2009 2010 Public Service

Carols in the Square, 2010 of 2009?

Those photographs that Peter Aldcroft mentioned in the first Lions business meeting of 2010? The ones that featured our annual Carols in the Square? It’s likely that this photograph presented in the 2010 Tynedale Christmas Guide, a handy pull-out in the weekly Hexham Courant, was one of those. I do seem to recall that the Courant managed to be a year late on one such image, and it was probably this one.

If nothing else, this page from ‘the present’ of ‘the past’ proves that the events did take place, though it’s not crystal clear that this photo really is of the 2009 event. I’m intrigued too, to clock the carol sheets, which as might be self-evident from the squinting going on, were printed in quite the smallest font possible. I couldn’t wait to create an easier-to-read A4 on card, to facilitate better scanning! But that was to come at a later Carol session, further ahead in the future.

I wonder if I can find a pdf of that file for that later entry, and I wonder too when the bigger font came into play. But at any rate, we can be assured that the traditional Carols in the Square would have been among the very last events presented by the Allendale Lions Club in 2010.

So 2011 is just around the corner, as the ‘noughties’ finish and . . . and, what decade is this one coming on? Some publications will, by the time 2021 comes, call it the ‘Lost Decade’ but as we look ahead, it feels like anything but ‘lost.’

We have exciting times ahead, surely! We as a club will be only some seven years old, or eight during 2011, if you count the organising meetings in the autumn of 2003. But what is also true is that we are, each of us, getting older.

2009 Public Service

The New Bar at the Village Hall

At some p0int during the autumnal months of 2009, at least according to the minutes of the first business meeting of 2010, the new bar was constructed in Allendale Village Hall, as presented to the community by the Allendale Lions Club.

It had taken years of planning to move the bar from its infelicitous position jostling with the food service area in front of the kitchen to a better placement on the other side of the room. The Lions funded the construction of the new bar, which included both a service counter for the fonts and handpumps, and a back counter for the spirits and till. But after an incredibly efficient and professional joinery effort by tradesmen in Trevor Newman’s sphere of influence, I could report to the Lions that the bar was built and was working well.

Possibly its first function would have been to serve at one of the early New Year’s Eve Ceilidhs, and then again for the annual Burns Night Supper around about the 25th of January in the new year of 2010. As time went by, of course, new fonts and services would be added to the framework of the counters (the image above was actually taken five years later, but in my photo library there doesn’t seem to be any record of the original completed work).

Apparently, however, I did make a request for a collective design for the plaque for the back wall, to commemorate the Lions’ contribution. Not receiving any submissions, I pinched a grey frame from one of Nigel Baynes’ cupboards, and created a small memento.

It made sense, of course, to have a dedicated bar area, since by that point the hall had become a fully licensed premises, and Graham Girvan and I were each Personal Alcohol Licence holders. That was a handy licence to have!

Meanwhile, a new bar seemed like as good a way to round out the year as any other, with special thanks to the Allendale Lions for making the facility possible.

2009 Business Meetings Fundraising

Business Meeting

Since there appears to be only the one set of minutes extant from 2009, it makes sense to feature them in the blog!

The most salient bit of information, I think, at this meeting was the report from Ann Potter that she alone, running for the Alzheimer’s Society in the Great North Run, had raised over £1000 pounds! Such a brilliant effort! We were all so proud for her.

Meanwhile, money in the Lions’ Charitable Account was getting relatively tight. Doug Ness, Treasurer, reported that there was some £3,671 available (mind that this was after the Beer and Bands Festival a couple months earlier, and the annual Charity Auction in September!), of which we needed to ring-fence £2000 towards next year’s May Fair. Meanwhile, there were four funding requests awaiting the Lions’ Board Meeting to develop proposals.

Fund-raising efforts over the next few months would be concentrated on Bonfire Night (which typically managed just about to break even), the growing Book Stall to be staffed at the Mini-Market in the village hall, and the Santa’s Sleigh twirls throughout the region with the elves shaking collection tins.

It seemed possible that we needed to re-consider where our best efforts on behalf of the community might be positioned, but with the Bonfire Night only days away, it would be all hands to the deck as new volunteer food preparers and servers were brought in.

And Santa’s Sleigh would be occupying our efforts after the Book Stall shifting had taken place, so there was lots to be getting on with. Just that nagging reckoning that we weren’t bringing in much revenue for distribution to good causes, lately, and what could we be doing about that?

John Dobson reported, with a nod to publicising what the Lions have been doing, that he had taken over the website and would be giving a demonstration of it at our next meeting. And the reports on the pub walk to Haltwhistle, which seems like a rather long trek, suggested that a good time had been had by all who participated.

Apparently there was a break in the meeting proceedings then, as members refilled their glasses from the bar, and there must have been a kind of conversational buzz thereafter because no further business matters were discussed.

Finally the regular toast to LCI (Lions Club International) was raised, and the next meeting, the first Monday of December, would likely see a de-brief on the Bonfire Night activities.

2009 Beer Festivals Fundraising

The Beer & Bands Festival, 2009

The eponymous Beer Festival had been re-branded, this year of 2009, in an attempt I suspect to attract more folks to the event. I don’t know whether the re-branding exercise was deemed to have been successful, or not.

Certainly we all agreed that the Show Ground was the ideal place for such an event, with loud music all afternoon and into the early evening, yet unlikely to disturb too many neighbours. And the opportunity to share the marquee(s) with the Agricultural Show Committee, on the Sunday right after the Show, was too good to pass up.

If I’m not mistaken, this was the year that the lager and cider on tap foundered. I remember this because I borrowed the dispensing equipment, including gas valves, from the village hall bar. Whether the products were too old, going off, or the gas pressure was just wrong and the anti-fobbing devices weren’t working, or whatever, all we could elicit from the fonts was foam. Copious lashings of foam. In the end, we had to retreat to offering chilled cans of Fosters, but to be honest, nobody really seemed to mind. It was just embarrassing to me.

Meanwhile, I believe the barbecue and food service was doing a good trade, and of course the original point of the exercise, showcasing of fifteen real ales from nine breweries, held true. And the bands played on.

I wonder, placing myself in the perspective of 2009, if we’ll be able, as Lions, to keep going with these Beer Festivals, if the financial return is not commensurate with the effort. If the fund-raising is not substantial, I can see that this event might be something that falters. The Tynedale Lions hold an annual Beer Festival in the Corbridge Rugby Club grounds, where they serve some 115 different real ales, and offer many bands for entertainment over an entire weekend. This festival elicits dozens of thousands of pounds in revenue for the club.

We hoped for some significant fraction of that return, but as I recall we never reached more than perhaps a tenth. The friendly bus service put on for the afternoon was not well subscribed, I do seem to remember that dismay.

Well, we’ll just have to see how things turn out, shall we?

2009 Lions Social Events Personalities

Handover 2009

Hard as it is to believe, as hard as we thought we were working, we found we could work still harder, back in the day. Not content with merely baking bread and opening the Allendale Bakery Café, Carrie Winger thought she might be useful in the President’s role for the Allendale Lions Club. Perhaps an ulterior motive was the idea that some meetings might thereby be held in the new café.

Whatever the gambit, the publicity surrounding the handover was a surprise to many in the community. ‘Who was the blonde beside Peter?’ was a common refrain. Carrie was dressed and decorated against the type of her normal persona, but it was refreshing to see her out of the utilitarian baker’s apron and hat.

Margaret Stonehouse and I were jointly taking on the role of vice-president; member recruitment would be an important component of the job. I distinctly remember creating a pocket sort of card to press into the hand of possible new members, as a kind of outline of what the Lions Club of Allendale actually does. Unfortunately, I cannot find any record of the little card today.

I do remember Ann Potter remarking, relative to the mission statement we’d developed for the coming year: ‘Quiet, Unassuming Service’ or some such humble verbiage; that she’d believe the ‘quiet’ part when she saw it! We Lions were never really very shy with coming forward about our accomplishments, of course.

Since the handover event was held in July, that meant that the annual Beer Festival, to which Peter Aldcroft refers in the publicity clip, was imminent in August.

More work ahead then! No rest for the weary, but you know, we loved it, we did.

2009 Public Service

Public Service Publicity

Count on the Courant to get at least one detail wrong, as President Peter Ald[ridge] is shown presenting the new silver cup for the Best Garden in Allendale, 2009. I wonder why John Short’s credentials, then leading the Horticultural Society, weren’t mentioned either?! Perhaps readers were expected to understand why he was there, by implicit osmosis from the attribution of the shared award from that group and the Lions Club of Allendale.

In any event, Nigel Baynes’ famous clipping collection, for which I’m sure that Jonny Baynes must have had a crucial role as well, helps us to recapitulate those delightful times.

In future times, when we don’t take clippings anymore but rely exclusively on social media and online newsfeeds, are we really the richer than we were when the news items were treasured items to fill a scrapbook with? Sometimes the tangible is worth more than we might think, at the time of laying down.

Memories are golden, but if forgotten they turn into so much dross, don’t they?

2009 May Fairs

May Fair, 2009 . . . The Courant Report

Apart from the normal sort of mistakes we grew to expect from the Hexham Courant (good photo there, ‘Colin’ Aldcroft!), the report in the subsequent weekend’s paper was comprehensive, fulsome and gracious.

I imagine that the Catton Line Dancers were particularly delighted with the photo, especially as in their Stetsons they took pride of place in the layout, relegating the Strong Men to the zone over the fold:

Over the years, Colin Briggs, then a presenter for Look North, the northeast’s BBC news programme (that name was correct, at least) has been a regular fixture at Allendale’s May Fair. I’m not sure what sort of head covering he was wearing though, unless it was some sort of a nod to the ‘hat’ theme of the fair. More of a sun protection, I’d assume.

In other years, the staff photographer had managed to capture the start of the Allendale Run, both adults and juniors, but perhaps for this year he arrived later, so that only a delighted winner of the women’s race managed to get snapped. I’d always thought that the synergy between the May Fair events and the Allendale Run was an exceptional demonstration of how local groups worked together.

At any rate, the 2009 May Fair was well promoted, well attended, and well reported. I’d say that the Allendale Lions Club members were well pleased with the effort, and so they should have been!

2009 General Administration Lions Club International

Picking up another 2009 snippet

It’s amazing how easy it is, in an archive that’s not fully organised, but has certain things stuffed randomly in envelopes, to lose salient pieces of information. That’s my excuse, anyway, for missing this lovely letter that Peter Aldcroft wrote to welcome senior Lions from the District to a special cabinet meeting at Deneholme in the spring of 2009. Of course, Nigel Baynes had laminated the letter, so it must have been an honour to host the meeting, something to be remembered. Here it is.

It’s a useful reminder that as a Lions Club, we were conscious that we were connected to the greater world of LCI (Lions Club International), and we shared in this philanthropic effort together. Apparently, LCI is the biggest volunteer philanthropic organisation in the world, as we were doubtless reminded back in the day when the Allendale Club was being organised.

How proud we were of our community, too, as Peter’s note emphasises. We’d helped to make the community sing, as it were, and as I recall Ann Potter mentioning, we never seemed to be too backwards about coming forward with our successes.

I suppose, as well, that the District Cabinet officers may have brought along a pennant, representing their own club, to add to our collection of interactions. That collection is probably languishing somewhere even now.

2009 May Fairs

May Fair 2009: Programme

The programme for the 2009 May Fair was printed on two sides of an A5, with the main day, Saturday, featuring on the front, and the other two days, the Friday and the Sunday, depicted on the back.

That made sense, of course, as the report in the following week’s Courant would only concentrate on the big day itself. But everyone knew, from the point at which the marquee was set up, earlier in the week, and the leaflets were available in the shops, that the event would be going on all weekend.

I’m sure we enjoyed photographs of the biggest T-shirt in the world contest from last year’s May Fair!? So the reprise of that effort on the Sunday must have been another attempt to get into the Guinness Book. I’m afraid I’m none the wiser whether the effort fulfilled its mission. I do hope that everyone enclosed with the big purple garment was also suitably hatted!

However, I can say that Rebecca Dixon, writing up the events on Saturday for the Courant, did us proud. As we did back then, throughout the few days after the cleaning up, we shall have to wait for her report to filter out in the pages of this blog!

2009 May Fairs

Now that’s a full page!

The May Fair Advertising Feature in the Hexham Courant, Friday May 15, 2009

Those were the days, weren’t they?! Hard as it is to believe now, but the local weekly paper was the main source of news about events in Tynedale. And wasn’t everyone eager to participate in the publicity?

It seemed like everything was going right for the community, and the Allendale Lions were in the middle of it. This year’s fair was all about hats. It may have been harking back to the big green hats that were so much a part of the Irish themed fair several years previous, or it may have been a continuation of the best Easter bonnet concept, but whatever sparked the idea, it was definitely a hook to, well, hang your hat on.

On a personal note, it brings a lump to our throats to see that Carrie and I were just about ready to launch the café adjoining the Allendale Bakery down at Allen Mill, in the run-up to the fair proper. We had special hats made up too, baker’s hats with a bright yellow sun emblazoned on a soft green background. I imagine we were too busy down at the bakery to even think about helping out at the fair. But we were certainly participating in the fair theme, after all, ‘wearing a hat for the Fair.’

So we’d have had to wait for the debrief, and the report of the event, in the first Courant issue after the big weekend. I’m not even confident that we’d have been very involved in the planning, as we were that committed to getting the bakery and café going. Everything else seemed to pass us by over that time.

But things did move forward on many fronts at the same time.