2016 PARISH NEWS    



The following article was published by ITV News on 23rd December 2016

HMP Northumberland

Three prison officers were taken to hospital after a jail inmate sparked a major fire in his cell.

Sean Rowe caused £1,500 worth of damage by torching a shelving unit and fuelling the flames with fabric while serving a sentence at HMP Northumberland.

The 25-year-old caused an ‘intense’ fire, which was made more dangerous due to a ventilation system in the prison not working at the time.

Prison officers tried extinguish the blaze within seconds but were overcome with smoke and had to be taken to hospital while fire crews tackled it.

One officer described the cell blaze as the worst he had seen in his 28 year career.

Problems at the local prison seemed to dominate our parish news in 2016.  If you are interested in reading about the many incidents (and reactions) at HMP Northumberland during the year, please press on the link below.





The following article was published by the Northumberland Gazette on 22nd December 2016

Acklington Art Group held a very successful coffee morning on October 15th, with all proceeds going to HospiceCare.

They raised a fantastic £1,697.57 which could provide 68 hours of specialist 'Hospice at Home' services.

Pictured above are (back row from left) Rebecca Taylor - hospice representative, Anne Cairns, Sylvia McClure, Pat Johnson, Christine Boulby, Liz Howe.  Front row: Jessica Cooper and Fattan Parvini.




The following article was published by the Northumberland Gazette on 13th August 2016

Imogen Bush and Dylan Gair, both four, with the Pikachu scarecrow.

A film star, a football hero and a host of children’s characters have invaded a Northumberland village today.

Visitors to the fifth annual Acklington Scarecrow Trail were able to spot the BFG (Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant, who is the subject of a new blockbuster movie), Welsh wizard footballer Gareth Bale, the Gruffalo, Pokemon character Pikachu and even Oor Wullie.

Owen Beverley, 10, and Ashton Beverley, seven, with their scarecrow Rio Gummidge, the Olympic Torch Bearer. They made the scarecrow with Grace Bryant, 13.

Visitors were also asked to choose their favourite scarecrow, the result of which will be published in Thursday’s Northumberland Gazette.

The 20 displays were inventive, amusing and colourful, and a trail, costing £1, helped plot a course round the village. Refreshments and tombola tickets were sold in the village hall, with proceeds being donated to Acklington church.

The BFG on the Acklington Scarecrow Trail.

Gareth Bale or Jack Straw - Acklington Scarecrow Trail 2016

Pictured below are some of the organisers of the Acklington Scarecrow Trail. Back row, fom left, Janet Bell and Barbara Cock. Front row, Rev Mike Dent, Margaret Hammond and Mary Guy.

Members of the Acklington Church Events Group




The following article was published by the Chronicle Live on 28th July 2016

Jumpin' Hot Country Cantina comes to Northumberland for a festival of roots music and songwriters across the world are set to take the stage for the event.

A strong cast of players, most of whom are locally based, will be taking part in the all-day festival at Acklington Village Hall.

Hard on the heels of last weekend’s SummerTyne Americana festival, the Jumpin’ Hot stage, which provided three days of excellent and varied roots music, decamps in a somewhat reduced form to a village in rural Northumberland .

The J&H organisers have booked Acklington village hall all day next Saturday (August 6) for their Jumpin’ Hot Country Cantina, which runs from 2pm to 11.30pm.

Food and soft drinks will be available and Hadrian Border Brewery will also be on-hand with a couple of ales and a cider option. There are also some planned activities for children.

As for the music, there is a strong cast of players most of whom are locally based. One of the exceptions is the formidable Texas singer/songwriter pairing of Brennan Leigh and Noel McKay, fresh from their Sage Gateshead showing at last weekend’s SummerTyne Americana festival.

Texas singer/songwriter pairing of Brennan Leigh and Noel McKay

The pair set a benchmark in vocal-guitar interplay and back it up with classy and literate original songs. They also mine a deep seam of country material.

Austin-based Leigh (though originally from North Dakota) will perform a set which is dedicated to Texan great and one of her Country music influences, Lefty Frizzell, who had a string on number one hits over several decades and recorded the original version of the folk-country favourite, Long Black Veil, over 60 years ago.

Her partner, Noel McKay, was brought up in Lubbock (hometown of Buddy Holly) and rose to prominence (and co-wrote some songs ) with the help of one of the genre’s most celebrated songwriters, the late Guy Clark. That is recommendation enough!

Martin Stephenson and the Toe Rags reform after more than a decade for this one-off performance.

However, Martin and the band can call up a huge repertoire of songs and it is never safe to predict what will eventually make its way into his set on the day.

Suffice to say that there will be surprises and smiles in equal measure from one of this country’s most whimsical, idiosyncratic – and certainly ever-popular – singer-songwriters.

Dutch-born but locally-based, Vera Van Heeringen is a very talented singer, writer and guitarist with a broad range of styles at her disposal.

Vera Van Heeringen

From bluegrass and country to folk and blues, she offers a convincing authenticity – not least in her guitar-picking – which is topped-off by some highly developed original songs, evidence of which can be found on her current album, Proper Brew.

The day also has sets/contributions from performers like Tim Dalling, Bridie Jackson, Nev Clay, Archie Brown, Shipcote and Friends and the locally-based Scottish fiddler/singer, Kari MacLeod and her band the Fugitives.

Kari Macleod will be performing at the event

There is also the prospect of a “special guest” appearance – as is often the way with events of this nature – but regardless of that, the price of a day-ticket at £20 looks like pretty good value.

Tickets are available from the Cluny or from www.wegottickets and there is a fuller description of what you can expect on the Jumpin’ Hot Club website.




The following article was published by the Northumberland Gazette on 1st July 2016

June Watson with her new book.

A new book commemorating the Battle of the Somme and focusing on men and women involved in the First World War is being launched on Saturday, during a poignant exhibition.

Portraits of War: The Men and Women of Warkworth and Acklington District Who Served in World War 1 has been produced by June Watson, secretary for the Warkworth and Amble District Branch of the Royal British Legion.

Her detailed work includes 134 pages of research on the men and two nurses from these areas who served in the Great War.

June received a grant for the book from Northumberland County Councillors Glen Sanderson and Jeff Watson from their Members Small Scheme Award.

The book will be available for a donation and all proceeds will go towards the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

June said: “I did research for the centenary of the beginning of the First World War and I held a previous exhibition in Warkworth. I decided to use that material and update it to produce this book, because it seemed a shame to waste the material and leave it lying in a drawer.

“It took more than six months. The personal biographies of those men who signed up for the war are a valuable account of the impact of war, their families and also the support which was given to the soldiers by the local community.

“The assistance and co-operation from many descendants of those featured have helped to make this book possible and the information was acquired from several sources. It has proved impossible to verify all the local men who served in the Great War, but a substantial number have been found with the families of many still residing in the area.”

The book will be launched and available to buy during a Battle of the Somme Exhibition at Warkworth Memorial Hall on Saturday. The free event, from 10am to 5pm, has been organised on behalf of the Royal British Legion.

The display will feature research from the book, including a special Somme section, with a focus on the local men (four from Warkworth and one from Acklington) who died on the first day of the offensive. There will be a full-size picture of one of the victims – Lt Geoffrey Sanderson, from Warkworth.

An original First World War banner, which was hung across Warkworth’s Castle Street in 1915 when the wounded returned to the village, will be on show at the exhibition.

Warkworth Village Choir will sing at noon and 2pm and Beverley Palin will play music from the First Word War era throughout the day. There will also be stalls with First World War memorabilia, refreshments and a raffle, with prizes having been donated from local businesses and the public. Money raised will go towards the Poppy Appeal.

June added: “The Royal British Legion does a wonderful job for the soldiers who have come back from conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan who will need help from the Poppy Appeal for years to come.”

June has 100 copies of the book. Some may be available after the exhibition day, call June on 07785 753100. Coun Sanderson will distribute the residual copies in his council district.




The following article was published by the Chronicle Live on 29th June 2016
The device was spotted on the banks of the River Coquet close to Guyzance Bridge at around 1.08pm on Wednesday.

Bomb disposal experts are dealing with a suspected mortar shell found in Northumberland.

Police were called at 1.08pm to Guyzance Bridge after the device was spotted on the banks of the river.

The Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit are at the scene dealing with the incident.

Northumbria Police have placed a cordon around the area.

No homes have been evacuated and nobody has been injured at this stage.

Traffic in the area is also thought to be unaffected.

The hamlet of Guyzance is situated between the A1 and Warkworth, several miles from the Northumberland coastline.




The planning system is unfair.  It is one of the few decision-making processes that gives no right of appeal to affected third parties. 

Acklington Parish Councillors are urging their parishioners to sign a national petition which has been set up. 

Our local MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan (pictured above) has also given her backing to the petition to allow parish councils the right to appeal planning decisions.

Presently, councils such as Northumberland County Council, do not allow parish councils to have a statutory voice in the planning process.

Alison Sharpe, one of Acklington's parish councillors, feels very strongly about this matter. 

She says "Too often the views of parish councils seem to be ignored when it comes to planning matters.  The system is grossly unfair and things need to change."

          Councillor Sharpe



The following article was published on-line by the Northumberland Gazette on Saturday 30th January.
An artist's impression of the proposed housing scheme in Acklington.
 The search is on for a developer to take on a scheme for 16 homes in Acklington which was approved before Christmas.
 The development will create a mixture of properties ranging from two-bedroom bungalows to five-bedroom detached houses on a 1.69-acre site in the centre of the village.
 The proposals, which will also see the demolition of Pearson’s Garage along with improved access arrangements, were given the go-ahead under delegated powers by Northumberland County Council’s planning department. The scheme had sparked three objections from neighbours.
 Planning permission was obtained by the planning and development team at George F White, which managed the project alongside architectural input by Blake Hopkinson Architecture.
 Craig Ross, planning consultant at George F White, said: “We are delighted that the development, which is in a fantastic location in the centre of Acklington, has been given the green light.
 “Planning within Northumberland is in a huge transitional period and, as a result, we faced a challenging planning situation which involved overcoming a number of complex barriers.
 “I am really pleased with the dedication and ability that the team demonstrated to overcome these obstacles and secure approval.”
 George F White is now actively seeking a housing developer to take on the site.
 For more information about the development, contact Matthew Simpson on matthewsimpson@georgef white.co.uk or call 01665 511987.
 It features two, two-bedroom bungalows, two three-bedroom terraced houses, five four-bedroom detached houses, two four-bedroom semi-detached houses, two five-bedroom detached houses and three five-bedroom detached corner houses.


The following article was published in the Northumberland Gazette on Thursday 28th January.
A distraught dog owner has spoken of his devastation after his much-loved cocker spaniel went missing – and he believes the pooch has been stolen.
 The resident, who does not want to be named, admits that he is desperate for two-year-old Mitch to come home.
 The dog has been missing since late morning on Monday, January 18, when he, along with a Labrador also belonging to the owner, made off into woods in Acklington Road, Acklington, while out on a walk.
 However, the Labrador was found two days later, wandering around at the entrance of HMP Northumberland, in Acklington. But there was no sign of Mitch.
 The owner said: “Both dogs went missing on the Monday and I was looking for them all day.
 “The Labrador was returned in suspicious circumstances. Despite the fact that it had been missing for two days, the dog was found bone dry and was not hungry.
 “For me, it seems that the dog has been looked after, short-term, but then returned. However, there is no sign of Mitch.
 “I have had him since he was a puppy and he is very, very distinctive. He has very unusual markings and I fear that he has been stolen.
 “I am a dog lover and I just want Mitch back. It hasn’t sunk in yet that he hasn’t returned.”
 The incident has been reported to the police and officers are appealing for information. Inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact police by calling 101 and quoting the reference number 0747 20/01/16.