Northumberland Day organisers have been raising awareness and stirring up local pride, getting out and about with their ‘Rather Big Northumberland Day’ flag.
First stop for the flag was Seahouses harbour, in a town which will be turned red and yellow for the weekend celebrations and Northumberland Day itself, on May 26. The team at Golden Gate Farne Island Boat Trips helped reveal the message to Northumbrians this weekend – show pride in your county.
The flag was then unveiled on May 21 at Hexham Racecourses ‘Celebrating Northumberland’ event, to ensure race-goers and TV cameras knew about the celebrations and to remember to use the hashtag #NorthumberlandDay in social media posts.
A packed schedule already exists for Northumberland Day, featuring everything from a brand-new Blyth-based Festival of Northumberland, organised by Blyth Development Trust and to be attended by the new Mayor of North of Tyne, Jamie Driscoll, to tours of Langley Castle and its medieval battlements by costumed knights, food and drink launches, disability and additional needs sporting and craft activities, Ashington Rocks rock festival and arts and crafts events and drop-in sessions.
Kirkharle have the biggest intrigue behind their event, with a Northumberland Day flag to be raised each day, from Wednesday May 22, in a spot that has historical significance, thanks to an event or occurrence that happened there.
Perhaps the most iconic events will be the walk over the sands on the Pilgrim’s Way to Holy Island, organised by Foosteps Northumberland and the sunset cruise to Grace Darling’s Longstone Island, with Golden Gate Boat Tours.
Certain villages like Norham, Beadnell and Haydon Bridge are really going to town. As well as having a community picnic, games and tours of the castle, Norham also has painting workshops, to allow people to learn how to paint Turner’s views. Beadnell is again planning its all-day celebration around the Craster Arms and again having the parade of Northumbrian pipers that proved such a wow-factor last year. Haydon Bridge will have its usual vibrant celebrations but is also planting up Wellington boots for added village decoration.
Businesses are also involved. On May 24, Northumberland College will film the businesses in which its apprentices are working, to help showcase business contribution to the county.
But the big flag is scheduled to have another outing on Saturday May 25, the day before Northumberland Day. This will be for the Big Northumberland Day Blyth Beach Photo Bomb’, when Guides from various Blyth groups will be holding the flag on Blyth beach, surrounded by as many people as want to get into the picture as possible.
The Guides are excited about playing their part in Northumberland Day 2019 and hope to recruit more members as a result of their involvement both this year and with regard to an exciting initiative for next year.
Those wishing to Blyth Beach photo bombers are being asked to dress in red or yellow, if they can and to head to the beach by 12 noon, so that a spectacular photo can be set up for 12.30pm.
This is just one example of how Northumberland Day is bringing different sections of the community together, through collaborations and shared projects, but also the celebrations that result as well. Last week, North Northumberland Hospice took part in the Northumberland Day Matchbox Memories initiative, which saw much-loved memories of Northumberland being written on a plain matchbox. These memories will join those of schoolchildren and their parents and grandparents in a Big Northumberland Day Memory Bank.
Organiser, Jane Hunt, says: “Northumberland Day is not just a celebration, but a force for good, uniting communities behind a common goal – that of showing pride in the county. We are also generating economic benefit for businesses and bringing additional tourism spend into the county. There is nothing not to like about Northumberland Day, which is driven by passion, not pounds.”
The organisers are planning to present seven of their coveted fused-glass ‘Northumbie’ Awards this year, although there is still time for sponsors to get involved from as little as £60. Current sponsors are: Northumberland County Show, Langley Castle Hotel, Helen Grierson Glass Studio, Catapult PR, Ken Bradbury, Northumberland County Council and The County Day Company. The cost is affordable enough for individuals to sponsor, as well as businesses.
Everyone is being urged to get on board and use the hashtag #NorthumberlandDay to promote their activities, whether they are finding Northumberland Day pebbles hidden by the Northumberland Rocks group or listening to the Newbiggin-on-Sea choir performing in Melanie’s Tea Room in the town, at 3pm on Saturday May 25, whilst tucking into Nettle Cheese scones.
A live feed from passionate Northumbrians currently overseas – Backpacks and Cameras – will show photographs from around the county all day on Sunday. Those wishing to view and comment via a live chat facility can do so at http://www.youtube.com/c/BackpacksAndCameras
Northumberland Day organiser, Jane Hunt, says; “We are thrilled by what’s happening to celebrate our third Northumberland Day, by the traffic to our website and by the engagement on social media. Northumberland Day has gained massive momentum this year, as we believed it would. We already being talked about in the same breath as Yorkshire Day, which has been going since the 1970s. Northumbrians should be very proud.”