2008 Personalities

Thanks Cliff

The hardest part about writing these blogs is the remembering of those who we have lost. But this remembrance also helps to keep those individuals alive, I think.

Cliff Calvert probably enjoyed his stints as Santa in the Sleigh popping around the houses more than anything else he helped with in the Lions Club. He would also have appreciated Peter’s wicked sense of humour.

But then, the repartee in the Lions’ Business Meetings was always the most fascinating part of what might otherwise have been rather tedious. Thrust and counter-thrust were usually the order of the day, and gentle teasing of the intrepid Santa was typically a crucial component of the friendly camaraderie that flowed around the table on these occasions.

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 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.

2008 Beer Festivals Fundraising

Beer Festival, 2008

It looked like a lovely ad, on the back page of the Hexham Courant, for what promised to be a really GREAT DAY OUT!

I remember this particular Beer Festival. We tried and tried to get the new gas mixer working for the lager and cider fonts. To my intense chagrin, we couldn’t get any good draft out, and eventually we had to give up on that exercise. Let them drink from cans, we shrugged. And so it transpired.

The real ale, however, was in excellent fettle, and the bands played on. I don’t know how many folks took advantage of the free coach ride on offer from Hexham, but what was true enough was the brilliant attendance. And no wonder, with the sunshine in abundance, live music and gallons and gallons of beer, it almost had to be a good day.

Yet again, after another function that was in many ways an enormous feat of endurance, the Allendale Lions were ready to collapse in a huge pile of delight and exhaustion. I think this event also helped to show how wonderful it was to share facilities like the big marquees, with the Agricultural Show Committee, to the benefit of the whole community.

Certainly, that was the direction your faithful correspondent was heading in, as the Allen Valley Notes were submitted to the Courant by late Sunday evening.

2008 Beer Festivals Public Service

Allen Valleys . . . a tourist destination

The full page ad, featuring the Allen Valleys, in the pages of The Informer, a publicity magazine covering the North-East, was part of the North Pennines LEADER+ (the EU-funded scheme for deprived rural areas) scheme.

Paging through Nigel Baynes’ archive, all neatly arranged, laminated and packaged in large binders, I feel sometimes as if I’m retrieving parts of my own life that I’d forgotten. For my sins, I’d arranged a grant from the EU-funded LEADER+ project to enhance tourism on our patch, and the pages of The Informer that Nigel carefully saved were work from that effort.

Of course, the Allendale Lions contributed especially to events, the special occasions that brought the community together. But the life that went on in addition to those events that somehow made the time so enjoyable, that life was reflected in the long list of attractions on the ad. It’s hard to think about community life without context, and perhaps that’s why laying down the archive was so important.

Later, as we know with the benefit of hindsight, the philanthropic activities of the Lions, in the context of the Dene below the village hall, and the redevelopment of the Recreation Ground, would develop into a significant enhancement of the amenities here in Allendale. Meanwhile, touristic enterprises helped the community thrive.

And of course, it was sweet for the author of this piece to mention the upcoming Beer Festival, hot on the heels of the Agricultural Show, and that, as we know very well, was indeed an Allendale Lions event.

2008 Fundraising Golf Classics

Golf Club Classic

Although the actual date of the 2008 Golf Classic is not clear on this flyer, what is obvious is that the effort was yet another way in which the Allendale Lions contributed to the social fabric of our community.

I was never a golfer, myself, though I do know something of the thrill of whacking a ball straight, high and true down a fairway. Putting, chipping . . . not so much. And rather more slicing into the rough, of course, than the straight and true line from the tee.

But the way the Golf Club, whose members were interwoven with other organisations, especially the Lions, worked towards a special facility, whether on the course itself or in the impressively appointed clubhouse with its environmentally-conscious energy capacity, was salutory. Perhaps it was that dedication to a project that inspired many of the Lions to share in the experience.

Or maybe it was the social interaction, the tipple on the 10th hole (is that what you call it on a 9 hole course?), the camaraderie and physical effort that made the golf course more than just ‘a lovely walk spoiled’ as the old joke has it.

What’s undeniable is that the Allendale Lions loved to engage in projects that bound people together, that helped to build a cohesive community.

2008 May Fairs

May Fair, 2008

It’s taken a fair bit of cobbling together, this collated image of Allendale’s May Fair 2008, as the Hexham Courant published a spread over two pages. But only by seeing the whole spread can any fair justice be done to the delight of this 25th Anniversary.

As I recall, the Biggest T-Shirt effort was done in mostly drizzle, and yet clearly there were blue skies on the day, as the Hexham Courant photographer has documented. I don’t think that any of us could quite believe how Sheila Baynes had managed to sew a contiguous set of torsos with individual arms to accommodate dozens and dozens of fair folks!

The race, organised by the Allen Valley Striders, was a lovely feature of the Fair, as was the regular appearance of the Strong Men. The brass band was also a delightful addition to the day’s entertainment.

Illustrating the passage of time, the Courant managed to find a photograph of young Giles Fairless toasting the event, and smiling the broadest smile ever dressed as a fireman at the age of four, with his father.

Credit went to Nigel Baynes and Brian Newman, featured at the heart of the Courant’s spread, for organising the very first Allendale Fair, all those 25 years ago.

2008 May Fairs Public Service

May Fair, 2008: The Programme

Although this entry is out of synch just now, with a few tweaks I should be able to put it right in its proper sequence, once this entry is published. I discovered the 2008 Fair programme in Nigel Baynes’ big file folder, and thought it would be remiss not to cover it here in the living history blog.

It was, of course, the first time after the Calor Village of the Year accolade that the whole community was able to get together to celebrate, and fair dues, the Lions made the most of the publicity with this year’s May Fair theme.

The programme is noteworthy too because of the list of sponsors on the back, and also because of the three day programme of events.

I also very much appreciated the emphasis, right up there at the top of the programme, on the renovation of the Recreation Ground as the main beneficiary of the weekend festivities.

It was a heady year, all in all, wasn’t it! A noted writer once opined that we should all work as if we lived in the early days of a better country. And to be sure, that sentiment seemed to be a big component of the driving force behind the Lions Club philanthropy; we all wanted to contribute to what we hoped would become a better community, better even than it already was!

Given that in this living history blog I can flit back and forth between past and present, I can also note that when we pass by the Recreation Ground, on our intermittent travels these days, it’s often with an incipient tear in our eye.

2008 Personalities

‘This is my Allendale’

Kay Cooper, who wrote this lovely, enchanting piece about Nigel Baynes and his Allendale, back in the spring of 2008, spearheaded the article with a mention of the philanthropic activities of the Allendale Lions Club. But of course, the dramatic appearance of the profile after the annual Burns Night, and before the May Fair, helped to keep the village and community in the mind’s eye of the region. In the run-up to the Fair, every bit of publicity has always been golden, so for sure Nigel did his part.

Nigel saved the Tynedale Life article very carefully in between the various activities of the Allendale Lions Club, all laminated and pristine in his big folder archive, and so it makes sense to incorporate these pages just as judiciously here in our twenty-year archive as well.

Where would we be without stories recapitulating those events that are such a part of our memory-laden lives? And nobody recounted tales with more aplomb than Nigel, especially when they were on himself!