We are pleased to announce that we will be supporting MS Trust as our Charity of the Year 2020.
There is a personal connection here as one of our members of staff was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the end of 2018.
Not one to back away from a challenge, she has been brilliant since receiving her diagnosis – incredibly upbeat and willing to take on whatever life throws at her, and we are looking to do our best to support her with Miles for MS and other events over coming months.
We had a fantastic night at The Extra Mile Charity Ball at Slaley Hall, Saturday 7 March 2020, organised by Tynedale Hospice at Home.
We were welcomed by Chief Executive Mike Thornicroft before enjoying a very tasty three-course meal, with the opportunity to participate in a silent auction and raffle, after which Guest of Honour Susan Peart spoke about her fundraising for the Hospice.
Susan has undertaken the challenge of a lifetime in memory of her husband Chris, by participating in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Susan is raising funds for the Hospice to acknowledge their invaluable support when she was caring for Chris at home in the final months of his life.
After being trained Susan set sail on 1 September 2019 on the first two parts of four legs of the Race before taking time to see family and friends and oversee lambing on the family farm. Susan will be re-joining the crew in Seattle in April 2020 to complete the final two stages. Susan had no knowledge or understanding of the sea, being from the hills of Northumberland, and has experienced highs and lows, but is loving the adventure.
An auction of pledges followed, handled by professional auctioneer Chris Armstrong of Hexham Auction Mart. Chris is more used to dealing with cattle, but handled the various experiences on offer with aplomb and humour and at great speed, as is his customary manner!
We haven’t heard yet what the total amount raised is, but a contribution from our party in the sum of £1,580 for a hotel package, purchase of a pallet of loo rolls (!!) and tickets for Celine Dion will help towards it!
Dancing to band Hip Operation brought the evening to a close.
9 March 2020
On 23 January 2020 at Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club Stephanie attended the Referees Society Dinner, on Tricia’s behalf as a sponsor of the U15s and U18s Northumberland County: Girls Rugby.
One of a handful of female attendees in amongst a roomful of gentlemen in dinner jackets, Stephanie enjoyed a hearty meal of soup and a stottie, then steak and kidney pie, followed by cheese and biscuits (no frippery puddings here!) and some excellent and entertaining speeches.
The toast to the Rugby Football Union was proposed by Mark Richard, President of Northumberland Rugby Union, who talked about his experiences of rugby as a youngster, and later career. The response was given by Peter Wheeler, National President of the Rugby Football Union, a much-capped England and British Lions player, who also played for the Leicester Tigers throughout his long career.
The toast to the guests was proposed by Gill Burns MBE who was, according to Stephanie’s fellow diners, the most important rugby player in the room! Gill talked about her journey to rugby, which she discovered in her early twenties, very quickly being recognised for her skill and selected for England only one year after first playing Rugby Union; she went on to captain England and played in four World Cups. After retiring as a player Gill was appointed President of the Rugby Football Union for Women, and continues to be active in the world of women’s rugby.
A robust and very lively response to Gill’s toast was given by Major Andrew Vertigan of the Salvation Army, a former National Referee – a giant of a man who obviously knew many of the gentlemen in the room, and the world of rugby extensively.
Stephanie’s host for the evening was Penny Stewart, Director of Communications at Northumberland Rugby Union, their only female Board Member, who took up touch rugby in her early fifties, much to the amusement of her husband. Fellow guests included a party of Spaniards with whom Northumberland Rugby Union maintains an active exchange programme, to the great enjoyment of both sides. Stephanie was puzzled at their presence at the dinner in January but, apparently, they always want to come at this time of year in order to attend the Referees Dinner! Whilst here they will be refereeing games at several clubs in the region.
27 Jan 2020
Sadly many of the events planned for this year have been cancelled or postponed because of COVID-19
We have shown information for those below as we currently understand it and will add any further information that becomes available to us but the best option is to view the websites themselves so we have left the links in the text for that purpose for you.
Hexham Abbey Festival.
A notice in the Courant dated 21st May advises that this event has been postponed until next year
Allendale, Slaley and Bellingham shows have also been cancelled for this year
These two events were cancelled and Beamish is currently closed to visitors.
We continue to be a Business Friend of the wonderful Beamish Museum, which recently had a starring role in the film Downton Abbey. We were looking forward to their first exciting event of the spring – the renowned Great North Festival of Transport – which begins with the Great North Steam Fair 2nd – 5th April and continues with the Horses at Work event on 25th and 26th April but sadly theses events could not go ahead.
This has been postponed until further notice.
(The Abbey website indicates that it has suspended all of its events for the time being).
Tricia was looking forward to supporting The Rotary Club of Hexham weekend Jazz Festival, which was due to be held in Hexham Abbey on the 15th and 16th May 2020 bu, unfortunately, the event fell foul of the pandemic.
There had been performances planned on the Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening, from Jo Harrop, Paul Edis, Graeme Wilson, Nick Branton Trio, Nathan Lawson and Hotel Club du Nord.
Proceeds from the Festival were intended to have been divided between two charitable projects, one half going to the Club’s Disaster Relief Fund, and the other half is for research by the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle University. The Club is hoping to be able to give over £2,000 to each of these charitable beneficiaries, as well as providing a fantastic event.
Tickets are currently not available but if and when the event does go ahead will be obtainable at the Abbey Shop, https://www.hexhamabbey.org.uk/shop
More information at Rotary Club of Hexham future events.
This event has been cancelled
The Hexham Book Festival continues to go from strength to strength with a stellar line-up of authors and fantastic events from 24 April to 3 May, and once again we are pleased to be supporting this wonderful local event.
This has been postponed until further notice.
This is a very special year for the British Red Cross as in August it celebrated its 150th Anniversary. Great Britain was the first country to create its own Red Cross Society in 1870.
To celebrate this very special anniversary, the Northumbria Branch had hoped to organise a performance of the Opera La Traviata in the unique setting of Hexham Abbey on Friday 19th June but Covid-19 restrictions prevented it from happening. The production was to be be staged by Regent’s Opera. Tricia will be delighted to support this British Red Cross event when it can eventually take place.
The festival has been postponed until 2021 (17th - 20th June)
Arrangements for this fantastic annual Festival are already gathering pace, and once again we will be a major sponsor.
The organisers are changing the format of this year’s Festival, to include Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon – a Fathers’ Day Special – in addition to Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Throughout the Festival there will be the usual magnificent choice of beers and ciders, live music, street food and the excitement of a 7’s Rugby competition on Saturday afternoon.
Tickets will be available from https://www.tynedalebeerfestival.org.uk/tickets/
For those that want to make a weekend of it, check out the Dark Sky Glamping on offer!
In addition to our 2019 Charity of the Year, The Great North Air Ambulance, for which we raised in excess of £10,000, we also supported the following: