Welcome to the ninth Bugle of the Covid-19 pandemic, reporting news and views relating to life in Bowsden and
district in these days of less constrained social activity. Published by the Editor every two months, the Bugle is
an independent news-sheet seeking to inform its readers and reflect their opinions. Contributions are always
welcome and should be sent to the Editor (phone 01289 388 543 or e-mail email@example.com) by 24th September
for inclusion in the October issue. n.b. whenever Berwick telephone numbers are quoted, the 01289 prefix will be
Despite the optimism of Ministers, the pressures from some elements of business to relax restrictions and the
marked fall in the number of new cases, many of the scientists responsible for advising the Government are still
urging caution. The latest outcome of the debate, Step 4 which was published on July 19th, is a switch from
mandatory rules such as those on the wearing of masks and the mixing of groups of people to advisory guidance
which sadly many will not follow if not required by law. . In your Editor’s opinion, common sense is all too rare and
inevitably infection rates will continue to rise until more people have been fully vaccinated.
However it is still early days and perhaps public behaviour will be better than we should expect. Happily there is
considerable reluctance to abandon all the measures which once were deemed essential for our safety. Certainly
our family and many of our friends will still be wearing masks indoors and avoiding close personal contact even
after the mandatory requirements have been relaxed. Our local MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has said that she will
continue to wear a mask in certain circumstances such as on busy public transport or when meeting people with
whom she does not normally mix.
Bowsden Village Hall has been closed since mid March last year (apart from one day in May when
open for use as a Polling Station) as all residents will be aware. Much thought has been given by the Committee
to the eventual re-opening and all previous users have been consulted, as well as ACRE (Action with Communities
in Rural England, a user group representing villages large and small). It had been planned to re-open the Hall
with a splendid splash for villagers at the end of July to celebrate the ending of restrictions. This will not now
happen but the Committee has decided to re-open the Hall from Tuesday 3rd August in a low-key way, keeping
many of the previous control measures in place for the time being. These include social distancing, regular hand
washing and the wearing of masks unless the ventilation is enhanced, for example by keeping doors open.
The re-opening will be led by some of the Ladies Keep Fit Group organised by Eileen Wilson (388 543) which it
is hoped to start on Tuesday 3rd August at 10 a.m. As there is likely to be a bigger demand than can be
accommodated safely in the Hall at any one time, it has been decided to split the group and run alternate weeks.
Any persons wishing to join the Group will be very welcome but should phone Eileen first for availability.
The first BVH Coffee Morning will not now be held on August 7th as announced previously but we hope it might
be possible on Saturday September 4th if circumstances allow. The first Bell View Soup and Sandwich Lunch
will go ahead as planned from 12 noon on Wednesday 18th August It must be stressed that these are our target dates and subject to any Government revision should this become necessary.
Bowsden Parish Council will hold its next meeting on Monday October 11th at 7 p.m. in the Village
Hall with newly-elected Councillor Jayne Watson in the Chair. Chris Betts and Dominic Elsworth wiil be
welcomed onto the Committee as co-opted Councillors. As always, these meetings are open to the public who
will be able to raise any issues which are causing them concern.
A very Warm Welcome to Bowsden for two couples who have recently moved into the village:
Sean and Jan from Ouston near Chester-le-Street who now live in Bowsden Hall Cottages with their dogs and
Tony and Suzy from Northamptonshire who now are in The School House with Percy the Labrador. We wish
them well and hope they enjoy our first tentative steps out of Lockdown restrictions.
Work on the New Berwick Hospital has now restarted following the temporary halt due to the
discovery of some archaeological finds. The buildings that used to house the reception, the general day ward,
the theatres and some outbuildings have been cleared prior to demolition which is being done in a managed way
to link with the archaeological work which will continue. Some existing services have already been relocated to
other hospitals, including oncology which has been moved to Alnwick Infirmary. Some patients have been
transferred to the La Cura care home in Berwick where they will be treated by Trust staff in a segregated unit with
a separate entrance. The Minor Injuries Unit and other outpatient services will continue at the Berwick Infirmary.
It is hoped that the archaeological work will have been completed by the end of the year and the new construction
will begin in Spring 2022. Meanwhile visitors to the site are welcome to use a special viewing platform where they
can watch the archaeological work in progress. The platform is accessible from a wooden gate on Low Greens.
This has been open from 21st July, Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Friday 27th August Staff
will be available between these times to explain what is being done and what has been found. So far bones and
pottery have been identified from the Medieval period, together with signs of an organised system of plots and
boundaries. Some post holes have been found which show where buildings have been.
Readers with an interest in Archaeology may also wish to know that TillVAS (the Till Valley
Archaeological Society) will be digging at Mardon Farm (near Branxton) from 17th until 30th August where there is
an Iron Age site. If you would like to know more, TillVAS are holding a Pre-Dig Drop in on Sunday 1st August from
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Crookham Village Hall. Here you will be able to find out about life at Mardon in the Iron Age
and learn what goes on behind the scenes before and after a dig. If you get bitten by the bug, you will be able to
sign up to be a volunteer digger for a day or more.
Lowick Parish Church welcomed Rt Revd Christine, Bishop of Newcastle, to Norham Church on
Sunday 18th July where she confirmed Lowick resident Cedric Greene in a special service. Cedric was supported
by his parents and family, together with Revd Charlotte Osborn and several Lowick parishioners.
St Anne’s Parish Church Ancroft held its Patronal Festival on Sunday 25th July with a Songs of Praise service
at 11 a.m. followed by refreshments in the churchyard and entertainment provided by Norham Silver Band.
An idea introduced by our new Vicar is the holding of a joint service on every “Fifth Sunday” when all three Parishes
combine to worship in their own church. The next will be at 10 a.m. on Sunday 29th August in Ford where the
preacher will be Canon Leo Osborn.
The ceremonial Beating of the Bounds of Lowick Parish has this year been scheduled for Bank Holiday Monday
30th August. As usual, two walks are planned, both beginning at 10 a.m. with breakfast in Lowick Village Hall.
The shorter walk (3 miles, led by Niall Cartlidge and the longer (12 miles) led by Richard Black. Refreshments will
be available at Hunting Hall and Holborn, Entries are by donation to Lowick church funds (suggested at £3 for
adults, £2 for children with family at £10). Information packs will be available at the start with details of the route.
Dogs will be welcome but must be on leads.
Potholes….road users in Northumberland cannot fail to have noticed the deteriorating condition of our roads,
not just the minor ones but many of our main roads which have suffered from the winter rains and frosts. Now
some of the worst have been repaired including Lowick’s Dryburn Road on which not only have some holes been
filled but whole sections of road have been resurfaced.
Cruise Liners came to Berwick on July 21st and 22nd, vindicating the investment in a new pontoon
which would enable passengers to come ashore in tenders while the ships remained moored in the bay. The
smaller vessel, Island Sky of 4200 tons brought 66 passengers but the larger Spirit of Discovery (58,250 tons)
arrived the following day with 560. Passengers were offered outings to Holy Island and Manderson House (Duns)
whilst others chose to remain in Berwick. Sadly one can never depend on the weather and although the sea was calm enoughto transfer the passengers ashore by tender, there was a typical haar or sea fret and visibility remained poor most of the day. Ironically the weather had been particularly good in this area for several weeks.
Button Cells as used in many remote control devices can be lethal if swallowed. A mother told an inquest
in North Staffordshire that she found a remote with a missing battery after her two year old daughter became
unwell. The child was taken to Royal Stoke University hospital where she was given 2 pints of blood but died while
surgeons tried to repair a hole in her oesophagus. A consultant paediatrician Dr Anna Pigott told the inquest that
there had been a number of deaths or very serious injuries from children swallowing button batteries. She said
that the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health are currently undertaking a national survey to determine
how many children are killed or harmed by button batteries. Dr Pigott also said “symptoms that may indicate that a child has swallowed a battery include coughing or drooling, coughing up blood, and pointing to their throat or tummy. Children with any of these symptoms without another obvious reason should be taken to hospital immediately for assessment where a simple X-ray can identify if a battery has been swallowed”
A Bold New Strategy for Healthcare was launched outdoors on 25th June at Berwick Infirmary.by
Sir James Mackey in a meeting at which he committed the Northumbria Healthcare Trust to an ambitious new
programme. Focussed on preventing people from becoming patients by helping them to live well and healthily for
as long as possible, the new approach recognises a number of factors outside the traditional area of health care.
For example, the issue of health inequalities has long been a concern as people living in more deprived areas
have much higher rates of preventable disease and earlier deaths than those in more affluent areas.
Our Community Promise is based on six key pillars, relating to the wider factors which fuel health inequalities.
These fall under poverty, employment, education, economy, environment and wellbeing. Each pillar provides for
a series of formal actions to which the Healthcare Trust is committed and against which outcomes can be
measured and reported. As a major employer as well as a buyer and user of products and services, the Trust is
well-placed to have an impact beyond the hospitals and community services which it already provides.
A good example is the Trust’s new Manufacturing Hub, set up at Seaton Delaval during the pandemic to secure
the supply of PPE for themselves and NHS colleagues. It created 60 jobs and 10 apprenticeships at a time when
the economy was under pressure. Sir James said that the Trust’s new mantra will be “Make local, buy local” with
a commitment to use local suppliers and contractors where possible and ensuring that firms know how to bid for
work. There will be a series of events to make communities aware of the wide range of job opportunities and partnerships
with schools to drive aspirations and open pathways into health and care careers. Recent figures show that of
over 300 staff currently on apprenticeships, more than a third are aged between 16 and 25, a third are from areas
rated in the top 20% of the most deprived in England and a quarter are from rural areas. Despite these excellent
figures, there is a target to increase the number of apprentices by 30% over the next three years. Environmental sustainability has been a focus for a number of years with carbon emissions from energy use down by 41% over the last 5 years. It is planned that the new Berwick Hospital will be net zero carbon emissions, as well as the new facility for sterilising medical equipment being built beside the Northumbria Hospital at Cramlington. In making this commitment in Berwick, Northumbria Healthcare Trust became the first NHS Trust in the country to focus on the full range of ways in which it can make a difference, and make it in the presence of the Energy Minister (coincidentally our local MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan) and Dr Henry Kippin, Managing Director of the North of Tyne
The Forest Garden continues to develop and this month Claire Smith writes: In an attempt to keep the
Forest Garden as “no dig”, I’ve been covering cut grass with cardboard and planting into holes made in it. If
anyone has any spare cardboard boxes, I’d be grateful if you would contact me and I’ll come and pick them up. I
thought I had enough but I’ve run out ! Ideally I’m looking for large boxes, brown cardboard on both sides. The
Sellotape needs to be removed which I don’t mind doing but I’d prefer boxes without tons of it or plastic labels.
I’ve a glut of cucumbers and courgette at the moment and also I may have too many peppers and chillies in the
near future. I need to get the hang of how many plants I need to feed two people !! If any one would like to swap
some surplus onions or fruit for some please contact me Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org or 388 714
Bowsden Moor Logs are available from Thomas Watson on 07375 378218
By Rail from China was the result of the closure of the Suez Canal when a large container ship became
jammed across the channel and blocked the vital East-West link to all traffic. To ensure continuity of supplies,
local joinery company Howden’s switched to rail, thereby significantly reducing the time in transit. It would be
interesting to see the comparative costs and benefits of the two routes.
Litter on Roadside Verges is again causing problems as selfish lazy people refuse to take their litter
home and leave it for “someone else” to dispose of. Some locations are of course worse than others (car parks
near beaches or other beauty spots being obvious examples) but verges on through routes such as the A1 are all
affected, particularly where there are parking areas or lay-bys. Even local roads where tradesmen’s vans and
other vehicles stop for a break between jobs can have their crop of cans and empty packets (have a look at the
parking area on the B6525 where it passes the end of the Bowsden lane).
You may not have heard of SENRUG but it is a watchdog that has been active on behalf of
Northumberland rail users for a number of years. The acronym stands for South East Northumberland Rail Users
Group but its remit today covers rail services in the whole County. Of course the pandemic has had a huge
impact on these but the London & North Eastern Railway’s proposals for their new timetable will be no less bad
for Northumberland rail users. Every station on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) will receive a worse service
than the December 2019 timetable, Berwick and Morpeth being particularly badly affected (Berwick is set to lose
72 trains per week at a time when the demand is rising) Local County Councillor Georgina Hill has long been pressing for improved services to and from Berwick as has our MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan who is urging us to write to LNER before the consultation period ends on 5th August. There is a public meeting on Monday 2nd August at 5 p.m. in Berwick Town Hall where Georgina will be speaking
as will Dennis Fancett from SENRUG. Please come, hear the discussion and send your views to LNER.
Toby’s Tailpiece (a dog’s eye view of the world) is now written by us, Leo and Freya, two
Dalmatians who live with Eileen and Harry Wilson here in Bowsden. We always like to write about helpful dogs
and who better to tell us about the latest developments than the charity called Medical Detection Dogs based in a
village near Milton Keynes. Their current work is a joint venture with Durham University and the London School
of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in which dogs are being trained to detect the odour of Corona Virus. More than
3000 NHS staff and members of the public were asked to supply socks, T-shirts and masks with their own odour,
By introducing the dogs to samples from patients who had tested positive for Covid as well as samples from people
with negative tests, they quickly determined that the dogs could identify the smell of Covid.
They then began training to pick out Covid samples and ignore the others. Six dogs were then selected for a
“double blind” trial where neither the scientists in the room nor the dogs knew which samples were positive or
negative. The dogs identified positive samples with accuracies ranging from 82 to 94%, consistently outperforming
standard lateral flow tests. Significantly the dogs were able to detect people in the early stages of infection and
about to become infectious. The work is going on and the potential is enormous….imagine dogs screening airport
passengers as they pass through immigration.
STOP PRESS ….
We have just heard that Ritchie, Karen and Kirstin Blake will be leaving Lowick Village Store on 30th September
2021 after six years of serving the local community . They are actively looking for a buyer to take on the business
and any interested parties are welcome to contact them, either in person, by e-mail email@example.com , via
Facebook or phone 388 644 where their interest will be forwarded to the landlord of the building.
We know that Karen and Ritchie would like to thank the people of Bowsden who have helped support the shop
and they are now excited about beginning the next chapter in their lives. For our part we would like to thank them
for all their help and support, particularly to our more vulnerable residents during the pandemic.
We are sure that you would like us to wish Ritchie, Karen and Kirstin all very best in their new roles, whatever and
wherever they may be.