Park picnic hailed ‘one of most successful in a decade’

Ellington Colliery Band entertaining at Picnic in the Park at Carlisle Park
Ellington Colliery Band entertaining at Picnic in the Park at Carlisle Park

There was plenty of fun to be had at the weekend as families from across Northumberland came together for a Picnic in the Park.

The picnic saw thousands of people of all ages enjoy fun in Morpeth’s Carlisle Park.

Picnic in the Park at Carlisle Park

Picnic in the Park at Carlisle Park

And organiser the Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) has said it was ‘one of the most successful events in its ten-year history’.

The success came despite an early morning downpour.

However, the wet weather did not put off the crowds, and by the time the event had started, it had turned into a glorious sunny day.

The event was once again organised by the trust, along with the support of many volunteers, Northumberland County Council, through its Community Chest Fund, and the Morpeth Churches Together group, which estimated that it fed well over 700 hungry visitors with free burgers and buns.

Mayor Alison Byard making a WWI mosaic at Picnic in the Park at Carlisle Park

Mayor Alison Byard making a WWI mosaic at Picnic in the Park at Carlisle Park

The picnic was opened by Morpeth Mayor Alison Byard and hosted by Alex Swales.

Four hours of non-stop entertainment kept the crowds amused, with picnic newcomer Nat Lunatic stealing the show with his magic, balloon making, uni-cycling, juggling with flaming torches, loose rope walking and knife-throwing.

Ellington Colliery Band performed two slots, medieval tile maker Barry Mead was busy with demonstrations, and St George’s Players told stories of heroic local women during the First World War, who worked on the land, as nurses, mechanics, or were mothers waiting for their sons to come home from the battlefront.

For the younger children Jo Jingles storyteller engaged them with stories, music and dance, while face-painting was provided by the Morpeth Arts’ Group.

Picnic in the Park at Carlisle Park

Picnic in the Park at Carlisle Park

As part of a project run by Sue Dibben, six mosaics of poppies were created that will be on show in the run up to Remembrance Sunday.

There were also displays by Guide Dogs for the Blind and the proggy mat makers of Woodhorn Matters.

GMDT’s Arts and Culture Group Director Frank Rescigno said: “It was one of the very best events we have staged over the past ten years.

“It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves at the start of the school summer holidays, and some older residents told me the numbers present reminded them of the days when the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic was held in Carlisle Park during its heydays of the 1930 and 1940s.

“These events would not have happened without many people voluntarily giving up their own time to make some great things happen for others to enjoy in the centre of Morpeth.”