Northumberland Day 2019, taking place on Sunday May 26 this year, is banking on not just having its usual two weeks of celebrations across the county, but also having a brilliant and big theme in the run-up to the events programme.
The Big Northumberland Day Memory Bank is a project that will see the Northumberland Day organisers collecting as many memories relating to life in Northumberland as possible, whether those be stories or just what it is calling Matchbox Memories.
A special page for the submission of stories and memories has already been created at www.northumberlandday.co.uk where there is all the information relating to the date for this year and the history of the county day. People can also sign up for the newsletter.
To boost the number of Matchbox Memories that it can bank, the organisers have built up a stock of hundreds of plain matchboxes, minus matches, which they will circulate in various ways, so that participants can write their memory on to the matchbox.
The matchboxes will then be picked up from various collection points and a visual display of Northumberland Day’s amazing memories will be created, so that all can come along and share in the nostalgia, by seeing what people wrote.
Schools across Northumberland can ask for a stock of matchboxes, so they can give a match box to some of their pupils and either ask the children to put their own memories on to the box or ask them to take it home and collect a memory from an older member of their family.
In this way, Northumberland Day’s organisers are seeking to bring generations together and make sure that rich memories of the Northumberland of the past, and its heritage, are not lost forever.
It has also designated March 21 as Matchbox Memory Day, this day taking place around two months ahead of the Northumberland Day celebrations and on National Memory Day. Special activity will take place in schools, participating care homes and other venues.
The hugely popular, handmade Helen Grierson-designed glass ‘Northumbie’ Awards and ‘Hearts of Achievement’ will be on offer for the third year, with present award holders such as Beadnell Village, Melanie’s Tea Room (Newbiggin), Headway Arts in Blyth, the Angel of Corbridge, Taste of Northumbria (Alnwick) and Allendale Primary School all vying to retain their awards.
Runners-up such as John Emery, organiser of Ashington Rocks, George and Ailsa Shiel of Golden Gate Boat Tours, Seahouses, and Norham Village, will all be trying to go one better this time round. Ashington Rocks is already starting its publicity programme for this year, whilst Norham is in the throes of planning a vibrant community picnic.
Alongside this, the Northumberland Day Flag Challenge will again be testing the imagination and tenacity of proud Northumbrians, as it challenges them to be pictured with a Northumberland flag in the most unusual setting or way. Last year saw the flag taken to Japan and also flown from the back of a camel in Morocco, so there is a lot to live up to!
Organiser, Jane Hunt of Catapult PR, says: “Contrary to popular opinion, we have no funding other than that which my own company, Langley Castle and other kind sponsors contribute. Similarly, we are not aligned to any political party, as has been suggested.
“Northumberland Day is about people getting involved because they want to celebrate, are proud to do so, and recognise that a strong community is the foundation of quality of life. Those who have taken part over the past two years will tell you that it is enormous fun, richly rewarding and truly memorable. Last year’s social media posts by Northumbrians led to responses from Northumbrians in exile, stating how jealous they were not to be in the county! That says it all.
“We shall be creating many more memories this year, but also banking memories through our Big Northumberland Day Memory Bank initiative, giving our community celebrations new depth and meaning.”
Other plans are also being worked upon, to make this the biggest and best Northumberland Day to date. The past two have not gone unnoticed as truly exceptional celebrations. The year one PR campaign scooped three regional awards in November 2017 and went on to win the national CIPR Excellence Award in May 2018 for the ‘Best Travel, Leisure and Tourism Campaign’ in the country, beating entries for Legoland, EasyJet, Virgin Holidays, Holidays.com and the National Trust. Last year’s campaign has already scooped another regional PR award.
Sponsors are being sought for various elements of the campaign and anyone interested in supporting their county and their community should contact Jane Hunt on firstname.lastname@example.org Sponsorship starts from as little as £60.