It’s the way they tell ’em at speech day

MORPETH will be the centre of national celebrations as it plays host to a prestigious dialect event.

National Dialect Day was established three years ago by Sid Calderbank of the Lancashire Language Society to celebrate dialects across the country through speech, poetry, story-telling and song.

And this year, the main focus of the day will be in Morpeth, with a packed programme of activities.

Northumbrian Language Society (NLS) Secretary Kim Bibby-Wilson said: “It is a feather in the cap for Morpeth.

“It was started by Sid Calderbank of the Lancashire Society, who has been to the Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering many times. He is responsible for dialect competitions and he has seen how our dialect activities go so he started this off and it has developed since then.

“It is very much run on the basis that the local societies are in, that it is all done by volunteers and there is no national funding behind it so we are hoping that people will come along.

“One of the things we would hope is that if people can’t get along to the main events in Morpeth they will do some in their own area about dialect.”

The NLS is hosting the event on Saturday and President Katrina Porteous will be welcoming visiting societies from across the country, including Cumbria, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Devon, where the national celebration will be held next year.

Activities will take place in Morpeth Town Hall.

There will be registration from 10am, competitions for writers, reciters and singers from 2pm and The Merry Neet concert at 7.30pm, which is compered by Johnny Handle and features local and visiting performers, including prize-winners. The Badley Ashton and Associates Trophy will be awarded at the end of the concert for the most entertaining piece performed during the evening.

The celebration will also incorporate the NLS annual Roland Bibby Memorial Dialect Lecture at 12.30pm.

This year, it will be given by NLS Chairman Peter Arnold on The Dilemma Facing Regional Dialects.

Mrs Bibby-Wilson said: “It is about the same time of year that we would have our annual lecture so we thought it was a good idea to incorporate it, but for members of the public expecting to come along for mid-afternoon as normal, we have had to move it forward to lunch-time to get everything else in the day.”

Although Saturday is the focus for much of the activities, the Northumbrian Ranters will perform at Morpeth Methodist Church tomorrow, at 7.30pm.

On Sunday, there will be a Northumbrian dialect service at St George’s United Reformed Church at 10.30am and a Trafalgar Day Toast to Admiral Lord Collingwood on the steps of Collingwood House in Oldgate at noon.

For more information or tickets, contact Mrs Bibby-Wilson on 01670 513308 or email