather intriguing auction, it seems . . .

Copious thanks to Nigel Baynes, and Wendy Baynes, for saving and forwarding on this archive of Allendale Lions memorabilia. And this was quite an intriguing ad in the Courant, wasn’t it? All sorts of everything. Indeed.

Anyway, the photographs don’t lie: Nigel wasn’t always on stage (he must have been taking photographs sometime?!), but no matter who was taking the bids, the event was a day of entertainment, always. It’s intriguing, also, isn’t it, that the caterers changed from year to year. Lately we’ve been delighted with the catering provided by the Sports Club in support of the playing fields and pavilion, but it wasn’t always them. Along the way we managed to create an event for which the Whitfield Parish Hall, among others, could generate some much-needed revenue.

I wonder what the pub furniture was, on this particular auction day. I’m afraid I don’t remember. Occasional tables, stools maybe? Perhaps this was the end of the Horse and Hounds? No, of course not, this would have been the pub furniture from the pub in Ovington, the Ovington Arms if I’m remembering correctly, that Trevor Newman of Newan Developments took over to create new housing from. Who knows where that furniture eventually went.

I have a few components of pub furniture myself, gracing the Elf Hole up in Sparty Lea, but that will have to be a feature of another entry. I can’t begin to list the auction items featured here at Elpha Green Cottage, acquired over the years, but they certainly kept us comfortable.

Somebody, ah yes, it was Brendon Jackson, who I met at the Household Waste Recycling Centre the other day, and we were chatting about the sad sight of a child’s race car (with pedals!) perched atop the heavy plastic recycling bin, and we remarked how nobody even thinks of recycling anymore. That car would have been a wonderful stage feature at the auction! Certainly an item worthy of attention by the Repair Shop folks. I opined that the Lions had been eager to recycle things in the community for decades, and I wasn’t far wrong. Talk about prescient public service, eh?!

And so the regular events of 2006 are entering their autumnal season. Look out for some bonfire night photos, some Santa’s sleigh, and some commentary as well, in the coming entries for the remainder of this month.

2006 Public Service

Allendale enters VoTY competition

At some point during the late spring, possibly after the 2006 May Fair, the opportunity came along to participate in the county heats for the annual Calor Village of the Year award.

I specifically remember bringing this opportunity to the Allendale Lions Club, where I made the mistake of trying to appear inclusive with the use of ‘we’ as the opportunists. I remember President Margaret Stonehouse picking me up on that designation; ‘Who is ‘we’?’ she asked! I was slightly flummoxed for a moment, until I managed to describe how what was then the Community Council of Northumberland and its comparable partner at Co. Durham had asked for entries, and the request had come in to me, for some reason, perhaps in my role as District News reporter, or as Chair of the AVH&RG charity. I was looking for the support of the Allendale Lions Club in the venture, probably because I wanted to cite the group as an important component of what made life work in the community. In the end, though I cannot find the appropriate minute, it turned out that the Lions were delighted to support the entry, which was sent in to the county organisers on a wing and a prayer.

And later, at the end of August, 2006, we received word that we were the county winners! I don’t think this particular entry, which for our social history blog also includes our own press release and which was later expanded into our rather more comprehensive bid for regional and national competitions, has ever been formally published.

Allendale is Northumberland’s Village of the Year!

Allendale has been named Northumberland’s Village of the Year, in a Calor and DEFRA-sponsored competition under the theme ‘Building Community Life’. The news was announced by a press release published at the website –~>link, on Tuesday the 22nd of August.

Larry Winger, coordinator for Allendale’s bid, expressed delight at news of the award, “People we talk to all over the district of Tynedale always smile, when we mention Allendale, and comment on how much is going on in the village. We thought the Calor Village of the Year competition was a good way to recognise the community activity, and express our appreciation to everyone in the patch for making this village such a great place to live.”

The bid provided a set of tick-box answers to a variety of questions about the village, and opportunity was made available for respondents to describe how their village was special. The description of Allendale provided to the adjudicators, may look very familiar to its residents:

Allendale is a very special place. 

Recognised all over the district of Tynedale as a vibrant, friendly, cohesive community filled with music, art, drama and social events, this working village loves to live. The community website ( provides a flavour of what it’s like to live here, along with some 1000 households in the parish, but the village has to be experienced at first-hand to really understand it.

With four teeming pubs, an extraordinarily active and engaged village hall, two churches, a newsagent, two general shops (Co-op and convenience store), lovely Tea Rooms and a regionally-renowned Gift Shop, a health centre and separate chemist, a new brewery developing within an incipient new heritage centre, two schools (primary and middle), a thriving coach and taxi business, three auto mechanics, builders and handypersons galore, a new childcare social enterprise, a residential conference centre, sports pitches, recreation ground, bowling green, cricket ground and clubhouse, golf course and clubhouse, and new Sports Hall, as well as idyllic walks and recreational pursuits, and well served by local holiday cottages, B&Bs, caravan sites and youth hostel, this busy village in the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is not without its challenges as well.

There are concerns about a boarded up hotel awaiting a buyer in the heart of the market square. The recreation ground has been a source of community worry for the past decade — though a pro-active working group has eliminated dereliction and is trying to develop the two acre site inclusively for all age groups and abilities, there is only one children’s playground on the council estate. The young people in this deeply rural parish need more local activities and jobs. The congregations at both parish church and Methodist chapel are dwindling, and the population is increasingly aging. Several years ago at the peak of the Foot & Mouth crisis, the village lost its petrol station. And can sustainable tourism bring friendly visitors and their financial investment without overwhelming village life?

But, perhaps typified by the camaraderie shared during the annual Tar Bar’l parade and bonfire, which always achieve national renown, the Allendale spirit seems to be to work together for the good of the whole community, and to get things accomplished in a friendly way while enjoying ourselves. 

So jobs in the growing tourism industry sector are regularly turning up and being filled. The youth project within the village hall has helped to fill an activity gap as well. The two schools seem to provide ample evidence of hope for the future life of this intensely rural community a dozen miles from its market town. Regular music events and parties keep the community together, while fairs and festivals offer ample opportunity to work on date-limited projects that provide a real communal sense of achievement and satisfaction upon completion. The community as a whole is very receptive to new ideas and concepts from young people and incomers alike, while treasuring the traditions and strengths of the past. 

At the heart of community involvement are three important organisations, which often overlap in terms of participative membership: (i) the community charity, The Fawside, which has taken on the renovation and maintenance of a residential centre, Deneholme. This charity has brought many hundreds of thousands of pounds of inward investment into the village, and continues to work with everyone in the area of benefit for the greater good of the community; (ii) the Allendale Lions Club, which reflects the community-focused passions of its members in the variety of local service activities it supports; (iii) the community facility charity the Allendale Village Hall & Recreation Ground, which provides inclusive space for a great variety of social activities. These three organisations do seem to underpin and nurture much of what actually goes on in the village, which obviously encompasses political, business, educational, medical and eclectic spiritual groupings as well. 

The organisers of the Allendale bid will be busy, over the next few months, accumulating evidence and support for the regional and national Village of the Year heats, with special reference to the other categories in the competition: Business; Young Persons; Older Persons; Environment; ICT. One thing the village can be sure of, however, is that people will be eager to help demonstrate just how special Allendale really is. 

What was not mentioned in the Press Release, was the delivery of a £500 prize to the charity Allendale Village Hall & Recreation Ground. It turned out that this prize money would be the beginning of a concerted effort to renovate the Recreation Ground for the entire community.

2006 Personalities Public Service

A Courant profile

Back in the day, the Hexham Courant specialised in personality profiles, in-depth stories of individuals who had made, and continued to make, a difference in their communities. After the delights of the May Fair, 2006, it must have seemed only natural for Will Green to write a fulsome piece about Trevor Newman. The Lions were thrilled with the publicity, even if Trevor was probably abashed.

Probably, too, this sort of publicity was a great recruiting tool; local folks may have realised that they could seek out some fun with the friendly Lions Club. After all, the more hands on deck, the less each of us would have to do. And by the summer of 2006, we were certainly doing rather a lot!

And also, you know what? The activity, and the fun, simply didn’t let up! Nigel’s archive, and the minutes of our meetings, show that we got even busier, as the next few years rolled in.

2006 May Fairs

Allendale Fair ’06: The Courant Report

As I recall, Will Green and Joseph Tulip exchanged places over the years as reporters with a special interest in the Allen Valleys. So it was a special delight to find Nigel Baynes’ carefully archived clipping that formally documented the 2006 May Fair, in the treasure trove Wendy Baynes sent along to me via Margaret Stonehouse.

We’ve already presented the photographs referred to in this extensive report, but Will Green’s words help to show what an exciting time it was for us, as organisers and custodians of the fair effort. We worked very hard to help make these events successful, didn’t we?

And this was our third year of the Allendale Fair, which we combined with the delightful beer festival on the Bank Holiday Monday. We must have been getting rather good at this, by this time, but especially we were fortunate to have good weather.

In the spirit by which we blame, or praise, the messenger, it’s only fair to say, Thanks Paul Mooney, for the brilliant weather!

2006 Beer Festivals May Fairs

May Fair ’06: Beer Festival

Nigel Baynes’ Archive comes through with some lovely snapshots of the Irish-themed Beer Festival

I met Doug Ness at the Household Waste Recycling Centre, as I believe ‘the dump’ is now known, the other day as I began to dispose of some of the accumulation in our loft. He mentioned that this blog was getting close to the point when he and Irene Ness joined the club.

And then I was wondering, what was it, in those early days, that compelled so many people to want, to really want, to join our happy band? Was it the excitement of the many activities that we put on together? Was it something that an effervescent community simply exhorted by sheer exuberance: come, join in, have fun! Was it ‘all of the above’?

In those early days, we delighted in everything we did. It was all new, exciting, thrilling even. We were in love with the passion of the time. We were, each of us, making a difference, making a contribution. Perhaps it’s no wonder that there was a constant stream of people, folks like Doug and Irene, who looking on said to themselves, we must join this, we must! Good fun must be infectious.

Like the lady said, when Harry met Sally: I’ll have what she’s having!

Anyway, they were great times, weren’t they? This last image, in which Nigel seems to be explaining the strategy of Stephanie Atkinson’s Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey game, also shows the good time being enjoyed by all.

2006 May Fairs

Allendale Fair, 2006

The Hexham Courant published a full page of photographs from the May Fair, 2006

It was definitely an Irish theme to the 2006 May Fair, and it extended over 3 and a half days, from Friday evening until the late afternoon of Bank Holiday Monday. So we’ll have three entries to do it all justice, starting with some photos gleaned from Nigel Baynes’ laminated archive.

Between the delightful Pet Show and the thrilling Strong Man competition, there were also plenty of friendly stalls, as Stephanie Atkinson exemplifies with her Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey competition.

Everyone loved the annual crowd-pleasers, the Catton Line Dancers, and of course the two little maids in exotic kimonos would have been awarded the Jock McConnachie Trophy for best entertainment.

It turned out that we were rather lucky with the weather for this year’s Fair, as elsewhere in Tynedale the heavens opened, as Paul Mooney, BBC’s Look North weatherperson and also one of the karaoke judges at the finals, would have been aware. We’ll consider these matters in greater detail in our next entry.

2006 Public Service

The second Clean-the-Dene: April 1st, 2006

A bit of time-travelling won’t hurt us . . .

On the 1st of April, 2006, apparently we ventured down into the Dene once again to finish the job of clearing this once pristine fairy glen of all the accumulated rubbish. We started this time from the Recreation Ground, venturing down the steep bank to collect the accumulated detritus and hoik it back up to the top for appropriate disposal.

I was definitely part of this effort, because I remember so well how lovely the fairy glen down there appeared when the junk was gone. I even sent a PR note on our activity to the Hexham Courant (which went unpublished), if my report is to be believed as recorded in the business meeting minutes of May. Unfortunately, my email archive seems to have truncated itself back to only 2007 these days, and I can’t access my own enthusiasms! And there are no photographs about, it seems, of that second Dene Clean adventure. Hence the time-travelling image heading up this entry.

We couldn’t know the future, not back then, but less than fifteen years hence the Dene Woodland would be opened up with a path and a lovely bridge across the burn, thanks to a huge Landscape Partnership grant to the North Pennines AONB. That process is recounted in 2019’s Allendale Diary. But would that future have even been contemplated if we intrepid Lions had decided to pass on the Dene Clean effort? Or was that effort itself the impetus to create a better access to woodland nature, right in the heart of the village?

I guess the point of today’s entry in this ongoing social history blog is that when we work as if we’re living in the early days of a better village, we are!