The organisers of the first-ever Northumberland Day are calling on more towns and villages to follow the example set by places such as Ashington and Beadnell to ensure that Northumberland is turned red and yellow from top to bottom in the week leading up to Sunday May 28.
Ashington has been at the forefront of the Northumberland Day celebrations, having been the first town to get involved, thanks to the enthusiasm of Ashington Town Team and its co-ordinator, Michelle Brannigan. Additionally, local Ashington resident, John Emery, was the first individual to declare their intention to organise a special event for Northumberland Day.
As a result of this enthusiasm, Ashington will be celebrating Northumberland Day in vibrant fashion on both Saturday May 27 and Sunday May 28.
Between 9am and 3pm on Saturday May 27, a Northumberland-themed market, held within Ashington Town Centre, will be a magnet for foodies. Edible delights on offer will be available from local producers including Northumbrian Smokehouse, Dinky Donuts from Pegswood and the Northumberland Cheese Company, whilst there will be interesting non-food items from companies such as The Soap Box from Seahouses.
Visiting the market will give people a chance to buy legendary ‘coal’ cinder toffee from Lynemouth’s Kenspeckle and other unusual foodie treats such as nettle cheese.
Additionally, there will be a symbolic 10am hoisting of the Northumberland flag in Ashington’s serene Memorial Garden and the chance to tap the feet to the music of traditional jazz bands in the town centre.
On Sunday May 28, Ashington will be truly rocking, thanks to the personal effort and commitment of John Emery, a local resident who was determined to put on a rock concert for local bands, to celebrate Northumberland Day in a contemporary way.
The result is ‘Ashingon Rocks’ – a concert taking place at the White House Unique Social Club from 1pm on Northumberland Day (May 28) and featuring six different local bands: Hair of the Derg; The Hookahs; Dead Hand; King Size Voodoo Traveller; Ma Kelly’s Boys and HED. Tickets cost just £10, for an event that will go on until late, and can be bought from www.wegottickets.com/event/388082 or by calling 01670 814091.
Fervent support for Northumberland Day and the opportunity it presents for local residents, businesses, schools, communities and others to celebrate everything Northumbrian, past and present, is also evident in the coastal village of Beadnell.
The village is a definite contender for the ‘Northumbie’ trophy for ‘Best Dressed Village or Parish’, sponsored by ‘The Northumbrian Magazine’, as an array of activities has been planned and bunting and decorations are already being made by hand, so that the village can be turned red and yellow on the day.
Whilst plans are still evolving, there is already an impressive amount of activity planned. The Craster Arms Pub and Hotel is holding a special event within its gardens on Northumberland Day, which will include a hog roast and music from a Northumberland piper and drummer, other live music and free space in which local Northumbrian businesses can set up and sell their wares.
The Salt Water Café will also be participating and selling a locally sourced traditional Northumbrian breakfast, which will be available all day for both locals and visitors alike.
The WI Hall in Beadnell will be the scene of a historical exhibition that brings to life the village’s history, from its fishing roots to the present day, and a raffle will feature prizes donated by local businesses.
The piece de resistance may, however, be rooted in food. The traditional Beadnell Gingerbread Cake recipe will become the focus of a great Northumberland Day bake-off, with competitors all using this same recipe in an attempt to create the finest Beadnell Gingerbread Cake imaginable. As the ingredients will be the same, this will really test the technical skills of the competing bakers, whilst the pursuit of excellence will be good news for afternoon tea lovers, as all cakes entered into the contest will be sliced and served up with a lovely cuppa.
Northumberland Day organiser, Jane Hunt, whose client, Langley Castle, has championed Northumberland Day since July 2015, says: “Ashington and Beadnell are beacons of good Northumberland Day practice and are showing other towns and villages what they too could do to show their passion for Northumberland, their community spirit and their civic pride.
“We want to know of any other events, particularly around Berwick, Morpeth and Corbridge, where our knowledge of what is happening is patchy. For reasons that we shall reveal shortly, we need to know of every event or celebration that is taking place, as we have a special plan to capture all of the activities and enable them to become lasting memories. If we don’t know about it, event and activity organisers could miss being included in the Northumberland Day ‘credits’.
“Villages and schools should also remember that we have ‘Northumbie’ Awards that they could scoop, if they are deemed the best celebrators and participants in Northumberland Day. We are also hoping to bring more corporate sponsors on board, which will mean more Northumbies, in more categories. Don’t let your rivals beat you to the prize, or the kudos of being a sponsor!”
The events in Ashington and Beadnell are just two of an amazing number of exciting and imaginative celebrations planned for Northumberland Day 2017. To see more, head to www.northumberlandday.net and to have your celebration talked about email details to NDay@catapultpr.co.uk