Thousands cheer on parade

Thousands of people were cheering as the centrepiece activity of Morpeth Fair Day made its return.

The popular parade, led by Morpeth Pipe Band, of Harley Davidson motorbikes and classic cars once again went through the town centre during the event on Sunday.

Harley Davidson motorbikes took part in the parade. Picture by Jane Coltman.

Harley Davidson motorbikes took part in the parade. Picture by Jane Coltman.

There was no parade in 2013 and 2014 because of the flood defence works in High Stanners, which meant there was no storage area for the vehicles.

In addition, this area of the town was back in business for the fair. It hosted a range of activities, such as paintballing, chainsaw demonstrations and falconry displays.

Big attractions at the event, organised by the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade, included Turners Funfairs and the Mamma Mia-run continental food market.

Students from Chantry and Newminster Middle Schools and Technology Colleges, Ashington Colliery Band, Morpeth Pipe Band, Joseph Devitt, King Edward VI School Steel Band and Dead Man’s Shoes (an acoustic rock band) were the on-stage performers.

Among the other attractions were Richardson’s Amusements, Ellie’s Cupcake Kitchen, Robson Toys, hook a duck, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service fire engine and boat, face painting, huggy boats, ‘Beat the Goalie’ and a giant slide.

The people at the stalls included local business owners and staff and representatives from a range of Morpeth, Northumberland and North East organisations.

Chamber spokesman John Beynon said: “It was fantastic to have the parade back and the crowds really enjoyed it. It’s not truly Morpeth Fair Day without the parade.

“This year, two Northumbria Blood Bikes and the service’s car took part to highlight the important work carried out by its volunteers.

“We were a bit conservative with the numbers as it was the first parade since 2012, so next year’s will be even bigger. Malcolm Stawart once again did a great job with the organisation.

“The numbers in the morning were affected by the gloomy weather, but as it became drier and warmer, hundreds more people came along.

“The business stallholders who attended were pleased with their takings and everyone I spoke to on the day said they had enjoyed the fair.

“The Morpeth Pipe Band was as popular as ever and there were big crowds for the school students and other performers. The continental market did very well and there was also a massive display by Cookswell Garage (Citroën) – the fair’s main sponsor – in the Market Place.”

He thanked the new members of the Fair Day committee, chair Jacky Beesley, Aileen Pollard and Jenni Wilkinson, for their efforts. Previous chair Tony Osborne is still involved in organising the event.

There were 132 participants in the fun run, organised by Morpeth Harriers. In first place was Ben Walker, second (and first female) was Lily Heaton and Harrison Cutler finished third.

Some of those who came along also went into Morpeth Town Hall as Morpeth Antiquarian Society was staging its annual two-day local history exhibition at the weekend.

This year’s theme was ‘Morpeth and World War One’ and there was also a small display to do with the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.