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.
When we were forty strong, and many things were so different, it seemed that the status quo would continue for years ahead. The club did continue, of course, but there was a gradual attrition, and as I look over the list of members back when Margaret Stonehouse was running the Golden Lion with Michael, I can see who has departed, and who is still with us.
So this is a useful document not only for the heartfelt thanks to an in-house proprietor, but also as a record of the club’s growth. Indeed, this exercise, this ongoing social history of the Allendale Lions Club, may prove to be a kind of valuable primary source, decades hence.
I’ve always thought that like individual lives, there is waxing and waning of organisations, times for frantic effort, and time to chill and recoup. If this little blog helps to trace this process, it may be an intriguing pointer to the future as well.
I’m reminded of that infamous jeweller who destroyed his business with one unfortunate quip (ah yes, it was Gerald Ratner, wasn’t it!). And yet, Peter is absolutely right . . . the annual charity auction does consist of just so much dross, as in fact everyone knows very well. So there’s never much chance of doing a Ratner on the auction by telling it like it is. On the other hand, we’ve always thought that the public service was in the contemporary mode of recycling, and besides, the day is such intriguing entertainment.
For some reason, can’t think why, the advent of the Lions bar and real ale on draft for the day seemed to make the long process a bit less stressful. Between the liquid refreshment and Nigel’s quips and running repartee, we were all consistently amused.
According to the dates of these items in Nigel’s archive, of which there are at least a score of thanks, commendations and/or commiserations or congratulations, this award is the second in the series developed by Pete.
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.
Writing the entries for this Allendale Lions Club blog . . . sometimes it’s not easy at all. I’ve known for a few months now that this entry was coming along, as I try to pre-plan the entries based on photographs, press clippings and Business Meeting minutes to hand.
Cliff was the first charter member, I believe, that we, as a club, lost, though Forster Milburn, a dear friend of all the Lions, had passed away in the summer of 2008. Cliffy died in March of 2010, so it was still the waning winter when everything seemed grim.
Just before the renewal of spring, as it goes around. Perhaps the sense of springtime has opened the gates to deal with the personal grief of winter, but for whatever reason, even more than a decade after Cliff’s passing, it’s been hard to press ahead with this entry.
But for those of us who are still living, it falls on our shoulders to press on. And so these entries for 2010 will continue.
Cliff’s legacy will live on too, perhaps most especially in the environs of Allendale’s Golf Club, which the Lions support with the annual Cliff Calvert Golf Classic.
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.
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!
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?
The week before the 2007 May Fair, the Hexham Courant ran a personality feature on Peter Aldcroft, concentrating on his role as Publicity Officer for the Allendale Lions. The idea, as I recall he bashfully explained it then, was that any publicity for the Fair was going to be a help, and so he had acquiesced to the biography.
As it turned out, the piece by Will Green was a delight in and of itself, extolling the virtues of village life and the organisations that help to make it tick. Peter was especially careful to emphasise the role played by the Lions, of course.
That time, back then in 2007, looked at from the perspective of 2022, seems like a hectic, but hugely enjoyable saga in the life of Allendale. And there would be several incredible events yet to participate in, as the year rolled by.
Surely we lived in enchanted times, as the vibrant village throbbed with accumulated excitement. It’s hard to believe, five years on from the devastating Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic, that such persistent and consolidated activities could be energising the community.
And yet, as the images that Nigel Baynes had collected for his archive show, yet indeed it was indubitably true.
Back in the day, the Hexham Courant specialised in personality profiles, in-depth stories of individuals who had made, and continued to make, a difference in their communities. After the delights of the May Fair, 2006, it must have seemed only natural for Will Green to write a fulsome piece about Trevor Newman. The Lions were thrilled with the publicity, even if Trevor was probably abashed.
Probably, too, this sort of publicity was a great recruiting tool; local folks may have realised that they could seek out some fun with the friendly Lions Club. After all, the more hands on deck, the less each of us would have to do. And by the summer of 2006, we were certainly doing rather a lot!
And also, you know what? The activity, and the fun, simply didn’t let up! Nigel’s archive, and the minutes of our meetings, show that we got even busier, as the next few years rolled in.