Morpeth Town Team is set for festive fun

Morpeth Rotarians Rhona Dunn (president) Simon Foley, Tony Stubbs, Alan Clark and Jim Dunn by the Tree of Light.
Morpeth Rotarians Rhona Dunn (president) Simon Foley, Tony Stubbs, Alan Clark and Jim Dunn by the Tree of Light.

With Christmas fast approaching, Morpeth Town Team is planning a busy few weeks. Member Ian Leech takes a look at what’s in store.

It’s promising to be a cracking Christmas in Morpeth this year, with the town’s new lights adding an extra sparkle to the 2015 festive displays already ranked among the best around, and a fun-filled late-night shopping evening just days away.

For the first time in many years shops will be staying open around Morpeth town centre until 8pm for one night only, with a whole host of activities, performances and events to keep shoppers entertained as they look for those bargain-buy Christmas presents.

The evening, on Thursday, December 3, is being organised by Morpeth Town Team with the support and backing of local traders and businesses.

As in every other city, town and village across England, business people and shopkeepers in Morpeth are hoping this Christmas will be a bumper one for them, not only to keep their tills ringing right up to the ‘Big Day’ itself, but also to help see them through what can be the notoriously tough trading months of January and February.

So they need not only visitors coming into the town, but for local residents to spend a little of their Christmas cash in Morpeth’s shops, as well as in the major out-of-town centres and, of course, online.

Morpeth is looking fantastic this year with the new lights and we want this to be a wonderful evening for everyone to enjoy in the build-up to Christmas in the town.

George Williams, Morpeth Town Team

Morpeth is looking great this year, with the town’s new lights adding to the usual dazzling displays in Sanderson Arcade and, as an added bonus, the late-night shopping is being organised to tempt local residents out for the evening.

Lots of the coffee shops will be staying open late, along with Morpeth’s growing choice of restaurants and pubs serving meals.

There will be music from the all-ladies Werca’s Folk choir, who performed so splendidly in and around the town during events to mark the centenary of the death of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, and the Salvation Army Band, which will include plenty of carols for people to join in.

Cast members from Morpeth Pantomime Society will be entertaining in the very best panto tradition as they take a break from rehearsals for their forthcoming production of ‘Beauty and the Best’, which they will be presenting in the main hall at King Edward VI School towards the end of January.

And members of the New Life Christian Centre will start the evening off with a live nativity play in the Market Place, beginning at 5pm.

The entertainment will move around the Market Place to Sanderson Arcade and on to the Chantry Creative Quarter where there will be a special Christmas treat for all the boys and girls – Santa Claus in his very own Grotto. Santa will be at The Chantry from 4pm.

Also at The Chantry, the Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering Committee will launch its new CD. Morpeth Music is a fund-raising album of songs, tunes and spoken extracts, featuring local choirs, bands and soloists performing music related to Morpeth, including traditional items such as the Morpeth Rant, along with more modern songs from the last century, as well as specially commissioned pieces.

The CD launch takes place from 6pm in The Chantry’s Bagpipe Museum when some of the tracks will be performed.

Last, but by no means least, buskers will be entertaining shoppers in Newgate Street, Bridge Street and at The Chantry throughout the late-night shopping event.

“It is going to be a wonderful fun evening for people of all ages to enjoy in the most festive of atmospheres,” said George Williams, who as well as chairing Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade, is one of the core members of the Town Team.

“It’s a number of years since we had a late-night Christmas shopping evening, but we are getting tremendous support from all the shops and businesses who are right behind the idea.

“ The entertainers will set the tone for the evening and, of course, the children can’t miss the chance to meet Santa Claus and tell him what they would love for Christmas.

“Morpeth is looking fantastic this year with the new lights and we want this to be a wonderful evening for everyone to enjoy in the build-up to Christmas in the town.”

Shopkeepers are also joining in the spirit of the evening by offering customers mince pies and mulled wine, as well as the chance to grab plenty of one-night-only bargains.

Don’t forget there’s much more happening around Morpeth as Christmas approaches.

On Friday, December 4, the Morpeth Community Cinema will screen one of the all-time great festive movies ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, starring James Stewart, at 7pm in Morpeth Town Hall.

The next day Morpeth Farmers’ Market takes places in the Market Place, and there’ll be another Saturday market a week later, as well as regular Wednesday markets in the run-up to Christmas.

There’s plenty of entertainment as well, with the Mid Northumberland Chorus staging its annual carol concert at St George’s United Reformed Church on Saturday, December 12, and there’ll also be a community carol concert two days later at the same venue.

Or how about carol singing on the Millennium Green just behind Newgate Street, on Wednesday, December 16, at 3.30pm, with the children from St Robert’s First School, Morpeth?

And don’t miss the Morpeth Rotary Club Garden of Light being illuminated in the Sanderson Arcade piazza on Saturday, December 12.

The garden, as well as a Tree of Light, is the Rotary club’s way of giving people an opportunity to remember a loved one in a special way this Christmas.

The first light will be ‘planted’ in the garden at 3.30pm by the Duchess of Northumberland.

It all adds up to a Christmas to remember this year in Morpeth.