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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Continuing a centuries-old tradition

PONTELAND residents of all ages enjoyed a traditional event at the High School.
A Wassailing evening included performances by the Ponteland Community Band and the new Ponteland Community Choir, and among their songs were some favourite Christmas carols.
The celebration goes back many centuries and one form involves taking a Wassail bowl, usually made from wood or pewter, to distribute good cheer to the community.
Mince pies, mulled wine and raffle prizes were donated from local businesses with the proceeds going to the band and the choir.
Margaret McCormick, chair of the community band and organiser of the concert, said: "Today's focus is all about well being and community cohesion, so what better time than Christmas to bring out some true community spirit."
She also thanked Dobbies Garden Centre, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, M&S, Rialtos, Fratelli, Ponteland Leisure Centre, Cowell's Garden Centre, Boo Hairdresser, Tesco and Deli@Darras for their donations.
Ponteland Mayor Robin Ramsay toasted those who attended by shouting 'Waes Hael', meaning be well. The audience responded with 'Drinc Hael' meaning cheers.
"It was extremely encouraging to see yet another example of a community event which involved all ages," said Coun Ramsay.
"I never cease to be amazed by the talent that we have in our schools and as a glimpse of the future we have nothing to be worried about. The High School and Margaret are to be applauded for organising such an event."
The Ponteland Community Band has been together for more than a year, with more than 40 members from across the area, who practise and showcase their talents at local events.
Replicating the success of the Community Band, Ponteland High School is now hoping to achieve the same success with the new choir and would welcome any new members to join them. Rehearsals take place on a Thursday afternoon at 3.30pm.