Tea for 80 thanks to the Hollon bequest

Some of the guests at the Hollon Tea in Morpeth. 'Picture by Jane Coltman
Some of the guests at the Hollon Tea in Morpeth. 'Picture by Jane Coltman
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Dozens of residents enjoyed an afternoon of entertainment and an excellent meal in accordance with a town tradition.

In 1881, Richard Hollon donated a sum of money for the benefit of the elderly people of Morpeth. This was in memory of his late wife, Mary, who was brought up in the area.

Some of the guests at the Hollon Tea in Morpeth. 'Picture by Jane Coltman

Some of the guests at the Hollon Tea in Morpeth. 'Picture by Jane Coltman

The Hollon Tea again took place on November 5 in Morpeth Town Hall. The date is always the same, as it was then that Richard and Mary Hollon were married.

More than 80 elderly residents of Morpeth are now Annuitants under the Mary Hollon Annuity & Relief Fund – a far cry from the 25 women and men who originally benefited from Mr Hollon’s generosity.

Nowadays, Annuitants are determined by age (over 75) and length of residency in the town.

At the start of the tea, they and special guests Dorothy McBryde, Cynthia Livesey and Clive Temple were welcomed by Derek Thompson, chairman of the fund.

Some of the guests at the Hollon Tea in Morpeth. 'Picture by Jane Coltman

Some of the guests at the Hollon Tea in Morpeth. 'Picture by Jane Coltman

This was followed by a performance by one of the charity’s trustees, Barbara Pringle, of a poem she had written entitled ‘The Hollon Love Story’.

As the title suggests, it tells the story of Mary and Richard Hollon and how the Hollon Tea came to be and those in attendance were full of praise for the poem and its telling.

A toast to the donors, who over the years have included many local individuals and organisations as well as Mr Hollon, was given by Morpeth Mayor Alison Byard, who is also a trustee.

The Grace was given by another of the trustees, Rev Ron Forster, after which the four-course meal was served.

Some of the top table guests at the Hollon Tea in Morpeth. 'Picture by Jane Coltman

Some of the top table guests at the Hollon Tea in Morpeth. 'Picture by Jane Coltman

Once the food had settled, the address was given by Rev Simon White, who described in humorous terms how he came to be the Rector of Morpeth.

There followed entertainment comprised of local songs and comic recitations from Alex Swailes and friends, which was much enjoyed by everyone.

Finally, the chairman gave a Vote of Thanks to everyone involved in making the afternoon such a success.

It was after this that the annuitants received their traditional cash annuity.

After the clearing up, Barbara Pringle said: “It is wonderful that the Hollon Tea grows in numbers of annuitants and a tribute to all past and present trustees that this long-standing tradition continues.”

It was in recognition of Mr Hollon’s generosity that the Hollon Fountain, currently in front of the Clock Tower, was erected from public subscriptions.