2008 Personalities

Thanks Gloria and Ian

I’m indebted to Margaret Stonehouse for identifying the friendly hosts at The Golden Lion in 2008. Gloria also provided the weekly luncheon for the Lunch Club at Allendale Village Hall, but Pete’s friendly ‘fun certificate’ saluting their kind hosting of our monthly business meetings, upstairs at the Lion, was a recognition of their service to our club.

So the pun in the title makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?! Very few of these Thanks pieces went out to non-members, over the years, I believe, and perhaps Pete was particularly intrigued with the punning potential of this one, but for whatever additional reasons the point remains that ‘mine hosts Gloria and Ian’ did take good care of us.

As I recall, there were persistent issues with the roof of the building, over this time, that might have finally resolved several landlords down the road. Running a public house is not the piece of cake some folks assume it to be, so a regular evening session with twenty or so Lions busy upstairs over a first, and usually a second round of drinks, must have been a good regular customer base. We Lions paid our dues to our hosts in drinks, certainly.

2008 Personalities

Thanks, Stephanie

It was always a special delight for the members of Allendale Lions Club to recognise accolades received by someone in our midst, but Stephanie Atkinson’s receipt of an MBE for services to education, and recognising her contribution to Design & Technology departments at every level, was salutary.

So we all applauded her when Pete’s ‘fun certificate’ recognised her lifetime achievement. Quite how she managed to combine her unstinting work at the university with her public service in Allendale, and most especially as Secretary, had already by this time become an unfathomable wonder.

To say nothing of the love and labour involved in caring for her beloved Hungarian Vizslas!

One of the great things about Pete’s certificates, apart from the team building of course, was the way each certificate highlighted the unique personality of the recipient. So as a club, working away in so many different areas of Allendale life, we were blessed with a surprising variety of personalities, all of which, combined, made for a vibrant, effervescent club.

Especially when members were able to relax, after their organising duties around and about the houses.

2008 Personalities

Thanks, Larry

Apparently, and most likely thanks to Nigel Baynes’ fondness for re-interpreting various casual remarks that his friends might have uttered, I became well-known for murmuring ‘Oh dear!’ at any opportunity.

I don’t think this is a life-long aphorism, to be honest, but I do recall that I used the phrase rather a lot over these golden years of the Allendale Lions Club existence. I might even have used them as a sort of apology when I drove out of the Hen House yard pulling Nigel’s trailer with the rear door banging on the ground. I must say, Nigel was nearly apoplectic when he encountered me parking up at my destination, the Village Hall.

Fortunately, no harm was done, and the trailer and its gate lived to serve another day [whew!]. But Pete must have cottoned on to my idiosyncratic murmurings, and so, in high chortling mood, he presented this ‘fun certificate,’ framed of course, to a very bashful me. I still don’t know what work I might have done to deserve the certificate, but it still sits in my little study eyrie to this day.

It did feel like the acknowledgement of members’ foibles, and their strengths, was an important part of team building within the growing club. Thanks Pete!

2008 Personalities

Thanks Graham

So it was the avuncular Graham Girvan, this Christmas, who braved the vicissitudes of Santa’s Sleigh and entertained children’s wishes for their Christmas list on the circuits around Haltwhistle, Bardon Mill, Catton and Allendale and Allenheads.

It would never do, of course, for the kiddies to hear a ripe Anglo-Saxonism emerging from the bewhiskered face of the ancient old saint. But Pete kindly supplied the sentiment that Graham no doubt had felt at numerous times in the course of the season.

As a fellow taxi driver in the Baynes collection of old reprobates, I recall hearing of one particularly robust string of words when Graham slept through his morning call, and there was also that time at the end of a superb Burns Night Supper when I sought, from the audience, to thank Graham for his excellent compère service, to be brushed off with an excellent Scottish riposte. But we were all four or five sheets to the wind, of course. No harm done in any case.

I don’t recall how Graham responded to the ‘fun certificate’ awarded to him by President Pete, but I have my imagination!

2008 Personalities

Thanks Margaret

Peter Aldcroft’s presentations of his ‘fun certificates’ during October of 2008 were richly deserved. Certainly the public persona of Lions enthusiasm, friendliness and eagerness to accommodate was reflected in Margaret Stonehouse’s constant vigilance on the collection and organising front, and background, of the annual Charity Auction.

Although Nigel Baynes was the public face of the auction on the day itself, Margaret fielded all the enquiries about donations to the store for eventual disbursal at the sale. She also organised the collection teams to go out and gather up the chattel.

Of course there was a small host of volunteers working through the auction season, in the run-up and after in final dispersion of unwanted goods, but over it all Margaret worked to keep things running smoothly. This effort was all in-between organising school runs and driving herself. I think her major effort on bus washing duties came into play about this time too.

So we all clapped for her when Peter presented the certificate. I see that Nigel has had these certificates on display, pinned to a notice board somewhere in the Baynes empire, before they made their way to his archive treasure box. Perhaps somebody will remember where the name ‘Smart Bird’ came from, that Pete used for this one.

Meanwhile, another thing to ponder is that Margaret is one of the very few, if not the only Lion, to garner in not just the one, but actually two presentation ‘fun certificates’ from Peter’s imagination. Good for you, M!

2008 Public Service Uncategorized

If you want an omelette . . .

Things are getting decidedly ropey in the archival calendar, between 2008 and 2010. Nigel Baynes had kindly preserved this delightful clipping of the activity in the Recreation Ground before the big renovation programme could commence in earnest. But there’s no date to peg the activity to!

As I recall, first the chrysotile hard sheeting panels on the old Band Hut had to be removed. Thompson’s of Prudhoe kindly provided a skip with a lid in which to deposit all the broken pieces that had been carefully smashed away with a constant hose keeping the dust down and a safety mask for the smasher. After that watershed weekend, it was less of a hassle to demolish the frame of the old building, though the footings proved to be more of a pain.

But it seems to me, judging by the posters brandished by friendly Lions and young people, that this publicity piece must have been published during the spring before the 2008 May Fair, considering that the main beneficiary of that year was to be the Recreation Ground and its development. If this is so, then we Lions were certainly putting our effort where it could be most useful! And I shall have to revisit my blog publication dates again to place this entry in the run-up to the 2008 May Fair!

But the delight when the old Band Hut and its footings were finally eliminated from the ground was palpable among the charity’s trustees. No longer would that desperately unsafe structure be a magnet for anti-social activity. With special thanks to Giles Dodwell for running the big JCB, and the Allendale Lions Club engineering department for organising the big demolition day, the hut was finally eliminated.

Granted, much of the footing structures are still there, buried conveniently underground. Out of sight and out of mind, though they would pose some consternation to the builders erecting the play areas and swing sets, at a later date. Without the Lions’ contributions, of course, the Rec Ground development might well have foundered before it could even begin!

We certainly smashed some eggs though, didn’t we?!

2008 Personalities

Thanks Julie

The Beer Festivals down on the Showground were some of the best weekends we Lions experienced, though the work involved was so immense that we later moved back to the Village Hall, or to the square, before we decided that we were too old and tired to keep the effort going.

Julie Humes, Allendale Youth Project Coordinator in addition to her Lions Club membership, was commended by Peter Aldcroft in the autumn of 2008 after another such wonderful Beer & Bands Festival.

The idea was that the continuous programme of music, freely offered throughout the day, would elicit more consumption of the various beers on offer, so that the show would pay for itself and perhaps raise some money for our charitable distributions. To that end, it was important for the bands to be of reasonable quality, though it was also important, everyone agreed, that we offer a platform for young emerging talent to display their prowess. I believe there was always some stipend, if only for travel, to the bands that were featured, which felt like a good investment on behalf of the Beer & Bands committee, towards the music.

As Peter’s photograph showed, of course, the crowd was good-natured, enthusiastic, and everyone had a good time throughout the day.

2008 Personalities

Thanks John

Kicking off the Christmas Party, it must have been, when Peter Aldcroft, President, passed out several of his ‘fun certificates’ to various Lions.

In the case of the Kite Festival, which John Dobson created and organised virtually single-handedly, the delight was universally shared around the club.

It was especially intriguing to send one’s favourite teddy bear up into the clouds, to be released remotely so that it might float gently down to earth dangling beneath an open parachute. Of course, our Lion mascot went for a ride as well.

Over the years, it’s fair to say, our mascot has occasionally gone missing, but as far as I know, writing from the perspective of 2023, it’s always been found again. Think of the adventures it’s had, pushed and pummelled into various settings, cupboards, high skies and auctioneer’s tables!

And we’ve all grown older together.

2008 Public Service

The Kite Festival, 2008

The report in the Hexham Courant, apparently by that famous entity, Staff Reporter, was probably written as a Press Release by Peter Aldcroft, President at the time!

Just at the moment, and for the foreseeable future until I can recover some of my historical emails going back to at least 2006, there’s a great paucity of documentation on many of the meetings we held during 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately, my ‘time machine’ storage device is itself packed away in store for the time being, so we’re likely to be depending on whatever I can glean from Trevor Newman’s otherwise copious archive of minutes, which have a gap of about a year between October ’08 and November ’09. It seems possible that the minutes weren’t actually circulated by email, during this period, anyway, unless a faithful Lion able to interrogate their own historical email treasure trove can disabuse me of that fear?

Fortunately, I’ve been able to discover some mis-filed clippings in Nigel’s folders, and I’m so delighted! The re-launched Kite Festival, in particular, with the salient information on the hiatus in many local events caused by the terrible Foot & Mouth Disease epidemic, helps us to place that event in the context of contemporary circumstances. Oh, and did somebody mention the awful weather that managed to cancel the kites in the previous year?

But the Kite Festival weekend in 2008 looks to have been a great success, which clearly helped to assuage the hurt from missing out on the two earlier years. I especially enjoyed seeing our bear mascot immortalised on a kite string as it sailed higher and higher before its parachute was deployed and it drifted gently back to earth.

In the July 2008 business meeting, the Lions had taken possession of Sid Martin’s portable bar, which no doubt was put to work under host Michael Stonehouse’s supervision. And in these days before the Allen Mill renovation had become accessible and Allendale Bakery was launched, its predecessor the outside catering enterprise Pennine Picnics was working hard to provide good nourishment over the weekend.

Lovely as well to see John Dobson fêted for the success of the event, which was a well-deserved tribute. And, of course, the wind up at Churchlands did not disappoint. I’m given to understand that they rarely do!

2008 Business Meetings General Administration

Catching up with Business

With so many images in Nigel Baynes’ archive folders, it’s been easy to amble through the years without looking too closely at the minutes. But the images for 2008 have dwindled, and succeeding years look to be getting just a little sparser, so it must be time to fall back on the regular monthly meetings to re-kindle those memories.

I remember chatting with Dave Stott at the Household Waste Recycling Centre, so it was great to welcome him as a prospective new member at our October 2008 meeting.

Correspondence and Grant Requests: At this meeting, we agreed to send £500 to the Morpeth Flood Appeal, as well as to support local groups Allen-Dale-Archers, the Haydon Bridge Christmas Trees Appeal, Awesome Productions for sound gear, and Pebbles Art and Music Event (MyLoop).

On Community Service, the report was effusive in thanks to Margaret Stonehouse (Steptoe) and Stephanie Atkinson (Prof Gloucester) for their unstinting help with the previous week’s Charity Auction, which raised some £3000 for good causes. Additionally, a Golden Oldies Summer Trip provided a good time for all who came. Glynn Galley had secured the Backworth Colliery Band for the first time to help out with our annual Carols in the Square, and plans were afoot for Bonfire Night.

More Fund-raising (Hilary Aldcroft suggested a more streamlined and higher revenue generating gambit on the Santa’s Sleigh twirls; the Book Stall under Prue Newman’s supervision will feature at the November Mini-Market in Allendale Village Hall) was discussed. Incidentally, this coming festive season would feature Graham Girvan as the Santa, an announcement that was apparently met with rapturous applause!

On the Fun & Games front, apparently there had been a Pub Walk to Blanchland in horrendous weather, but the walkers reported good spirits (and not only those in the destination!). A reprise of the Wasdale Weekend was mooted for summer of ’09, and the Kite Festival upcoming soon was hanging in the balance of the weather reports.

There had been a lot of Publicity about the Lions lately in the Courant, Pete Aldcroft reported, as well as in Spotlight, the regional Lions newsletter.

In Any Other Business, Larry (that’s me) mentioned the new Christmas Party scheme developed as a fund-raiser for the Village Hall, aimed at groups. I imagine the hope was that the Lions might consider holding their annual Christmas Dinner event and support the hall at the same time.

Prue’s conscientious attention to the Spectacle Receptacle and the glasses re-distribution scheme was applauded.

Finally, the question was raised: should we share our meetings around at the various venues that have a meeting room? We agreed that we enjoyed having a regular base for our monthly business confabs, but that others, as for example at the Crown in Catton to discuss the Carol Singing logistics, would ideally be held at other places.

I’m sorry I do not know who the Recording Secretary was for this month/year (does anyone recognise the minutes style?), but doubtless we drained the dregs of our glasses in a final toast to LCI.