Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Social Mobility Foundation Programmes- apply now!

Social mobility is something that I am very passionate about, and so I would like to let you know that applications for the Social Mobility Foundation's Aspiring Professionals Programme are now open. The programmes are free of charge and are aimed at ambitious and motivated Year 12 students from less privileged backgrounds.

SMF programmes are always hugely successful, with at least 60% of students going onto Russell Group universities every year. IFS Studies have shown that the scale of SMF's impact on elite university entry is akin to a candidate having 3 A*s at A-Level rather than 3 As- it really is worth applying!

Applications must be made between the 27th November and 18th December 2017 (more information about deadlines is available on the Social Mobility Foundation's website), and you can apply now by completing the application form here


Monday, 30 October 2017

Celebrate Bonfire Night in Style!

This weekend is Bonfire Night and among many events taking place around the constituency, Hexham will be celebrating with a bonfire and fireworks display on Saturday! Organised by the Hexham Round Table and supported by Northumberland County Council, the bonfire will be lit at 6.30pm with a fireworks display following at 7pm at Sele Park, Hexham. There will be food stalls, glow bands and much more on sale- entry is free but donations are gratefully accepted to help fund the event and local charities and organisations.

Hexham Round Table has been holding its Bonfire Night since 1956 and attracts huge crowds of around 12,000 every year. Last year they raised over £20,000 and were able to donate more than £6000 to good causes across the Tynedale area.

I encourage you to go along on Saturday- it's always a fantastic event and all for an excellent cause!


Sunday, 29 October 2017

Getting ready for winter!

Like it or not, Winter is just around the corner!

I was pleased this week to hear details of Northumberland County Council's detailed plans for coping with whatever weather the winter throws at us this year.

County-wide, over 100 members of staff are involved with winter preparations and delivery. Twenty nine gritters are available across Northumberland, plus reserves, and cross-border co-operation with Durham is in place to help cover areas such as Blanchland and Allendale. The Council are also working with the NFU to contract farmers in to help- currently around 45 farms in the county are ready to assist with any necessary ploughing prior to gritting by the Council. Officers are also working with Northumbria Police to increase understanding of winter weather protocols.

Operating from 11 depots, 37 tonnes of salt are currently being held with strategic stores available, and more than 1600 grit bins around the County are being filled in advance of the weather turning. Contact details should be available on the outside if residents need to report any broken or empty bins.

Roads will be scheduled for gritting whenever the weather forecast predicts freezing or below freezing temperatures, and the target is for all morning gritting to be completed by 7.30am in advance of the rush hour. A-roads will obviously be the priority, with gritters prioritising other roads once A-roads have been treated. The Council are also trialling new ceramic plough blades which are able to plough right down to the level of the road, thus avoiding the layer of compacted ice that is often left by more traditional plough blades.

Although it's too early to have any accurate forecasts, early indications are that this winter could be much like the last one- wet and relatively mild. I'm confident that Northumberland County Council have the plans in place to cope whatever the weather.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

A Spooky Night in Hexham!

Today is Hexham's annual Spook Night which will see the town transform into all things spooky ahead of Halloween next week! From 11am there will be a fantastic variety of fun-filled Halloween activities for all the family including face painting, a pumpkin competition, lantern and mask making, story telling and fancy dress competitions for children, adults and pets. There will also be rides, attractions and food stalls from 3pm-9pm. The event is organised by Hexham Community Partnership and will be taking place in Hexham town centre and in venues including Hexham Abbey, The Old Gaol and the Queen's Hall. It looks like it will be a spooktacular day in Hexham- go along and join in the Halloween fun!


Friday, 27 October 2017

Remembering our Servicemen and women- 2017 Poppy Appeal

Yesterday the Royal British Legion launched their 2017 Poppy Appeal, and I would like to encourage you to support the appeal and wear your poppies with pride!

This year’s campaign is called Rethink Remembrance, with an emphasis on recognising not only the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces of the past, but also by today’s generation. With this year marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, wearing a poppy and supporting the Royal British Legion honours the memory of those who lost their lives in past conflicts, whilst also remembering servicemen and women who have made huge sacrifices in more recent conflicts like Afghanistan and all of those who still work, not always in combat but in peacekeeping and humanitarian projects.

The Royal British Legion supports members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families, who need help because of injury, illness, bereavement or other forms of hardship. Their annual Poppy Appeal is dedcicated to improving their lives and remembering the fallen.

As Remembrance Sunday approaches, I hope that you will join me in proudly wearing a poppy and remembering our veterans, servicemen and women.


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Working together - the best way forward!

During the summer I visited St Mary Magdalene Cemetery in Prudhoe where I met with members of the Prudhoe Local History Society who have been involved in a restoration project to restore the site. The cemetery was closed in 1909 and was left to become incredibly overgrown and neglected, however the group, along with help from the council, the church and grants, have since won awards for their fantastic work returning the site to a place where residents can visit the graves of relatives and where wildlife now flourishes! The group are doing a great job, and I was delighted to learn that apprentices from Essity's Prudhoe Mill have also been helping out with the restoration. Essity is one of the largest employers in the Tyne Valley and it is great to see their apprentices involved- I would encourage you to do the same!  Co-operation - the way forward.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

My 2017 Christmas Card Competition!

The postman has been bringing some welcome deliveries this week as the first entrants in my Grand Christmas Card Competition have started to arrive at my office! I have asked year 3 pupils from every First school in  the constituency to design a card with the winning design being turned into my constituency Christmas card to be sent to thousands of people, including the Prime Minister.

I am told that there are plenty of other schools still working on their cards- I am looking forward to seeing them all when they are finished, and the winner will be announced in mid November with a great prize for the lucky child!

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Rural Oscars- Nominate now!

Nominations for The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the 'Rural Oscars' are now open ahead of their 13th year, and I would like to encourage you to nominate your favourite rural businesses. The Countryside Alliance Awards honour the skills, produce, tradition, enterprise and people who do outstanding work and make a difference in their local community. Seven regional champions from five categories will be announced in March and they will be invited to Parliament for the British finals, where five will be crowned British Champions in the presence of MPs and Ministers. New this year is a pub category giving you the chance to nominate your favourite Northumberland pub, while other categories include local food/drink, village shop/post office, butcher and rural enterprise.

Nominations are now open until 13th November. We all know that Northumberland is home to so many brilliant businesses- if you would like to nominate your favourite or find out more about The Rural Oscars visit here-


It would be great to hear which businesses you think should be honoured, so if you make a nomination, please tell me about it on my Facebook or Twitter pages!

Monday, 23 October 2017

Get your flu jab now!

This winter could bring a particularly serious strain of flu and I would like to encourage anyone who falls into one of the vulnerable groups to make sure you get a flu vaccination. I have the vaccination every year as I lost my spleen in a riding accident and so am immuno compromised, but if you are aged over 65, a pregnant woman or have an underlying health condition such as heart or respiratory disease or a weakened immune system, please do arrange with your GP surgery to get the flu jab sooner rather than later. It really could be a lifesaver!

The NHS has more information about the flu jab, and you can find out more here-


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Remembering our Servicemen- War Memorials

Three weeks today is Remembrance Sunday, a day when we remember those who have fought bravely in service to our country and the remarkable sacrifice of those who have lost their lives. The North East has made a major contribution during armed conflicts and wars and there are many war memorials around the area dedicated to Northumbrians who have served the country.

These memorials in Blanchland, Wylam and Hexham are just a few of the Hexham constituency's war memorials, remembering the area's local servicemen. I'm always interested to learn more about the history of the area - please send me your photos of any memorials in your community.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

You're Never Too Young to Talk Mental Health!

I want to tell you all about a fantastic initiative that Corbridge Middle School is taking part in this month. 'You're Never Too Young to Talk Mental Health' is a campaign created by experts at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families which aims to increase the support offered for pupils' mental health, and Corbridge Middle School will be showing an animation produced by the Centre and discussing mental health and how to listen to friends who are struggling to cope.

Over 50% of mental illnesses start before the age of 14 and 1 in 10 children has a mental health disorder, such as anger issues, depression and anxiety. Schools have such an important role to play in promoting mental health and well-being among young people, and I would like to commend Corbridge Middle School on their participation in this brilliant initiative.

To find out more about the 'You're Never Too Young to Talk Mental Health' campaign, visit


Friday, 20 October 2017

There's so much going on in the lead up to Christmas!

As Christmas gets ever closer, there are lots of exciting events going on in the Hexham area. Here are just a few...

Halloween Party, 28th October, 4pm-6pm, Vallum Farm Tea Room- Fancy dress, games, a trick or treat hunt and a bring your own carved pumpkin competition, get your tickets from the Tea Room at Vallum Farm for this spooky Halloween party!

Charity Health and Fitness Day, 12th November, Newton Community Centre- Take part in a wide variety of fitness sessions with a healthy lunch, all to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. You can do as much or as little as you want- all you have to do is book in advance at www.ssfitnesspt.co.uk

Charity Movie Night, 14th November, Forum Cinema, Hexham, from 7.45pm- The Forum Cinema's screening of Roberto Benigni's 'Life Is Beautiful' will be accompanied by live music from Off the Wall choir, a raffle and a glass of wine which is included in the £10 ticket.

Christmas Market, 18th November, Vallum Farm, 10am-4pm- Get your Christmas shopping done at Vallum's Christmas Market, with a great selection of stalls, street food, mulled wine, children's activities and Santa in his Grotto!

Christmas Craft Afternoon, 11th December, Mowden Hall Nursery, 2pm-3pm- A fun-filled afternoon of Christmas crafts for your children at Mowden Hall- book in advance by emailing dfgriffith@mowdenhall.co.uk

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Staying safe online

Online safety is such an important issue for parents and families, with issues like cyberbullying and online pornography causing huge concern. That is why I am delighted that Facebook has announced a new commitment to offer a digital safety ambassador programme to every secondary school in the UK. The announcement has been made as part of Facebook's wider commitment to keep people safe online, in partnership with the Diana Award and Childnet International, with the aim of promoting online safety in classrooms across the UK. Training will be offered to thousands of pupils in secondary schools trained as Childnet Digital Leaders or Diana Award Anti-bullying Ambassadors over the next two years, extending their existing programmes so that every secondary school will have a dedicated digital safety ambassador- young people trained to provide peer-to-peer support and lead online safety initiatives in the classroom. This is great news and it is fantastic to see organisations like Facebook actively working to improve online safety.

If you are a parent, teacher or young person, here are some of the resources available on Facebook to keep young people safe online-
  • The Safety Centre which has more information on Facebook's safety policies, tools and resources, as well as access to the Bullying Prevention Hub, Parent's Portal and Online Wellbeing Portal
  • The Parent Portal which offers advice to adults on how to ensure children in their care are using Facebook safely and have a positive experience on the platform
  • The Bullying Prevention Hub, launched in partnership with the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, is a resource for young people, parents and educators to seek support and help for issues relating to bullying and other conflicts through specific actions 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Getting Involved! With Prudhoe Ground Force

I was pleased to join Councillor Gordon Stewart and the dedicated volunteers from Prudhoe Ground Force recently to pick up litter and rubbish in Prudhoe. The group's founder and organiser, James Dobson, has taken the lead on a great number of initiatives, including clearing litter and tidying up the more neglected areas of the town. Prudhoe Ground Force does such a great job taking pride in their community and making Prudhoe a better place to live and work, and I really enjoyed getting involved and meeting everyone in the group! New helpers are always needed so if you'd like to help out, get in touch!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Focus on... Corbridge

There's always plenty to do in Corbridge- whether you're a fan of the outdoors, interested in history, or just want some peace and quiet, you're sure to find something for you!

Corbridge is known for its great variety of small businesses and local shops, making it a fantastic place for some shopping whilst also supporting the local economy! Meanwhile, the town itself is just a short walk from the riverside so it is the perfect place for a peaceful walk to take in the beautiful scenery of Corbridge.

Corbridge is also notable for its fascinating history. The town was once a garrison town for Roman soldiers and its houses are built from stone from the old Roman town of Corstopitum. Today you can explore what was once the Roman town and supply base, as well as learn all about Roman life, at the Corbridge Roman town and museum, which is also home to the amazing Corbridge Hoard, one of the most incredible discoveries ever found around Hadrian's Wall. It's definitely worth a visit! And from a slightly later period of history, Aydon Castle is a fantastic 13th century manor house and makes for a great day out.

A wonderful place for a day out- why not visit Corbridge this weekend and find out for yourself what the town has to offer?!



Monday, 16 October 2017

Tynedale Gift Fair- this month!

Later this month Matfen Hall Hotel will be holding the 2017 Tynedale Gift Fair. On Monday 30th October from 3.30pm-8.30pm and Tuesday 31st October from 10am-3pm, Matfen Hall will be home to a variety of high-quality stalls. Entry is £4 which will automatically enter you into a free prize draw.

The event is supporting The Charlotte Straker Trust, which provides residential and nursing care to the elderly and frail in West Northumberland. The charity has served the community for the past 24 years and aims to provide a high standard of care and facilities to suit each individual resident.

Stallholders include Brocksbushes, the Charlotte Straker Project, Creations for Occasions, Tynedale Tipples and many more. It promises to be a fantastic few days so make sure to go along later this month!



Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sunday Snapshot!

Ensuring the best possible educational outcomes for children in my constituency remains one of the most important parts of my job. I recently visited both Bellingham First and Bellingham Middle Schools where I received a warm welcome from both teachers and Governors. It was a pleasure to meet all the children and pupils- the thumbs up say it all!

Saturday, 14 October 2017

My 2017 Small Business Awards- nominate now!

Saturday 2nd December is Small Business Saturday, a day which highlights and celebrates small businesses and encourages customers to support them by shopping local. The Hexham constituency is home to a multitude of successful small businesses which are a vital part of the area's community and economy, and I hope that everyone across Tynedale and Ponteland will go out and support our local businesses, not only on Small Business Saturday but all year round!

As part of Small Business Saturday, I have launched my Small Business Awards to celebrate the best of the constituency's small businesses. Many small businesses across the area have already been nominated- Shorts of Corbridge, The Pudding Parlour, Finale Shoes, the Black Bull Matfen, Mr Wolf in Hexham, Cogito Books and many more-, but if you know of a great small business that you would like to recognise and nominate then please get in touch, either by filling in a nomination card that you can find in small businesses across Tynedale and Ponteland or by completing the nomination form online here-



Friday, 13 October 2017

Remembering our servicemen- the Knott Brothers

We are now in the month leading up to Remembrance Sunday, a time of year when we remember all those who have fought bravely and lost their lives in service to our country. Like so many areas of the country, the North East has made a huge sacrifice during wars and armed conflicts, and as Remembrance Sunday approaches I would like to highlight some of the incredible stories of bravery and loss of Northumbrians.

As you enter into Heddon-on-the-wall you may have noticed the Knott Memorial Hall on your left, but do you know the history behind the building? The Knott Memorial Hall was given to the village of Heddon by Sir Thomas Garbutt Knott in memory of his parents, Sir James and Lady Margaret Knott, whose lives were marked by tragedy as a result of the First World War. Sir James and Lady Knott had three sons, Thomas, James and Basil, who all served in WWI, however their two younger sons were both killed in action. Captain Henry Basil Knott died in 1915 after being fatally wounded by a bullet to the head, whilst Major James Leadbitter Knott was killed during the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916, making him one of 57,470 British casualties that day.

What makes the brothers’ story so special is that although they were killed almost a year apart and were buried around 70 miles away from each other, they were eventually reunited and buried side by side in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery. This was incredibly unusual as British serviceman were normally buried where they died, suggesting that Sir James Knott must have used great pressure to reunite his two sons. The two graves both carry the same inscription- “Devoted In Life. In Death Not Divided.”

I am always interested to learn more about Northumberland and its history. If you know of any stories of local Northumbrians who have served our country, please do get in touch and share them. 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Dave Hull- Rural Hero!

I was delighted to present Dave Hull, who runs both the Blanchland Shop and Post Office, and The Old Village Shop in Edmundbyers, with his Countryside Alliance Awards prize. Mr Hull won a Rural Hero award in recognition of his community contribution, and it was an honour to present him with his award.

The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the 'Rural Oscars', recognise the skills and produce, tradition, enterprise and people who do outstanding work in their communities.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Help me make Christmas magical for local children!

This week I am launching my seventh successive Christmas Toy Appeal to collect toys for the Salvation Army to distribute to children in the area who otherwise would not receive any gifts this Christmas.

Every year the people of Tynedale and Ponteland respond with such generosity to my appeal, donating hundreds of toys and gifts to be given to some of the poorest children in the area, and I hope that once again the kindness of our community will be apparent this year.

Please help to give local children a very happy Christmas- toys, cuddly toys, colouring books and much more will be very gratefully received, but new toys only please!

Gifts can be dropped off between now and 1st December at my two constituency offices at 1 Meal Market, Hexham, or at Office 2, Horton Park, Ponteland NE13 6BU

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Supporting Team Louise

Last week I was delighted to attend a coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The event was organised by Caroline Miskin and 'Team Louise' who were inspired by their friend Louise Lee, who has terminal cancer. The event was fantastically well-attended with great cakes and company, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Caroline, Louise and Team Louise who put on such a wonderful event. Macmillan offer a wide range of support to those with cancer and their families, and I was really pleased to be able to go along and support the fundraising effort.

Monday, 9 October 2017

World Mental Health Day

Tuesday 10th October is World Mental Health Day, giving us all a great opportunity to show our support for better mental health care and awareness. World Mental Health Day, which this year has the theme of workplace wellbeing, is such an important event- mental health problems can affect anyone at any time in their life, and so I would encourage everyone to use this World Mental Health Day as an opportunity to learn as much as possible about mental health, while also increasing awareness and taking a stand against negative mental health stereotypes and language. The YMCA and the NHS will be relaunching their #IAMWHOLE campaign for this very purpose, with the aim of encouraging others to talk about their mental health difficulties, while Young Minds, the UK's leading charity championing the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, are asking people to wear yellow and tweet their support at #HelloYellow on Tuesday to show young people that they're not alone when it comes to their mental health. With recent research showing that almost a quarter of girls and one in ten boys report symptoms of depression at the age of 14, this is a fantastic cause, and it would be great if you could support them too!

Last week the Prime Minister also announced plans for an independent review of mental health legislation and practice to tackle the issue of mental health detention, and I thoroughly welcome this announcement. 

There are so many important campaigns and groups who will be raising awareness of mental health problems on World Mental Health Day this Tuesday- do get involved! 



Sunday, 8 October 2017

An inspirational community champion and a welcome announcement

One of my highlights of the past week was when I met with Alicia Armstrong, a recipient of one of my Hexham Constituency Community Champion awards. Alicia is a leukaemia survivor who has since set world records at swimming in the World Transplant Games. A bone marrow donor was found for Alicia, offering her a life-saving transplant, and I discussed with Alicia the need to sign up more organ donors as she is an ambassador for organ donation and understandably passionate about this issue. I was delighted therefore to hear the Prime Minister announce this week plans to create an opt-out system for organ donation. This is great news, and will undoubtedly save lives. Alicia is such an inspirational young lady and it was an honour to spend time speaking with her about an issue she is so passionate about.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Have you got the Bottle?!

I would like to congratulate Kenny Brunskill, who has been nominated for a Historic England Angel Award in the Best Craftsman or Apprentice category for his work to repair the Corbridge Bottle Kilns. The Corbridge Bottle Kilns were built in the early 19th century and are one of the only remaining examples of a Tyne Valley rural pottery. Kenny is a mason and has carried out vital repairs to the buildings, including repointing and brick replacement.

The Angel Awards are run by Historic England and are supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation with the aim of celebrating local volunteers and groups who make a lasting difference to their local heritage.

You can help Kenny win another award- the Historic England Followers' and Telegraph Readers Favourite award- by voting here- https://historicengland.org.uk/get-involved/angel-awards/best-craftsperson-or-apprentice/corbridge-bottle-kilns/

Good luck Kenny!

Friday, 6 October 2017

Oh yes it is! It's time for the Dragon Tale pantomime!

This October, the Dragon Tale Theatre Group is performing its annual pantomime and they would like you to come along! From Wednesday 25th- Saturday 28th October at Highfield Middle School, Prudhoe, this year's pantomime is Dick Whittington and it promises to be a fantastic, fun-filled show!

I would also encourage you to get involved with Dragon Tale if you have an interest in participating in a production, whether on the stage or behind the scenes. Established in 2000, Dragon Tale Theatre Group is run by volunteers and works with members of all ages from the local community to produce an annual pantomime. Everyone is welcome to become part of the cast and crew from 8 years and up- there is no charge and no matter what your ability you are welcome to join. The charity provides opportunities for young people and adults to explore music, dance and drama, while also learning skills in areas including performance, costume production, stage-craft, make-up, sound and lighting, scenery, music and fundraising. Why not give it a try and get involved with Dragon Tale's next production?

To purchase tickets for Dragon Tale Theatre Group's pantomime, Dick Whittington, visit- www.dragontaletheatregroup.co.uk

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Bank, Camera, Action!

The Bank of England is inviting local secondary schools from the Hexham constituency to take part in their digital media competition, 'Bank, Camera, Action'.

To coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Bank of England being granted operational independence over monetary policy, school children aged 11-18 are asked to submit a short film (1-3 minutes) on the topic of 'What independence means to me'. Whether it's leaving school, getting a Saturday job or passing your driving test, all students have to do is create a film on your phone, tablet or camera that communicates what independence means to you in an interesting and imaginative way- you can use graphics, interviews, animation, dance, or whatever else you can think of!

There will be prizes for both schools and individuals, and the winning films will be made available on the Bank's website and on social media. Register for the competition by Monday 9th October by emailing- filmcompetition@bankofengland.co.uk and submit your entries by 11th December. Get involved, be creative and tell us what independence means to you! This could be your first step towards becoming the next Steven Spielberg or Kathryn Bigelow!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Gaol that houses Hexham's fascinating past

It's one of the most impressive sites in Hexham, but how much do you know about the fascinating history of Hexham Old Gaol?

Claimed to be the oldest purpose-built prison in England, Hexham Old Gaol was built on the order of the Archbishop of York, William Melton, in 1330-33. Prisoners came from the Hexhamshire area, the area ruled by the Archbishop of York, until the 1820s, when a new county gaol was built in Morpeth, meaning that the Hexham Gaol was mostly used for petty thieves.

Since then, the Gaol has had many uses, including a bank, a billiards club and a place to fire watch during the Second World War. It is now a brilliant museum, showcasing collections covering archaeology, costume, law, photography, weapons and much more. Hexham Old Gaol is such an interesting building with an incredible history right in the centre of Hexham- I definitely encourage you to visit!


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Northumberland pub is best in the country!

We all know that Northumberland is home to some of the country's best pubs, but now it is official! The Good Pub Guide 2018 has named The Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland 'Inn of the Year', and the title is very well deserved! As well as serving up delicious food and locally brewed ales, The Lord Crewe Arms is famous for its history and character. Dating back to 1165, making it one of the oldest inns in the country, the pub is full of history- Jacobite Rebellion leader General Tom Foster hid behind the inn’s fireplace in 1715, while monks were said to use the inn as a hiding hole.

This is a thoroughly deserved accolade, and I am delighted that one of Northumberland's many great pubs has been recognised nationally! If you haven't already been, I certainly recommend a visit to The Lord Crewe Arms- the country's best inn!


Monday, 2 October 2017

Victory for Paul Dunne, Close House, and Northumberland at the British Masters!

Yesterday brought an end to a fabulous few days of golf at Close House, with a dramatic final day of the British Masters. Ireland's Paul Dunne shot an impressive nine-under-par round yesterday to win his first European Tour title, beating Rory McIlroy who finished second despite his best round of the weekend on Sunday. It was a suitably exciting end to the tournament which has been a brilliant advert for Northumberland and sport in the North East, and I would like to congratulate Paul Dunne on an outstanding win.

Over the course of the four day tournament, more than 60,000 golf fans arrived at Close House to watch some of the world's best golfers in action and I would also like to congratulate Graham Wylie for putting on this fantastic event. I hope that this weekend is only the first of many top sporting events we will see in the North East in the future!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Exploring our Heritage

Great news for Hexham as the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded a grant of £8,900 to the Hexham Book Festival! The Heritage Lottery fund aims to celebrate, protect and look after our heritage, helping projects including museums, historic buildings, local parks and photographic records to preserve our history. The project, entitled 'Changed lives, research and writing project for podcast and performance for young people in Northumberland', will focus on working with young people with low literacy attainment to explore the lives of miners' children during the First World War. It sounds like a fantastic project, and so I am delighted with this news which will benefit young people in the Hexham area.