GATHERING: Anniversary achievement

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The Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering Committee wishes to thank whole-heartedly all those organisations, groups and individuals who supported the Golden Gathering and helped the festival reach its half-century.

To have managed to reach the 50th festival is quite an achievement for our community.

During the time that the Gathering has been evolving, Morpeth has, among other things, seen the restoration of the historic Chantry and refurbishment of the Castle and Town Hall, the creation of the Chantry Bagpipe Museum, William Turner Herb Garden and Old Bakehouse Millennium Green, and experienced the building of two bypasses.

It has become the County Town, undergone two major local council re-organisations, and welcomed three generations of participants and audiences, who have enjoyed the different aspects of what has become the foremost festival of local traditional music, craft, dance, dialect and heritage.

Many of our visitor surveys mention the warm welcome from the people of Morpeth as a major attraction of the event.

In particular, we must thank Morpeth Lions for yet again carrying out the task of conducting the street collection on Gathering Saturday, April 22. The amount raised was £713.25, a very useful amount towards the costs of the festival.

We are delighted and relieved to announce that the Gathering’s figurehead, Morpeth Gadgy Alex Swailes MBE, is back in fine fettle after the untimely health scare which prevented him appearing over the Gathering weekend.

Other illnesses within the team and last-minute emergencies caused a few headaches, but the kind weather and incredibly high standard of the performances and support services helped the three days go remarkably smoothly.

While we are still in the midst of evaluating the various events, we must also work out how such a complex and costly event can continue to be sustainable, financially and logistically, in these challenging times.

We invite anyone with comments on this year’s events, or suggestions for the future, to send these via our website or attend our feedback meeting at 3.30pm on Saturday, May 20, in the upper lounge of Bin 21.

Kim Bibby-Wilson

Chairman, Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering Committee