Bowsden Bugle
June 2021
Welcome to the eighth Bugle of the Covid-19 pandemic, reporting news and views relating to life in Bowsden and
district in these days of controlled 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 by 28th July for inclusion
in the August issue. n.b. whenever Berwick telephone numbers are quoted, the 01289 prefix will be omitted.
Here in North Northumberland we seem to have escaped the worst of the pandemic but it is still early days and
the old Scottish warning “gang warily” seems relevant advice. Sadly the Government seems less than willing to
set clear rules, relying on us to exercise good sense and play fair. We have been lucky in that such behaviour is
still the norm in our society but can we be sure that this will continue when sunny beaches beckon ? As we go to
press, the first holiday flights are taking off for Portugal and others will inevitably follow.

Bowsden Parish Council held its Annual Parish Meeting on Tuesday 11th May in the splendid new
meeting room at Bowsden West Farm. This was immediately followed by the Annual General Meeting and the first
meeting of the new Parish Council. Draft minutes of all three meetings are published on the Village Notice Board
and on the Bowsden website

In the Parish Meeting, the Chairman reported that the fencing around the Park had been completed, the telephone
box removed and new 30 mph signs relocated at the west end of the village. The first risk assessment had been
carried out for the Park and an inspection rota established. The damaged road grit bin had been replaced.
Councillors Julie Gibbs, Rob O’Rourke and Harry Wilson were retiring after the meeting and were thanked for their
valuable input. Sadly Mike Simpson our stalwart Parish Clerk is also stepping down and will be a hard act to
follow, having kept the Council on the straight and narrow for many years. However we have been fortunate to
tempt Bowsden resident Sue Sim to take on the job and we wish her well in her new role.
In the Annual General Meeting the Councillors elected Jayne Watson as Chairperson and Graeme Reavley Vice Chairman.

The main business was the approval of the Annual Internal Audit report, the Annual Governance
Statement and the Annual Accounting Statement and signature of the Certificate of Exemption.
An ordinary meeting of the Parish Council was then held with Jayne Watson in the Chair to receive a financial
statement, agree the rota for risk inspection of the Park and invite Dominic Elsworth to become a co-opted Parish
Councillor (post-meeting note Chris Betts has also been co-opted). The next meeting will be held on Monday
October 11th in the Village Hall. There being no other business the Chaiman closed the meeting by thanking Mike
Simpson for all his work as Parish Clerk and welcoming Sue Sim to the role.

Bowsden Village Hall has been closed since mid-March last year and only opened briefly for use as a
Polling Station on 6th May for the Local Elections. As reported in the February Bugle, the delayed Annual General
Meeting was held virtually on December 19t,h and received reports from the retiring Officers and elected new
Trustees. Since then the Trustees have met virtually as a Committee six times. Advantage has been taken of the
enforced closure to commission a buildings survey and deal with the few problems identified. Regular BVH users
will be pleased to learn that the problematic sliding doors are now working.
Much thought has been given to the eventual re-opening of the Hall and all the previous users have been
consulted, as well as ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England). It is hoped that all the regular Hall
events such as Coffee Mornings on the first Saturdays and Pub Nights on the 3rd Fridays, together with the Soup
& Sandwich Lunches organised by Bell View Services on the 3rd Wednesdays will restart as soon as Regulations
allow. It is too soon to commit to definite dates but assuming that the Road Map date of 21st June is unchanged,
then we would hope to host some form of Celebratory Event for residents to mark the end of most restrictions on
Saturday 26th June. This would be followed by our first Coffee Morning on Saturday 3rd July and the first Soup &
Sandwich Lunch on 21st July. It must be stressed that these are our target dates and subject to any Government
revision should circumstances change.

The New Berwick Hospital was making good progress until some archaeological finds on the site
have led to what we hope will be a temporary halt in the development. Although the buildings that used to house
the general day ward, the day hospital, theatres and the physiotherapy department are being cleared prior to
demolition, this has not yet started. Some existing services may have to be relocated to other hospitals, including
oncology and some ambulatory care. All existing patients will be notified of any changes.
It is difficult to be more specific about the effect on the timescale as its scope will almost certainly be determined
by results of further archaeological excavation work. Inevitably delivery of the new hospital will be delayed and
additional costs incurred.

Redevelopment of the former Bowsden Black Bull site is well underway with the first
of the new five-bedroomed houses taking shape and the footings of the second now clearly in view. We
understand that a deposit has already been taken on the first house (the one furthest away from the village). The
properties will be known as Cheviot’s View (we are at a loss as to why there is an apostrophe in the name).
A New PPE Factory was opened recently in Seaton Delaval by the Prime Minister during his recent visit
to Northumberland. On a site of some 40,000 sq m, there will be over 60 jobs for local people and even better
there will 10 apprenticeships. Personal Protective Equipment made in the new factory for the NHS will include
isolation gowns, scrubs, masks and theatre hoods.

Bugle Correspondent Colin Wakeling writes:
“If you go down to the woods today you might think a hippy colony has moved in. Fear not, some of the locals
have been working to improve overgrown footpaths after the rediscovery of local walks during the Lockdown. Ohe
route has been partly lost thanks to undergrowth but you can try it for yourself by following the rudimentary markers
(several teeshirts were harmed in the process) placed temporarily amongst the trees to guide you through the
woods until the footpath can be better established.
Fields on both sides of the woods have been sprayed by the landowners to indicate the route of the paths. Coming
from Bowsden, the path begins at Bowsden West Farm (which starts as a bridleway but becomes a footpath in
Berrington-Kyloe Parish) and continues to Berrington Lough. The Berrington Burn is crossed by a stout footbridge
and cloth markers start thereafter through the woods. These are not under active management but contain a wide
array of plant, fungi, bird and animal life. Please respect this environment and do not wander too far from the
marked path. A small tributary burn will have to be crossed/jumped at the northern edge of the woods since at
present there is no footbridge but generally the path is quite usable with care although stout shoes and leg
coverings are advised.

More Local Pandemic Heroes include Newcastle Building Society’s community partnership branch
within the Cheviot Centre in Wooler. The branch officially opened in February 2020 but the North East’s largest
building society has been working hard for its members for over 150 years.
The branch team is led by Wooler local Siobhan Younger who has worked for the Building Society for 16 years at
its Alnwick, Berwick and now Wooler branches. Siobhan said “I’ve lived in Wooler most of my life and I feel the
Society has fitted in here nicely. It has so much to offer the local community and has brought back the face to
face financial services they lost when the banks closed. Throughout the pandemic the branch has remained
open, supporting existing members with their needs and helping the wider community through volunteering and
companionship calls.

The Society is committed to helping its communities make positive changes and has provided more than £2.1m
of financial support to local causes since 2016 through grants and donations from the NBS Community Fund at
the Community Foundation. Most recently the Society has supported Northumberland Mountain Rescue, the
Wooler Community Fund Garden and Hospice Care North Northumberland.
To find out more about the services which the branch team can help you with, visit the branch, call 01668 260360
or email

May 6th was Election Day and polling took place in Bowsden Village Hall for our County Councillor
(Norham and Islandshires ward) as well as for the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (for which the
election had been had been postponed from May 2020 due to the pandemic). No election was needed for
Bowsden Parish Council as only three nominations had been received so the new Parish Councillors are Ian
Jackson, Graeme Reavely and Jayne Watson.

Four candidates competed for our seat on the County Council. Turnout was 45.42 % and votes cast were for
Michael Coombes (Lab 170), Colin Hardy (Con 616), Ged Thomas (Ind 312) and Dougie Watkin (Lib Dem 529).
Voting for the Police & Crime Commissioner was by single transferable vote and when second preferences were
included, Kim McGuinness, the sitting Labour candidate was confirmed in office with 206,467 votes compared
with 139,875 for Duncan Crute, her Conservative opponent.

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 too which have suffered from the winter
rains and frosts.. At the recent meeting of Bowsden Parish Council, Colin Harvey, our newly-elected
County Councillor said that part of the solution was in our own hands. He urged us to go on line and
report any potholes to the County using the website

Berwick Male Voice Choir is resuming practice in the Grainstore at Bowsden West on
Wednesday 23rd June (Covid Regulations permitting) at 7 p.m.. New members are always welcome. If you
would like to come along for a taster, phone Ian Jackson on 07889 050976.

Claire Smith writes : The plant-swapping group is going well and there has been a good selection of
plants, fruit and vegetables available. Please remember, even if you don’t want to be a member of the group if
you are thinning or digging up plants, please get in touch as someone else may want the plant you are going to
throw away. From donations received for surplus vegetables, £26.50 was raised for “A Wing and a Prayer”, the Scottish Hen
Rescue charity and another £27.80 for the Addison’s Disease Self-Help Group (a family member is walking the
length of the Thames to raise money for this charity). A really big thank-you to everyone who donated, it really
was much appreciated. If you would like to know more about sharing plants and seeds, I can be contacted on

Ikea will now Buy Back Pre-assembled Furniture, clearly a great idea which has been
welcomed by Friends of the Earth and which will appeal to many customers. A report in The Times newspaper
outlines the scheme in which customers can take back their fully assembled furniture and receive vouchers with
no expiry date to be used in their stores. Staff will check the item and if it is complete and with no scratches, Ikea
will pay 50% of its original price. Items with minor marks will be valued at 40% and well-used items 30% of initial

Products eligible for the buy-back scheme include dressers, sideboards, bookcases, shelf units, chests of drawers,
office cabinets, desks, dining tables and chairs without upholstery. Ikea will not buy back sofas, armchairs, baby
products such as cots and changing mats, curtains, mattresses, kitchen cabinets, items containing glass or any
items not classed as furniture.

Ikea plans to re-sell the products in the “circular hub area” (previously known as the “bargain corner”) of each store
and is testing the idea of adding a label to used items describing their history (where and when bought, who by
etc.) The scheme is already in use in several countries including Sweden, France, the Netherlands and Canada.

Shipping Container Self Storage is available at Bowsden West Farm. For more information
contact Tom Jackson 07738 829377

Glendale Connect needs your help to continue its valuable work in support of the most vulnerable
in our local community. You may have seen our new Book Box, located beside the Village Notice Board which is
already being used. The rules are quite simple, if you take a book, please return it when read or if you want to
keep, please replace it with another book.

Glendale Connect has bought Friendship Benches for Wooler Market Place, organised a weekly Over 50s Youth
Club ( yes, that’s what we said!) and run a fortnightly Film Club. Most importantly it organises the much loved
Annual Christmas Day event in the Glendale Hall where some fifty folk are entertained to Coffee and Carols
followed by a traditional Turkey Dinner with trimmings followed by Christmas Pudding and more music and ending
with the Queen’s broadcast message. These services and events are made possible by generous donations from many Wooler businesses as well as
private donations but this year something new! Think about forgotten birthdays when the shops are closed and
the post about to be collected or get well cards or anything else where a blank card would fill the bill! Glendale
Connect are now selling beautiful blank cards of local views printed in colour from photos by Marie Louise
Drozdowicz, price £6.50 per pack of 5 (or 2 different packs for £12.50) Contact Jane Pannell 388 321.

Exciting news from Ad Gefrin (our embryonic Wooler Distillery) ….a test borehole is being drilled
which could provide a source of pure Cheviot water for use with local malt from Simpson’s of Tweedmouth to
produce a truly local product. To complete the story, two large copper stills which will be the highlight of future
distillery tours and a major landmark to passing motorists are on order from Scottish makers Forsyth of Rothes.
Ad Gefrin, the ”Hill of the Goats” was the location of the Saxon kings’ court to the north of Wooler. Here they ruled,
after the Romans had gone and before the Vikings arrived, in a culture far ahead of its time. Kings were judged
by their generosity, women were of equal status to men, could hold power in their own right and own and inherit
property. People travelled from all over Europe, Scandinavia and North Africa to share in the culture of storytelling,
music and art which sadly did not survive beyond the Viking raids of the next century.

The Rural Us Wellbeing Project was set up to encourage community development and is funded
by the National Lottery through their Community Fund and administered through the North Northumberland
Voluntary Forum. The Bugle was delighted to receive a one-off grant to help pay for paper and ink which will be
used to raise public awareness of local issues and encourage participation in village activities.
Lowick Parish Church held its Annual Parish Meeting in church on Wednesday 26th May. Reports
were received from the Vicar (the first by our new Vicar the Revd. Charlotte Osborn), the Churchwardens, the
Treasurer, the Secretary, the Electoral Roll Officer, the Deanery Synod representative and the Safeguarding
Officer. Elections were held for Lay members of the PCC and Sidespersons. Minutes of the meeting and copies
of the Reports will be available in Church.

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. This month we are again concerned with the
continuing bad press about dogs whose irresponsible owners still refuse to clean up poo when walking their dogs.
Sadly dog fouling seems ubiquitous, despite the widespread availability of cheap plastic bags and the many places
into which the used bags can be put. The latest issue of Lowick Live refers to a discussion by Lowick Parish
Council and the siting of a new bin in Dryburn Road. However more bins may not be the answer as one problem
area borders the lane alongside the Football Field, especially concerning as children attending football matches
often play there. There is really no excuse for leaving poo in the grass there as there is a very visible waste bin
on the main road which one must pass when walking back to Lowick.
The increasing problem of stolen dogs has been highlighted by the Police & Crime Commissioner for
Gloucestershire who called for more identification for dogs, joining others who want the return of compulsory dog
licences to combat the rise in dog theft. Dog Lost, a UK charity recorded a 170% increase in stolen dogs, the
numbers rising from 172 in 2019 to 465 last year. Police forces data supported these findings, a total of 2438
stolen dogs was recorded in 2020 by 37 of the nation’s 43 forces and there is now a Government pet theft Task
Force to consider the problem

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