IT’S party time across Northumberland as communities get into gear for a right Royal knees-up.
From street parties to big lunches, exhibitions to scarecrow competitions, children’s games to film premieres, and even some beacon lighting and fireworks — it’s all covered in the county’s celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Schools, nurseries and toddler groups are leading the way with a number of events this week, including fancy dress and tasty treats, but the weekend is when the party really takes off.
In Morpeth, the fun begins at St George’s United Reformed Church Hall in Bridge Street on Saturday when it will be transformed into a 1950s tea room. Tickets are already sold out for the event, which has been organised by members of the church.
Shoppers can get in the Jubilee spirit by looking in store windows, with Rutherford’s of Morpeth having huge photographs of the Queen and flags.
And at Sanderson Arcade the bunting is out for a children’s red, white and blue fancy dress parade. The event takes place on Saturday at 1pm and the winners will be crowned the King and Queen of the centre. Shops have dressed their windows for the occasion and will be offering special promotions, including the chance to win £250 to spend at Monsoon. Even the arcade’s Beadles are getting in the spirit with a patriotic twist to their uniforms.
Street parties will be the order of the day on Sunday.
There will be events at Springhill Walk, Emily Davison Avenue and Park Drive, while more than 150 people are expected to party at the top of Kings Avenue and De Merley Road.
Among them will be Abigail Bosanko. She said: “It is just a group of local residents getting together, with a sit-down tea and games for the children. We have had a really good response, everybody is up for it. We’re all bringing along finger food because we don’t want to worry about knives and forks, but we have organised tables.”
On Monday, Ha Hill in Carlisle Park will be the focus as the town joins in with thousands of others nationwide in lighting a beacon. The flame is due to be lit at 10.15pm.
The final day of the Bank Holiday weekend will see an indoor street party take place for the residents and friends of Newgate Street at La Bodega Tapas Bar. There will be food and live music from The Richard Kain Band from 2pm.
At Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre children can join in a Jubilee craft workshop with Krafty Kidz, including designing a commemorative ceramic plate. Activities run on a drop-in basis, from 11am to 3pm on Tuesday, costing up to £6.
Finally, on Wednesday, Morpeth Library will host a free children’s party with stories, crafts and refreshments, from 10.30am to 11.30am. It is suitable for youngsters aged four to 12. Numbers are limited so early booking is advised on 01670 500390.
Ponteland is going to town for its celebrations, with four days of organised events.
A free exhibition will run at the Memorial Hall throughout the bank holiday, from 10am to 4pm each day from Saturday. It will cover all aspects of local life, including churches, schools, clubs and organisations.
Ponteland Local History Society will show how the area has developed during the 60 years of the Queen’s reign in a display running from Saturday to Monday at the same venue.
The Diamond Inn will play a big part in the celebrations, with all day barbecues on Friday and Saturday, followed by live music, and a family fun day on Sunday, including stalls, games and pony rides, with a children’s entertainer from 2pm to 4pm, and DJ Tommy Taylor taking charge from 7pm.
Also on Sunday, there will be a Big Lunch at St Mary’s Church Hall at 12.30pm, when people are asked to take food to share, and a Churches Together Jubilee Service at Ponteland Methodist Church at 6.30pm.
Monday is Ponteland Day on Coates Green, with stalls, games, a fortune teller, pony rides, face painting and refreshments from 10.30am. The Smokin’ Spitfires will play from 4pm to 6pm in the marquee, and singer Mark Allen will perform from 9pm to midnight.
Ponteland is lighting a Jubilee beacon on the green at 10pm, followed by a firework display.
On Tuesday, there will be an open day, with food and entertainment, at Merton Hall, from 10am to 2pm, while The Diamond Inn is inviting the community to watch the Queen’s Procession, from 1pm to 3pm.
Events will conclude with a Jubilee Tea in Merton Hall on Thursday, from 2pm to 4pm, hosted by Ponteland Floral Art Club. Tickets cost £3.
Ponteland town councillor Robin Ramsay, who has recently received his MBE from the Queen, said: “This celebration is really bringing the whole community together. Hopefully the current warm weather will continue and ensure a fantastic extended weekend of festivities to mark Her Majesty’s wonderful 60 years.”
On Saturday, villagers are invited to join in the Pegswood Picnic in the Park at the Welfare Park, where there will be plenty of games and activities.
Newbiggin Brass Band, tribal dancing, a cartoonist, pony rides, exotic animals and stalls will all be in the mix, while Jubilee mugs will be presented to every schoolchild in the village.
The main family event runs from noon to 5pm, before the disco begins at 7.30pm. Tickets for the disco cost £1 for adults and 50p for children, and are available from the Welfare, Project House and the Parish Office.
Linton First School will be hosting a celebration on Saturday, from noon to 3pm.
It will feature games, raffles, an art competition, a specially choreographed rock n’ roll children’s dance and a Royal-themed scarecrow competition.
Organiser Emma Adkins said: “The kids have been practising their dance for the past six or seven weeks with two of our former pupils who are at Ashington High School so that should be good. I hope they don’t get stage fright.
“Overall, there is something for everybody.”
Over at the Blagdon estate, residents are turning their party into a fund-raising opportunity in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
As well as a street party lunch, 50s music, dancing and children’s entertainment for about 400 residents, there will be a charity auction.
Fundraising Committee member Teresa Nicolson said: “We usually host events to help The Red Cross and Macmillan, but this time we wanted to focus on a charity closer to home. With the recent loss of Lord Ridley, who was cared for by the nurses at Marie Curie, we wanted to help fundraise for them, as well as St Oswald’s.
“I’m not sure how much we’re aiming to fundraise, but with such numbers we just hope people are generous. We’ve had events where we’ve raised from £200 to £4,200, all from charitable donations. We’ve had fantastic turn-outs in the past and instead of a raffle to raise money, we’re having an auction. The items range from golf gear to barbecues so there’s quite a variety.
“Ultimately, I hope the whole day brings about a strong sense of community. I think that’s the most important thing.”
Whalton will mark the Diamond Jubilee on Sunday with a thanksgiving service at St Mary’s Church at 10am, followed by refreshments.
A Big Lunch is taking place from 11.30pm to 4pm, with performances by Whalton First School pupils, children’s entertainment, cricket and country games.
The village will stage its own Jubilee beacon lighting event on Monday at Watch Hill, from 8.30am to 11pm. Residents can take their own food for a barbecue.
In Mitford events will be focused around the Village Green on Sunday, with a church service at 10am led by the Rev Joanna Dobson and musicians from the church.
It will be followed by activities such as a cupcake competition, fancy dress and games from 11am. Later there will be afternoon tea.
Residents in Ellington have been working hard at fund-raising activities to ensure a fun-packed Jubilee party.
There has been a jumble sale, sponsored silence and a raffle, while local businesses have offered support, including Asda, Rio Tinto Alcan, the Banks Group and Bank Top Stores.
The result will see Ellington Village Hall host a Jubilee Gala on Sunday, with fancy dress, games, a picnic, rodeo ride, races and competitions from noon to 4.30pm, followed by events such as a pie-eating competition and tug of war.
Organiser Ruth Thompson said: “We are just hoping that the good weather will continue. There are lots of children from the surrounding areas coming in and we have sold 100 tickets for the children’s tea. We have got lots of trophies and medals for the races.
“It is the first time we have done anything like this so we’re hoping that everything will run smoothly.”
Villagers in Longhirst will enjoy their party on Tuesday with two events for residents and their families.
There will be refreshments and nibbles, with activities for children, in the Vicarage Garden from 2pm to 4pm, and then from 4pm to 6pm a tea party will be held in the Village Hall.
The celebration is a ticket-only event.
There will be two special guests at the Cambo estate’s Jubilee Picnic on Monday as Wallace and Gromit call in to premiere their new animation, A Grand Jubilee Day Out, and help with a record bunt-a-thon attempt.
So far, the National Trust run estate has more than 11,000 flags for its Best of British bunting, but it needs a further 6,500 to break the record for the longest string.
Visitors will be invited to join in a tea party, take part in Wallace and Gromit model making workshops and try games and family trails. There will be a big screen to air the Royal Pageant, evening concert and Wallace and Gromit feature films.
Events and Promotions Manager Julie Tucker said: “We’re really excited to have Wallace and Gromit visiting Wallington for our Diamond Jubilee celebrations. I think our visitors will be as excited as us to meet them and we hope lots of people will come and join in the fun.”
Activities run from 10.30am to 10.30pm. Admission charges apply and booking is advised for the tea party and modelling workshops on 01670 773600.
Families are invited to take picnics along to Ashfield as the Hebron Community Association hosts a Jubilee Garden Party on Tuesday, between 3pm and 9pm.
Activities include music, a fancy dress competition, tug-of-war contest, paper crown making, rounders, a treasure hunt, garden tours and stalls.
Admission is £2 for adults and free for children.
A llama called Elizabeth who can jump her own height is one of the attractions at Cresswell’s Jubilee celebrations.
The Black Rock Llama Agility Racing Team will take centre stage at Golden Sands Holiday Park on Sunday, with displays from 1pm to 3pm. Elizabeth will be joined by her partner Phillip and fellow camelids Camilla and Charles in a regal relay race.
The park will host a street party on Tuesday, from noon, with hot tubs, space hopper racing and face painting.
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