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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Countdown to Week-Long Fundraising Summer Festival

FINAL preparations are under way for the ever-popular Ponteland Summer Festival.
The massive celebration, which also raises funds for charity, is organised by parishioners of St Mary the Virgin Church every two years to bring together flower displays, art exhibitions, music and prayer.
And this year there will be an extra element with the introduction of railway history displays.
The week-long event opens at 10am on Saturday when visitors can view the church flower festival, celebrating Northumberland's cultural life and heritage.

This year there will be new banners of local saints.
The theme continues in the Northumbrian Artists of Today exhibition in the Church Hall in Thornhill Road, where there will be original paintings by invited artists, ranging from the well-known Walter Holmes and Michael Ewart to amateurs and up and coming talent.
Topping the bill is Mary Ann Rogers, who has just become the first from the region to be awarded the Best Selling Published Artist title by the Fine Art Trade Guild.
She said: "I have taken part in this exhibition for as long as I can remember. It is always lovely to be asked to exhibit.

"Throughout the week, the church is filled with wonderful flower arrangements, which are always a pleasure to see, and together with the musical concerts and recitals, it creates a lovely atmosphere."

For the first time in it's 28-year history the festival will include a marquee in the Vicarage Garden to house the History and Railways exhibitions.
Ponteland Photographic Society will display images of Northumberland and Ponteland Local History Society is planning pieces on the short-lived branch line and other North East railways.
As St Mary's is the burial place of engineer William Weallens, who worked as a partner in the firm of Robert Stephenson and Co, there will be an exhibition about his work.
And on Wednesday, August 5, there will be an evening of British Transport Films in the church from 7.30pm.

There will be a varied programme of music throughout the week, beginning on Saturday with Accord and Friends singing group.
On Monday it will be the turn of organist Edward Marsh, with folk group Robson's Choice performing on Tuesday and organist Geoffrey Watson on Thursday.
All evening concerts and recitals begin at 7.30pm.
Refreshments, such as Ploughman's lunches, cream teas and cakes, will be available throughout the festival.
The Rev Peter Barham, who is sampling the event for the first time having joined the church last year, said he is looking forward to it.
"It is all starting to come together now, which is good," he said.
"There is quite a lot of organisation involved, but the benefit is that because the parishioners have been doing it so long now they all know what they are doing and it is brilliant.
"This is the first festival I will have been to, but I have been assured that lots of people come along.
"It will be a lovely opportunity to meet lots of people, raise lots of money and eat lots of cakes and scones.
"It will be fun."

At the last festival more than £8,000 was raised for charity and this year any money collected will go to St Oswald's Hospice, Down's Syndrome North East and the Church Army.

Attractions will be open daily from Saturday, August 1 to Saturday, August 8, from 10am to 5.30pm, except on Sunday when a Festival Service will be held in the church at 10am.
The history exhibition will follow at Noon, a barbecue lunch will also be on offer and the art exhibition will open at 2pm.
The day will round-off with Songs of Praise at 6.30pm.

Admission to all aspects of the festival is free.

Source: Morpeth Herald