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!