2014 Charter Events (annual)

March, 2014. Charter Dinner for our 10th Anniversary

Something’s happened to the minutes of our Business Meeting held on the first Monday of the month, Monday the 3rd of March, 2014. They seem to have disappeared, as of this writing.

The meeting may have been rather climactic, however, as it seems that arrangements for the Allendale Lions Club Charter Night celebration event were foundering. It seems possible that other things got in the way, like the delightful Pantomime, and that time ran away from the organisers, or that the evening was looking desperate in terms of bookings. For whatever reason, the eventual report, recorded in the minutes of our April 2014 meeting, was that ‘everyone had enjoyed our meal at Cows Hill.  One member [related how he’d surprised himself] waking up with a spot on his forehead next morning.’

And that, apparently, was that for the Tenth Anniversary of our Charter. All of the Lions members who were at the Cowshill seemed to have been pleasantly surprised: there were no organisational duties, apart from booking the dinner and arranging transport with our local Baynes Travel firm; there was no cleaning-up, tidying of the hall; there were no recruitment issues for junior staff to help with the glassware, or for more senior ones to serve from behind the bar; there was no piper to pay (as in musical entertainment). All we had was a super-good time enjoying ourselves at a beloved family restaurant in the next valley, and we would have staggered back onto a big Baynes bus for the journey home. Simples.

I suspect we all suddenly realised that sometimes too much organisation can take too much effort, and none of us had been getting any younger. We could support a reasonably close local business, and have a good time ourselves.

Perhaps you could say that Charter Dinner 2014, our delightful 10th Anniversary Party, was a coming-of-age for the Allendale Lions Club, a realisation that enjoying each other’s company, eating well and pursuing the craic around and around the table, was an important end in itself. A destination, in other words, that might not have been fulfilled by dogged organisation nor by indefatigable work to make a big evening work in the village hall.

Coming-of-age for us Lions, then, and an intriguing capstone on a decade that, in retrospect, we might think of as ‘The Golden Years.’ The years of innocent endeavour and hard work, of serving our community well and proudly, before the vicissitudes of age and attrition began to hit us all.

Looking back, at what we achieved together, they really were Golden Years, weren’t they!

2013 Charter Events (annual) Creating the Blogsite May Fairs

Publicity for the Fair, 2013

There aren’t many images around these days, or not that I can elicit anyway, of the 2013 Allendale Fair, but Peter Aldcroft kindly forwards this colourful poster outlining all the wonderful events that were anticipated. I imagine that this image will jog a few memories of that day.

In particular, I can’t fathom what a ‘Barra Bash’ is. The minutes of our May Business Meeting suggest that I, or somebody with initials LW, was actually pictured in a barra on the front page of the Hexham Courant, and on an inside Fair Feature page, but I have no recollection of this! I hope somebody will be able to illuminate this odd lapse of memory.

At any rate, as Margaret Stonehouse had suggested, the Fair was certainly shaping up to be a brilliant event, and I hope that the weather was kind.

This seems like as good a time as any to chat a bit about where this social history blog is going. The Allendale Lions blog here at has trundled along quite cheerfully, so far, picking up on Nigel Baynes’ voluminous archive of printed images and press cuttings that he stored carefully in big binders. It seems that the pressure of work in the evolving Baynes Travel empire may have overwhelmed the ambition to keep the archive going, by the end of 2012, and so in the absence of such a treasure trove of images, the blog itself is coming to a crashing halt. No doubt there are hundreds if not thousands of images stored in a variety of Lions Club members’ smartphones and digital cameras, but as is the way of things, this new technology means that it’s not as easy to retrieve them as if they were collated into a yearly archive in a physical binder. Thank you Nigel, for preserving for us such a collection that we’ve been able to present, latterly, in electronic format.

Never mind though about the next decade, the challenging teen years of the club, as we’ve worked on a strategy to preserve something of our original golden years, in a convenient and accessible physical volume. If we can make it, by accumulating enough intriguing snippets of memory from the Business Meeting minutes of 2013, such that we arrive via this blog at 2014 and the tenth anniversary of our Charter Night, then it’s possible that a substantial picture book of this first golden decade might be created.

Similar in size to the eponymous Allendale Diary, but this time in full colour throughout, this book, if indeed it can be cobbled together through the auspices of, may yet be a treasure itself that will repay dipping into from time to time, reacquainting its readers with some of the fun and experiences we had during this period. In a convenient format, anyway.

That’s the current idea, and there are about 9 or so more entries to round out 2013 and bring us to our tenth anniversary.

2008 Charter Events (annual)

Charter Night 2008

Not only my deathless prose immortalised forever in the pages of the Hexham Courant, but a special highlight for the mention of the Allendale Lions Club Charter Dinner, attended by no less a personal eminence than the District Governor!

And so the new year kicked off in some style. I’m not too sure who provided the wit on the night, nor less the wisdom, but I’m quite confident that there was plenty of wine flowing. I wonder if anyone can remember where the wit and wisdom came in? Possibly not, to be fair.

Anyway, 2008 promised to be a year of robust activity, as plans to renovate the Recreation Ground got underway in earnest, thanks to the Village of the Year prize money (£10,000) which would go straight into the new Toddlers Play Space. Additionally, a £5,000 grant secured by the Fawside for environmental renovation would see trees planted in a brilliant garden design contributed and spearheaded by Ingrid Gifford. Furthermore the eponymous ‘Wood if we Cou£d’ LEADER-2 grant secured by the Allendale Village Hall & Recreation Ground charity would contribute to the perimeter fencing above the Dene and the wooden surrounds around the Bowling Green, in concert with the re-paving of the paths throughout the park.

To think that those strenuous efforts by the Allendale Lions to Clean the Dene would see fruition in the reclamation of the Rec Ground for everyone to enjoy!

The District Governor should have been well-impressed by the club’s plans to continue to support the village in every way it could.

2007 Charter Events (annual) Personalities

The 2007 Hand-Over

So the Presidents of the Allendale Lions Club, so far, have been Trevor Newman (Charter President ’03/’04); Margaret Stonehouse ’05; Rosemary Granger ’06. As reported in the Hexham Courant, duly archived in plastic sleeves by Nigel Baynes, Peter Aldcroft took over in the summer of ’07 from Rosemary, who handed over the badge of office while remarking on the plethora of activity we’d managed to accomplish during the past year.

Typically, the president of the club serves as Vice-President for the previous year, and the office rotates through the membership. It’s lovely to be reminded of the way our local weekly paper used to accommodate interesting news from the districts, back in the day. Those times are a thing of the receding past, now, so it’s important to remember just how much publicity the Lions managed to generate, when the print opportunity was there.

I remember the eagerness with which the paper was received, late Thursday afternoon, and reading through my weekly Allen Valley news column to discover what snippets survived the copy editor’s red pen. Heady days. Sometimes, and more times than this blog can accommodate, Nigel Baynes even archived my own immortal words, to my continuing surprise as I leaf through his memorabilia legacy.

But for this issue of the Courant, the very fact of a hand-over was sufficient for a priceless, smiling photograph and a lovely piece accompanying it. I suspect, though I’m happy to be corrected, that it was Peter himself who wrote the press release for this news item, and if so, very well done too, Pete!

On the other hand, those were the days when cub reporters spreading out from Hexham would regularly visit the ‘Dale, notebook in hand, and take shorthand dictation from the interviewees, and furthermore, a photographic opportunity was usually quickly scheduled. We didn’t know how blessed we were, back then, did we?

2006 Charter Events (annual)

Or maybe too much on?

It was our third Charter Night dinner . . . hmmm.

I suspect that things were becoming overwhelming for a fair few Lions Club members, because for the third annual Charter Dinner, the reports were that attendance was down from what had been expected.

Held on the 24th of February, 2006, the evening was said to be a great night, but it was a shame there weren’t more people there! Nor were any photographs taken, apparently.

Various reasons for social event fatigue were proffered: the plethora of similar events; the intervention of the Pantomime season; the Burns Night Supper; the Golf Club Centenary. The simplest answer seemed to be that folks simply couldn’t do everything. But there was consternation; you don’t have to be much of a sleuth to decode the dismay coming through the minutes of the 6th March, 2006. But February had been specifically chosen, Trevor Newman noted, because it was a ‘dark month’ when nothing much happened in the village. It felt like a mystery to try to explain, but perhaps it was a one-off, just one of those things in an increasingly busy village.

Rosemary Grainger was dispatched to collect both possible suggestions for absences and potential strategies to help us create an exciting 4th Charter Night next year, with a full house in attendance.

Meanwhile, there was lots to be looking forward to, including the First Aid course coming up (Fergus Sandison explained that there were only 2 places still available), the social outing to the Golden Lion in St. John’s Chapel at the end of March, the second Clean the Dene event on the 1st of April, and the Karaoke Heats starting up soon.

2005 Charter Events (annual)

2nd Charter Night

The village hall was decorated with aplomb by Maggie Shearer and her indefatigable team, and festooned with banners from Lions Clubs across the region. Trevor Newman delivered his presidential speech, and received courtesy gifts from visiting clubs. It seems that Fergus Sandison rose to accept a chair’s gavel, and then it appears that folks shared in a toast to the visitors, as Margaret Stonehouse, Trevor and Prue Rushman stood to do the honours.

Sue Mills and Julie Humes seemed delighted to smile for the photographer, while Sylvia Milburn engaged Ann and Alistair Potter in earnest conversation, Foster Milburn listening to Giles Dodwell holding forth. George Newman was intrigued with Nigel Coates’ tie, and Hamish Shearer is back at the bar while Margaret Stonehouse smiles with Cllr Ian Hutchinson. Cliff Calbert shares an affectionate moment with Jonny Baynes, and Stephanie Atkinson is listening to Lynda MacGregor (aka WiMo) with a bemused Margaret and Trevor looking on. By this time the photographer must have been getting a little tipsy, because there’s a whole of of shaking going on as Carrie Winger chats with Ann Bacon while Lilly Brennan and Larry Winger smile for the camera.

The 2nd Charter Night ended with a bang, as these dancing group photographs show, and everybody was convinced that the evening, all formal and shiny, glad rags and fancy, had been the social affair of the winter.

2004 Charter Events (annual)

It’s Charter Night!

Working from Prue Rushman’s fulsome minutes of our meeting on the 1st March, 2004, we can see that the Charter Night was a great event!

A variety of gifts received from visiting Lions who attended the party, including block and gavel, President’s Jewel, Welcome Banner, Lion Mascot, pennants, and a Visitor’s Book with engraved title, ensured that we felt well welcomed into the Lions Clubs International federation.

But the group photo wasn’t deemed appropriate to publish in the Hexham Courant, so apparently our local paper ran one of the head table, apparently including Prue herself! We shall have to find that piece too, somehow, if we’re to do our historical sleuthing appropriately (the online Hexham Courant archive doesn’t want to play ball, so that will probably mean a trip to the microfiche store in the library at the Queen’s Hall, if it still exists). That reminds me: somebody must have that group photo, somewhere, so that we can include it in this entry. I’m wondering if someone still has the scrapbook that Steph Jamieson had started many years ago, which must include a hard copy image of the beginnings of the club.

However, and here I must admit to a significant lapse of memory, it seems that one Larry Winger took a video of the entire evening’s proceedings, and later transposed it to DVD for circulation among the members. How fascinating! I wonder if possibly I might be able to discover the videotape, or even the compiled DVD, somewhere in the loft, or in one of the cupboards where these things often languish. I shall try my best, including an interrogation of any of the numerous hard drives mouldering in the porch office, but I can’t guarantee anything. Somebody may, however, have that DVD in their collection, who knows?

Beyond the photographs and the missing video record, I suspect that nobody has much of a memory left of the Charter Night festivities. It was that long ago, wasn’t it? I’m sure I don’t remember a thing, since I hadn’t even remembered I created a video of the proceedings until I read about it in the minutes — thanks Prue!

All comments, fading memories, thoughts and reflections, welcome below the line!