2011 Business Meetings

Wrap-up of 2011

It really is fascinating to read the minutes again, some many years after the event! It’s especially intriguing to read the looking-forward entries, and then to compare those with minutes ex post facto, when the proposed events have, or haven’t, actually happened.

It seems, for example, that the Mystery Trip, aka Grab-a-Granny, did in fact venture around Rothbury, Seahouses and Morpeth. In the absent minutes of November, 2011 (which I can’t find), we must have decided to purchase the cherry-picker, which proved very beneficial indeed to consolidate the lights on eight trees. Indeed, the ancient machine was actually reported to be working well!

The book stall at the November Mini-Market had elicited more funds, as had the various trips around the houses with Santa’s sleigh, which was newly reported at this meeting to have been £475. Apparently, after the Mini-Market, Trevor and Prue had offered space in their garage for the book storage, which was noted with grateful thanks from the Village Hall Committee.

Looking ahead, plans for the Burns Night near enough to the 25th January were well consolidated already. As I recall, it was thought that if these plans were not in place before New Year’s Eve, it would be a challenging job to arrange everything thereafter from scratch.

Not only the Burns Night, but Margaret Stonehouse had already organised the first Fair meeting for 2012 in mid-November!

As the time came for Any Other Business, on behalf of all the club, Margaret congratulated Stephanie Atkinson for her recent honour in the Queen’s Birthday List, the MBE, for services rendered to Higher Education.

2011 Business Meetings

The last quarter’s business in 2011

To be honest, I don’t know where the old cherry-picker had ever ended up, after its use over a couple of years in the installation of festive lights in the trees around the square. So this photo of a similar sort of ancient contraption will have to suffice.

The first mention I can find of the investment that the Allendale Lions would make, of an ancient cherry-picker, is in the minutes of our 88th meeting in October, 2011. As usual, the matter was opened, and there it would rest for weeks or even months, until we decided that we’d come to some decision. But Peter Aldcroft was already getting antsy about time constraints, with only another six weeks left before the lights needed to be up.

Meanwhile, along with funding requests that went forward to the next Board Meeting for careful consideration, the date for the Mystery Trip was mooted for the 25th of October, which was suggested to involve coffee at Rothbury, lunch at Seahouses, and a shopping exploration around Morpeth on the way home.

After the Charity Auction’s profits recorded at £2,755, and the purchase of fireworks for Bonfire Night, the charity account balance was £4,338. Peter wondered if we could be aiming for a fund-raising ambition of £100,000, cumulatively, with which we could celebrate our tenth anniversary in a couple of years time.

Meanwhile, plans were afoot for the Carols in the Square event (22nd December), and Fergus Sandison was organising for the Backworth Colliery Band to play again, but the logistics of chairs and the printing of the carol sheet would have to be developed more smoothly this year.

Apparently the books in bread crates stored in the far corner of the committee room at the village hall were taking up rather a lot of space! Perhaps they might be stored in the dry basement, after the Mini-Market event in November?

Finally, business and reports concluded, it was time once again to toast Elsie-Aye, aka Lions Club International.

2011 Personalities Public Service

Goodbye to a beloved member

As we’ve seen in earlier entries, Graham Girvan created a great role for himself as the Town Crier at various May Fairs. And yes, indeed, he did have a very loud voice.

As Glynn Galley reported in the Hexham Courant’s VILLAGE NOTES, for the Allen Valley, Graham and Marc Adams had finished their Mongolian Rally adventure by the end of the summer, relinquishing the little car so that Graham could get himself off to a new dream life in Kenya. The mention of Keenley, in one of Peter Aldcroft’s special plaque commemoratives, was an in-joke among fellow Lions Club members.

But it was hard to say goodbye to a Charter Member, even though everyone wished him well. It’s fair to note, too, that one of Glynn’s many public-spirited efforts was to work on the new Housing Association that carved out three new residences from the old Deneholme Annexe, which was part of a contributive social enterprise ethos, in the context of affordable housing, that we all could subscribe to.

Graham and I were the two original Personal License holders for the service of alcohol at the Village Hall, newly designated as a permanently Licensed Premises, having availed ourselves of a subsidised Bartender’s course in Teesdale. When Graham left, I was the bartender for the Lions new bar, until my service eventually finished, and I missed his friendly support thereafter.

2011 Beer Festivals

Delightful brews . . .

The Hexham Courant was really rather brilliant at reporting bigger events at communities within its catchment area. Our local weekly may not have been the most accurate, all of the time, but it did have a good heart, most of the time.

On the matter of the funds actually raised at the Beer and Bands Festival, however, the likely sum, as mentioned in the article after the event, was probably communicated by an over-enthusiastic Lion, so we can’t blame the paper for that one!

In the event, as reported at the September business meeting, the actual profit from the festival was some £800. This money also included proceeds from the book and video stall run by Prue Newman, which was an extra fillip of interest to folks wandering around and through the big marquees. Especially those who may not have enjoyed one or another of the bands.

But in fact, the numbers attending the festival were down by 20% from the previous year’s effort, and the sale of drinks was down by some 30%. What was that we were mentioning about austerity biting?

Fund-raising, it would appear, was going to be challenging, in future, when folks were tightening their belts all over the place.

2011 Fundraising

Great North Air Ambulance: Cheque #2

What was that we were chatting about, an entry or so ago? Slow news month at the Hexham Courant? What better way to fill the pages than to present the same photograph, with the cheque holders slightly re-arranged, as a new news item!

No doubt there were rather a few chuckles from the Allendale Lions, by the end of that August, as the redundant publicity keep coming in, over and over again!

We can be grateful, too, that Nigel Baynes saw the humour in the repeated photograph, and carefully saved both for posterity.

I may not have been correct in terms of where the money for this year’s cheque to the GNAA came from, in an earlier entry, but I’m quite confident that the second photograph was not, was most definitely not, a second tranche of money. No, no, no. It was the same money, announced for the second time!

I wonder if successive central governments may have caught on to that gambit? Certainly there were accusations flying around, throughout the 20-teens, of deliberate presentation of funding as ‘new’ when in fact the news was merely recycled from previous funds.

The local answer, of course, was not that it was all a devious ploy. No, it was just our beloved local weekly, in its characteristic way, bumbling along nicely, thank you.

2011 Beer Festivals

Publicity for the Beer & Bands Festival, 2011

So great an event, they had to repeat the publicity blurb! The Hexham Courant must have been having a slow news month, since over the course of a fortnight, our local weekly managed to feature the Agricultural Show and accompanying Beer and Band Festival, not once but twice.

The ads were out in both The Crack and The Informer, the regional publicity magazines.

What we may not remember, of course, is that the decade of austerity was probably just starting to bite; George Osborne had ushered in the belt-tightening regime as the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition assumed government in 2010. Perhaps the Courant had already started to lay off parts of its staff, and the paper was desperate for news items.

Or, and this seems more likely, both the Agricultural Show, and the Allendale Lions Club, sent press releases in to the paper, which went with both!

2011 Fundraising May Fairs Public Service

Great North Air Ambulance: Cheque #1

The Hexham Courant’s District News pages for the 5th August, 2011 issue, featured another cheque presenting opportunity, as Margaret Stonehouse, Chairman of the Fair, and Richard Snowdon, President of the Allendale Lions, showed off the funding said to have been realised from that year’s Fair (that would have been the Noddy one).

I can’t remember a May Fair ever raising such large amounts of cash, and yet the reporting may have been correct. Certainly the raffle was a big money-spinner, always, and the revenue from the stalls and the karaoke was consistent.

Moreover, by the beginning of September, the Charity Account funds still stood at £3,572.49, as reported by Treasurer Doug Ness, and that was after the cheque had gone out to the GNAA, but before the annual Charity Auction which always raised in the region of £3,000+.

I rather suspect, hand-on-heart, that the GNAA cheque of 2011 was a carry-over from the fund-raising efforts of the previous year gone.

2011 Business Meetings Fundraising Golf Classics Public Service

Golf Club Classic: Presentation

In what must have been one of his first official acts as the new President of the Allendale Lions Club, Richard Snowdon looks delighted to be presenting a cheque for £600 to Cancer Research UK, along with members of the Lions, and Allendale Golf Club.

It’s good to see such smiles, too, from everybody seated around the table in the lovely clubhouse. Not everyone was named, in the accompanying blurb, but it’s important, I think, to recognise Norman Harris in his golfing gilet, in between John Dobson and Colin Wraith. To Colin’s left, of course, Doug Ness and Peter Aldcroft gave excellent bracketing smiles as well.

According to the Business Meeting Minutes #86 (September, 2011), carefully noted by Secretary Irene Ness, there had been some consternation between the expectations on the Golf Club side and the Lions’ wish to generate funds for the cancer charity. Following discussions with the Golf Club, it was agreed that the proceeds of the Classic should be split 50/50 between the Golf Club and Cancer Research. Apparently, the matter was smoothed over because the proceeds from the bar on the day had exceeded expectations (quel surprise!), so that the photo opportunity and big cheque, when the Lions had topped the donation up, came to a similar amount for each concern. Whew!

I like perusing the minutes, in these circumstances, because with a little effort they reveal something of the social history of a community, how folks adhere and work things out together.

2011 Business Meetings

New officers for 2011

There had been some consternation in the club, over the previous months, as to when appropriate elections might occur, whether the President might have to have been elected as Vice-President before they assumed the leadership role, and when the actual hand-over might happen. In the event, however, it seems from Irene Ness’s minutes that the actual election went ahead without further hiccough, and the new officers were in place before the Fair.

That must have been something of a relief, to outgoing President Carrie Winger, as the duties down at Allendale Bakery & Café were becoming overwhelming. Clearly, the end of her stint was at hand.

Everyone was delighted that Richard Snowdon was elected as President for the forthcoming year! Sylvia Milburn graciously accepted the role of Vice-President as well. The rest of the officers, as noted in the copy above of part of the minutes, were re-elected in place.

But the election, though it was held at the beginning of the meeting, was not the entire business of the session, not at all. Along with the regular matters arising, like the final arrangements for the Fair (for which Peter Aldcroft indicated that the Courant had really ‘gone to town’ on the pre-publicity), the Handover/Charter evening (at the Cowshill on 11th June), the prospective activities of the Golf Classic (scheduled for 30th July), the Grab-a-Granny trip, and the Beer and Bands Festival, the Charity Auction (booked for the 24th September), a major point of discussion was the matter of the foundering Village Hall and Recreation Ground.

Apparently the charity was losing user groups, and bookings for functions were also decreasing; hence revenue streams were compromised, and the institution was in danger of becoming insolvent. This was becoming a serious concern to the trustees, and worthy of the Lions Club’s attention. The Lions agreed to enhance their representation on the management committee, and to help where feasible with the ongoing maintenance of the facility.

And then, with the Allendale Fair less than a month away, the toast was raised to LCI.

2011 May Fairs

Pre-Fair Publicity, 2011

The publicity machine was cranking along as normal in the run-up to the annual Allendale May Fair, held, typically, on the first weekend of June. It’s intriguing, as always with these promotions, to consider the different enterprises wishing the organisers all the best.

We’d discovered with an early (1932) tourist booklet promoting ‘The Roman Wall District’ in an entry of the eponymous, that few if any of the businesses advertised at those times are still trading today. But considering the date of this primary source compendium of active businesses, it’s a delight to clock that a good number are still active as we compile this archive, more than a decade later. My count is ten of the twenty 2011 advertisers are still with us in 2023.

Anyway, the theme for the 2011 Fair was to be Noddy and the Toy Town residents, I guess. The Drama Group this year was expecting to perform a major component of the Fair, with shows on all three days featuring Bobby and Big Boots.

In fact, I can’t remember a single thing from the 2011 Fair. Perhaps we were too busy struggling to survive down at Allen Mill, by that time. I hope a careful trawl through the Business Meeting minutes before and after the Fair will yield up some priceless nuggets of information about the actual event; there are no contemporary photographs of the day in Nigel Baynes’ wonderful archive, which is dwindling to an end.