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FREE - April 2018

COMMUNITY NEWS - LOCAL EVENTS - FEATURES - COMPETITIONS - LOCAL PEOPLE

Blackwell Grange Hotel Opens impressive new suite

Tomb Raider returns A truly 21stcentury Lara Croft

The latest local news In and around Darlington

Get out and about this spring We visit Saltburnby-the-Sea

A multi-million pound investment at Blackwell Grange Hotel has reached its first milestone. The prized Darlington hotel’s five-year remodelling and refurbishment plan is now well underway. To book your meeting or event with us events.blackwell@bruhennyhotels.co.uk To book your overnight stay with us reservations.blackwell@bruhennyhotels.co.uk Grange Road · Darlington · Co Durham · DL3 8QH T: +44 (0) 330 102 7238 blackwellgrangehotel.com


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Research, hire and review

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Personalised Care

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At your local Barchester care homes

At Barchester we understand finding the right care home can be a daunting decision, that’s why our friendly teams are on hand to offer advice and guidance at a time to suit you. Our homes offer a range of care services whilst supporting independence and maintaining individual interests. With varied activities programmes and freshly prepared home-cooked meals, we pride ourselves on making everyone feel at home.

Join us for our Open Days: Saturday 21st April 12–4pm For urgent care or help and advice contact our friendly teams who are always here when you need them.

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Nursing Care • Residential Care • Dementia Care • Respite Breaks Find us on Facebook: DarlingtonMonthly Visit us online: www.darlingtonmonthly.co.uk

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Welcome to the April edition of Darlington Monthly! We suspect you might have already fallen for one or two April Fools before this copy of Darlington Monthly landed on your doormat, so we won’t give you any others. Indeed, as far as we’re concerned, you’d only be a fool if you failed to read our latest issue cover-to-cover (ahem). In any case, we’ve got loads more exciting stuff for you in this month’s free magazine. Our regular contributor Alex Nelson, for example, continues his ‘Places To Go...’ series (page 10) with a focus on the historic town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, returning to the theme of his very first article in 2002. Or if you’d prefer to head to the cinema, what about giving the new Tomb Raider movie a go? As our copywriter Craig Lenaghan explains in his review (page 18), Alicia Vikander’s Lara Croft is rather different to the one you might remember from the 1990s video games or 2000s films. Plus, we’ve got yet more of the interesting local news from the Darlington area that you’ve come to know and love in Darlington Monthly, together with TV and events listings. In short, you have no reason for boredom this month as the weather (hopefully!) improves and we spend more of our time outdoors. As ever, we’re hugely grateful to our advertisers, and you can become one of them by calling 07500 828 396 or emailing sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk. When you do, we can also give you the lowdown on our heavily discounted longer-term plans. From the entire Darlington Monthly team, have a very happy April and bye for now!

Available to read online Visit darlingtonmonthly.co.uk /DarlingtonMonthly

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Last Month Competition Winners

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Disclaimer... Whilst we take every care to ensure accuracy in this magazine, we regret that we cannot accept responsibility for any incorrect information. All advertisements are accepted in good faith as to their veracity and we are not responsible for views expressed by contributors or other sources. The copying of any material within this publication is strictly forbidden without the publishers or Studio Managers consent. By providing your email address and entering our competitions you agree to receive email communications from the competition sponsor/prize provider.

The Croft Hotel Vue Cinema Roger Scott Tara Allan To Advertise Contact Darlington Monthly Email: sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk Tel: 07500 828 396


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COMPETITION TIME

We are offering family ticket for any film at Vue Darlington at Feethams (valid for 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children). All you have to do to enter is answer the following question...

Downey Jr. plays Q: Robert which marvel superhero? Answer: Name: Address:

Post Code: Email: Please send all entries to: Competitions Department, Unit 4, Station Road, Chester-le-St, Co. Durham, DH3 3DY *NEW* Or enter free by commenting on this advert on our Facebook Page @DarlingtonMonthly Entrants can view Terms & Conditions at www.darlingtonmonthly.co.uk Vue guest admission policy terms and conditions apply, visit myvue.com/legal for details.

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AN organic dairy has received a message in a bottle after customers were inspired by the plight of the world’s oceans. Acorn Dairy has been inundated with requests for milk in bottles instead of plastic cartons following the screening of the BBC’s Blue Planet II, which highlighted the dangers of man-made detritus. In one month alone Acorn Dairy, which serves the North-East and North Yorkshire, was contacted by 250 existing customer households to switch from its recyclable poly cartons to glass bottles. At roughly 106g of plastic per average weekly carton milk order, this equates to 1.378 tonnes per annum of plastic waste saved by Acorn customers alone.

efforts it makes to operate a successful business while conserving the environment and boosting animal welfare.

It is also a holder of the organic ‘Oscar’ issued by the Soil Association and the Good Dairy Award by30+ Compassion in World Farming, thethe Nor years service throughout international welfare campaign group. Brother and sister Caroline Bell and Graham Tweddle operate their farm at Archdeacon Newton, Darlington, an organic island in a sea of non organic intensively farmed land that predominate in the North-East.

Acorn Dairy director Caroline Bell said: “I think we were all horrified by the pictures of whales surrounded by plastic waste and the impact this is having on our world. The response from our customers has been heart-warming showing the large impact that can be made by households taking their own individual action.

The organic farming movement, which rejects artificial feeds, insecticides and the over-use of antibiotics in favour of natural processes, is concentrated in the South West of the country. But Acorn Dairy decided to convert to organic more than a decade ago and has built up a loyal following of 4,000 doorstep customers, schools, cafes, restaurants and supermarkets including Waitrose and Morrisons, right across the NorthEast and North Yorkshire.

“We handle almost one million glass bottles a year. An average Acorn Dairy glass pint bottle is used 19 times before being recycled and we have to buy in around 17,000 annually to replenish out stocks. “In our local delivery area we supply the glass bottles at 59p to the doorstep and we have seen a four-fold increase across a month in new customers with the same mission of receiving their milk in glass bottles. These are local people converting from supermarket milk to ours which is excellent.” Mrs Bell highlighted that businesses were also acting to reduce their plastic waste. Headlam Hall Hotel has made the switch to using milk in returnable glass bottles and maintains a keen eye on its environmental impact as it looks after guests. Acorn, which became organic more than a decade ago, enjoys an enviable reputation for conservation, compassion and commercial enterprise. It is a past winner of the Tye Trophy for the Tyne Tees region from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, an accolade that recognises the

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Research has shown organic milk to be much richer in antioxidants, healthy fatty acids and Omega 3 as a result of the herd feeding on grass and clover. Acorn’s herd of shorthorns offers a natural rate of milk production which is less than in an intensive farming system, allowing the cows to live longer, happier and healthier lives. Compassion for animals extends to the farm as a whole and Acorn Dairy has created a thriving wetland for flora and fauna, birds and small mammals. Bird boxes have a 90 per cent occupancy rate and the 16 acre reversion meadow is home to countless species of local and visiting birds, while miles of hedgerows provide safe passage and homes for myriad creatures. Good news all round for cows, wildlife and milk drinkers.

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TRAVEL

Places To Go...

SALTBURN-BY-THE-SEA We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time - T. S. Eliot I began this series in 2002 in a single publication with an article on Saltburn, then the destination of most southbound trains from Chester-le-Street. Indeed, for many years we had a staff summer outing to this town of 6,000, one of the first railway resorts. In 1858,  while walking along the coast path towards Old Saltburn to visit his brother Joseph in Marske,  the railway builder Henry Pease saw a prophetic vision of a town arising on the cliff and the quiet, unfrequented and sheltered glen turned into a lovely garden. The Pease family owned Middlesbrough Estate and had control of the Stockton and Darlington Railway which first opened in 1825. The S&DR agreed to develop Henry’s vision by forming the Saltburn Improvement Company (SIC) and the railway line was extended to the town in 1861. Land was purchased from the  Earl of Zetland, and the company commissioned surveyor George Dickinson to lay out what became an interpretation of a gridiron street layout, through which the railway ran to the very centre, now Station Square. With as many houses as possible having sea views, the layout was added to by the so-called  Jewel streets  along the seafront—Coral, Garnet, Ruby, Emerald, Pearl, Diamond and Amber Streets, said to be a legacy of Henry’s vision.

I last visited Saltburn on 5th March as the thaw was melting the previous week’s heavy snowfall with my stepdaughter Melissa. We went for a wander round the clifftop, delighted in the architecture of the town centre, and found a tiny and rarely open vintage shop called Polyester. We enjoyed an excellent lunch in Coco and Rum, a Thai restaurant on the south side of Station Square, where we both had a good lunch including drinks and coffee for £31.75. The coconut soup with chicken was delicious. Saltburn is famous for its pier, illustrated, and the Cliff Lift that rises south from the pier to the top of the town, saving a walk up or down the steep hill. Or it would if it were operational, but at the moment the two lift cars are away for repair. Each car on its separate track counter-balances the other with the descending car given extra weight to raise up the ascending car by use of water in a tank. For regular visitors it looks quite odd to see the inclined railway with no passenger cars, but I am told they will be back in operation for the summer season. Trains run to Saltburn on the line from Middlesbrough and Darlington (twice an hour daytimes) and Bishop Auckland (hourly). Connections are available from Durham, Chesterle-Street, Newcastle and Cramlington at Darlington, and from Sunderland at Middlesbrough. Day returns are available from most stations in the north-east. The original station building is no longer used as such – trains terminate just to the left of the picture instead.

The town was developed by the railway company and the SIC, and after securing the best positions for development, money was raised for construction by selling plots to private developers and investors. Most buildings are constructed using ‘Pease’ brick, transported from Darlington by the S&DR, with the name Pease set into the brick. The jewel in Henry Pease’s crown is said to have been The  Zetland Hotel  with a private platform into which carriages could be shunted, still visible to Alex Nelson, this day behind the apartment block into which the original www.nationalrail.com Hotel has changed. To Advertise Contact Darlington Monthly Email: sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk Tel: 07500 828 396 10


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Get Set To Blossom In National Garden Month Now’s the time to get back into your garden – and not just because the warmth and brightness of spring are here. This month is National Garden Month, giving you another excuse to start sorting out your foliage or even get some new plants. However, sprucing up a garden isn’t just about making it look pretty; by taking up gardening, you can also grow your own food and even improve your health and lifestyle.

initiative of the National Gardening Association. The first National Garden Month was in 2003; however, despite its American origins, it’s clear to see that there are plenty of green-fingered types on this side of the Atlantic who would love to join in with the fun. If gardening can work for these stars… Gardeners and researchers can vouch for many benefits of nurturing plants. Those benefits include improving attitudes to health and nutrition, fostering community spirit, and even helping children to excel at school. However, if you doubt the merits even now, consider the stories of people who have decided to basically make gardening their life.

What is National Garden Month, anyway? If you’ve never previously heard of National Garden Month, it’s probably because it’s largely an American thing.The United States’ National Garden Bureau and 23 cosponsoring national horticultural organisations were instrumental in legislating what was initially National Garden Week. On 18th April 1986, the Proclamation was signed by the then-President, Ronald Reagan, leading to the first celebration of National Garden Week from 12th to 18th April 1987.

Those people include the ‘80s pop star Kim Wilde. In 2015, she recalled that, despite having clocked up platinum records and toured Europe with Michael Jackson, she was “always plagued with anxiety and it badly affected my mental health.” However, Kim, who won a gold medal for a Chelsea Flower Show garden in 2005, enthused that gardening “has been great therapy for me and can help people get back on top of things when it feels like life is veering out of control.” Meanwhile, the former Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin is now an urban gardener who grows fruit and vegetables in her California garden. She has cited gardening channels and YouTube as resources that have inspired her own gardening adventures – but you shouldn’t consider only those if you want to start gardening for the first time.

However, in the early 21st century, the celebration was extended to cover the whole of April – on the 12

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No matter who you are, where you live, or how old you are, you have a voice, and you have the right for that voice to be heard.

Are you a chatterbox or do you prefer to listen? Are you someone with a passion for getting things done? Are you a people person? Perhaps you’ve worked or volunteered in your local community? Healthwatch Darlington is looking for volunteers who can help us reach into our communities and work places to find out what people think of local health and care services. Can people access the right services at the right time or are they having difficulties? We hold a wealth of information so we can point people in the right direction. Whatever their experience, good or not so good, you can help us help people get the best out of health and care services in Darlington. Gathering the views of our population helps us influence the way local services are provided by ensuring that patients, carers and the public are heard at the heart of local decision making. 14

We’re a small independent charity delivering statutory duties. We are your local consumer champion for health and care services. We inform, observe, information gather and influence, but we can’t do what we do without YOU! We offer a full volunteer training package so if you’d like an informal chat to find out more, give Jemma a call on 01325 380145 email at j.austin@healthwatchdarlington.co.uk or pop into our new town centre offices on the ground floor of Jubilee House, 1 Chancery Lane, Darlington, DL1 5QP. We’d love to hear from you!

Community Groups We are collating a directory of smaller community groups in Darlington to enable us to inform residents of local activities and social groups in their own neighbourhoods. If you are a member of a group or you know of a group that would like to be listed, please email Rachel at r.mccabe@healthwatchdarlington.co. uk with details

Get Involved For more information or to get involved contact us on 01325 380145 info@healthwatchdarlington.co.uk www.healthwatchdarlington.co.uk

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MORTON OPTICIANS established in 1937 by John Durkin Morton , the first practice was in Thornaby, Stockton on Tees . The second practise was opened in 1953 in Norton Stockton on Tees . Both practises were taken over by Mr Durkin-Morton’s son Terence Morton in 1976 and since 2002 Terence Morton ’s son David Morton current owner , third generation ,continues to care for the businesses. David Morton graduated in Bradford University 1996 and took his initial training at the Sunderland Eye Infirmary dealing with low vision , children's eyecare, and hospital contact lens fitting. David also worked in London at David Clulow practise for three years before

settling down in Darlington and taking over the family business in Stockton on Tees. Morton Opticians is a very family orientated opticians with a focus on high quality service. David ’s grandfather was one of the first opticians to offer home visits to the local community which David has carried on, offering house visit for patients who have difficulty in travelling. The great news is that service is expanded to Darlington area as well . David Morton and his team extend a warm welcome to both existing and new customers , keen to supply the very best options for everybody.

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FILM REVIEW

T

he new Tomb Raider film - starring, of course, young archaeologist Lara Croft - could have seemed (ahem) entombed to failure. This game-to-cinema franchise hasn’t been dug up (see what we did there?) for a while, and understandably so, considering how the only two other instalments shaped up. The Angelina Jolie films of the Noughties were basically all hype and no trousers, skimpy or otherwise. It wasn’t long before HMV bargain bins across the country hoovered up DVD copies of both films like quicksand that their lead character would usually be eager to jump straight across. With the 21st century having seen Christopher Nolan and Daniel Craig help to modernise respectively the previously campy Batman and Bond franchises with more grit, the time did seem ripe for Tomb Raider to get the same treatment. This film’s Lara isn’t the same as the one that adorned bottles of Lucozade in the 1990s; it’s the more intellectually stimulating Croft of the critically acclaimed 2013 reboot of the game series. Presumably in line with this more down-toearth approach, the filmmakers have jettisoned Brad Pitt’s ex in favour of young Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander. As you would expect from an Oscar winner, the Swedish actress certainly shows her acting chops in portraying an indepth personality for Lara. In a Batman Begins-style origin story, Lara is scrimping and saving in London while struggling to believe the news that her archaeologist father Lord Richard Croft, played in flashbacks with charming paternal affection by The Wire’s Dominic West, has supposedly died during an adventure abroad. Lara’s disbelief leads her to head off to try to find him.

boat and then a discarded and disintegrating plane, feel like Terminator action scenes seamlessly transplanted into a jungle realm. Norwegian director Roar Uthaug also throws in some light relief courtesy of Nick Frost as a wisecracking pawn shop owner. Walton Goggins’ villain – Mathias Vogel, an archaeologist rival of Lara’s father – is one of the less effective characters, being something of a charisma vacuum. Nonetheless, it’s refreshing to see so many elements that firmly ground the story in reality. You shouldn’t expect the excessive silliness that plagued the National Treasure films – and, unlike them, this Tomb Raider outing gets a more immediately likeable lead than a wooden Nicolas Cage. This particular film probably still isn’t original enough to warrant the sequel it blatantly teases; however, given that the archaeologist adventure genre can feel old like the relics for which Lara hunts, it remains perhaps as solid a cinematic Tomb Raider reboot as we are likely to get right now.

Craig Lenaghan Copywriter

There’s no doubt that Vikander has physically thrown herself into the role. Some of the more intense action set-pieces, including Lara’s near-death escapes from first a rollicking

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ASSISTED PRICES MOVE FROM AVAILABLE* £182,950

A location this good. Must be Miller Homes. Hunters Fold, off Sadberge Road, Middleton St George, DL2 1RJ On the northern edge of Middleton St George, a delightful village surrounded by farmland and just four miles from the centre of Darlington.

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03331 305 254 | www.millerhomes.co.uk *These offers are limited and subject to the lender’s approval and may be restricted to reservations made by a certain date. Available on selected plots at selected developments only and subject to Miller Homes’ terms and conditions. There is no cash alternative for Moving Essentials Package. Stamp Duty Paid for 1 x acquisition of properties as sole residence and no reimbursement of any higher rate SDLT due on additional properties will be made. Legal Fees capped at £500. Carpets and floorings are not included in our homes as standard. Moving Essentials Package offer can be withdrawn at any time without notice and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Prices and availability 17 Find us Facebook: DarlingtonMonthly online: correct at the time of print. Artist’s impression foron illustration purposes only. Photography representsVisit typicalus Miller Homes’ www.darlingtonmonthly.co.uk interiors.


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DMALAW ‘The Link’ is our very own ‘law shop’ walk-in centre (and still the only one we know of in the country we may add!). We are now well in to our 3rd year here at The Link and are very much a part of the local community in Darlington. We are a legal walk-in centre where, there is no hassle, no stress and all our initial consultations are free of charge. In the time we have been open we have proudly assisted over 2000 members of the local community. We offer free help and guidance and people can come and speak to us at any time during our opening hours and don’t need to make an appointment to do so. You can just come through our door and speak with our solicitors, lawyers and advisors. We have experience across a range of areas of law; family matters, crime, personal injury, wills and probate, employment, debt recovery, civil litigation, contract

disputes, housing, medical negligence, conveyancing and many others. We opened The Link in direct response to the cuts to legal aid funding to help people access justice. Our aim is to help, support, guide and encourage people who have legal issues but aren’t certain what they need to do to resolve them, or when they feel there is nowhere else to turn in their hour of need. This is exactly what The Link is about; what we do; who we are and we are very proud of that! What does the future hold for The Link? Well, we are going to be here for at least another 3 years and in that time we are sure that we will continue to get bigger and better and assist more and more of you. Why is that? Because we think The Link works! We are at 40 Skinnergate, Darlington and all our consultations are free of charge and in confidence.

POETRY CORNER This Morning the call of a Seagull created much ‘Desire’ in me; Transporting my thoughts and aspirations towards the Beach and Sea. To wake midst the sound of ‘Screaching’ would seem to be quite odd; Yet for many it is of Great Comfort, offering Golden Sand upon which to Plod! Memories of Sunny Days relaxing by the Sea; Of Ice Cream, Fish n Chips perhaps, a Holiday for you and me. We all crave the opportunity to have what we have not; Whilst often we forget to calculate what We have Already Got. To wake every morning is a Great Start to every day; We all have Twenty Four Hours to do with generally, What We May. Don’t waste this valuable time procrastinating over things you have not achieved; Make every effort to be Positive, thus You Will Feel Less Peeved!! Often, helping others, is more satisfying than helping yourself; Leaving a trail of Happy Aquaintence is actually The Real Wealth!!

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H O T E L

VISIT OUR WEDDING SHOWCASE 6TH MAY 2018. 11:00AM - 2:00PM.

WHAT’S FEATURED? The Croft Hotel will be brimming with a host of suppliers for your big day. We’ve got amazing photographers to delicious wedding cakes. Don’t forget we will have wedding dresses and so much more!

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The Croft Hotel, Croft-on-Tees, Darlington, DL2 2ST www.crofthotel.net Contact: 01325 720319 or email: info@crofthotel.net

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Friendly Fish Pie

recipe by

H O T E L

Ingredients. 500g white fish (haddock, cod, plaice, etc.) 600ml milk 6 to 8 large potatoes pinch salt 50g butter 1 1/2 tablespoons plain flour 2 tablespoons chopped parsley 100g grated cheese

Method. • Preheat oven to 200 C / Fan 180 C / Gas mark 5. Place the fish in an oven-proof dish and cover with the milk. Bake in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. • Peel and chop the potatoes, and boil with a pinch of salt until soft. • When the fish is done drain the milk into a jug and put aside. Flake the fish with a fork and leave in the dish. • Once potatoes are done, drain, then add 30g of the butter and a splash of the reserved milk and mash. • In another saucepan melt the remaining 20g of butter on a medium heat and slowly add the flour stirring constantly until you

get a smooth paste. • Add the remaining milk a little bit at a time, stirring constantly, until you get a sauce-like consistency. • Add the parsley and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes, constantly stirring. • Add the sauce to the flaked fish and mix well. Top with the mashed potato and spread evenly. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the potato topping. • Place back in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and slightly golden brown. • Take out of the oven and leave to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

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Darlington Toni&Guy has reopened with a new Toni&Guy team, after it unexpectedly closed it’s doors in August. New owner Kerry-anne has returned to her roots, and has brought her team from the Middlesbrough salon to relaunch the popular salon, vowing to bring the Toni&Guy standard with her. Kerry-anne started her career as an assistant at the old Darlington salon, and went on to manage Darlington, before moving to manage Middlesbrough and finally become the new owner of the Darlington branch. All clients are welcomed with an initial 25% off services for their first visit, and whilst everyone is welcome, Kerry-anne would like to encourage previous Darlington clients to return and experience the true Toni&Guy standard of service that Kerry-anne has practised and upheld for 16 years. Keep an eye out on Facebook and Instagram for new offers also. Contact (01325)480048.

Fancy Dress

It’s party time... celebrate 10 years of the Midnight Walk!

2018 South Park, Darlington Friday 18th May Come in your best party fancy dress – prize for the cheesiest outfit!

Walk in memory of someone you love and may have lost

Join in our super-surprise warm-up! A truly magical midnight stroll…

Register at darlingtonhospice.org.uk For more information tel:

01325 254321

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Accessible 2.8k route Open to Ages 11+

Supported By

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VISIT OUR BRAND NEW SHOWROOM CCTV is fast becoming a must-have security solution for protecting domestic properties.

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We install CCTV systems in a number of different environments, and whether you require the latest state-of-the art system, or just a single camera, we are capable of creating a system to suit your needs. Our systems can include static cameras with built in infra-red for night vision, as well as pan, tilt, and zoom joystick controllable cameras. Our systems can also use number plate recognition, and our digital recorders can record from 1 up to 64+ cameras consecutively. If you have an existing CCTV system which is in need of repair or maintenance, we can also be of service to you. We will always try our best to repair an existing system before suggesting you purchase a new one. We offer a wide and dynamic range of services for homes. We never sub-contract jobs and all of our engineers are fully insured. As a local company, we are proud of our customer service track record. Clients from all sectors come back to us again and again for all their needs.

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On your bike! Enjoy the local area on two wheels We certainly live in a stunning part of the country; County Durham has no shortage of rural beauty and awesome architecture, and that’s before we even stop to consider that the area is sandwiched between Tyneside and Yorkshire, which have plenty of great attractions of their own. However, what you might not have so readily realised is that getting around such places can be much more hassle-free on a bike. Here are some especially good reasons to take up cycling… It’s a route! Where you can cycle in County Durham Key to the appeal of cycling in County Durham is the wide choice of routes that you can take while on your bike. Although we don’t have the space to list them all here, we would eagerly single out the 100-mile Teesdale Way – along the River Tees from source to sea – and Link up the Loops, a largely off-road route running for 25 miles between Consett and Chester-le-Street. If you fancy cycling beyond our county’s borders, we also recommend the C2C Cycle Route, so-called as it can take you from “sea to sea” – from Whitehaven or Workington on the Cumbrian coast, right through to Sunderland on the eastern coast. This is one of the UK’s most popular cycle routes. Smash fit: get into better shape by cycling You can also squeeze cycling into more routine aspects of your life, like getting to and from work – and to say that it can make you fitter would be putting it mildly.

Don’t skip a proper equip: useful items for cycling Obviously, before you can start cycling, you will need a bike. Any good working one will suffice for short journeys; however, if you want to use an old or second-hand bike, consider getting it serviced for roadworthiness first. You will also need a helmet for your own safety. You could also invest in some good padded shorts to prevent an aching backside, while you can protect your eyes from bugs and stones if you wear sports glasses while riding. Gym, be the best: if you can’t cycle outdoors There might be occasions when you don’t want to cycle outdoors; for example, because the weather looks too brutal. However, gym classes of various forms can benefit cyclists. Those forms include spinning, where you would cycle on fixed gear bikes. You also shouldn’t rule out traditional boxing exercises; they can exercise the upper body that can be neglected during cycling. York in the road: eagerly anticipating the Tour de Yorkshire Do you love watching others cycling? This year’s Tour de Yorkshire runs from Thursday 3rd May until Sunday 6th May. While this cycling race competition only started in 2015, last year’s event drew an estimated 9.7 million broadcast viewers, while more than 2 million spectators lined the route. Leeds, Scarborough, Doncaster and Barnsley are among the places the cyclists will visit this year.

In the United States, the National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Foundation says that cycling regularly can give you the fitness level of a person a decade younger.

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Darlington

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First phase of multi-million pound investment underway at Blackwell Grange Hotel A multi-million pound investment at Blackwell Grange Hotel has reached its first milestone, with the opening of the brand-new Bruhenny Suite. The prized Darlington hotel’s five-year remodelling and refurbishment plan is now well underway, with the opening of the half a million-pound Bruhenny Suite marking the first successful step. The Bruhenny Suite has undergone a complete transformation and now presents a show-stopping fireplace, perfect as a wedding ceremony feature, a new upstairs bar with an extensive drinks menu and all new modern but authentic interiors.   Dawn Raine, general manager at Blackwell since 2005, said: “We couldn’t be happier with how the work has gone on the Bruhenny Suite – the final look has exceeded all of our expectations. “The feature fireplace is beautiful, and with six new roof lights the space is now bathed in natural light which makes it feel so bright and airy. I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of happy guests attending weddings, events and meetings. The complete refurbishment of the feature Blackwell Lounge and main Reception has also been completed – restoring the country house style and glamour of years past. “We can’t wait until all of our public areas are complete, the vast majority of which will be before the end of April, so we can present Blackwell Grange’s finished new look to the public. Plans for an official launch are being made, so watch this space!” The focus of this initial phase of refurbishment is the public areas of the hotel, including the main reception and lounge, three function suites and four bars; breathing new life to these historic areas in an enhanced contemporary country house style.

who explained: “The hotel is a magnificent building which is steeped in history and with that in mind, we have steered away from a modernistic approach and have instead looked at the classic features to revert this back to its former splendour. “Comfortable and aesthetic, the design combines new and old grand design, with plump upholstered seating with deep button fabrics and vintage finishes; creating a classic, timeless design with plenty of atmosphere.” The renovation work of the Bruhenny Suite was trusted to the experts at Darlington design practice Niven Architects, who have extensive experience within the leisure and hospitality sectors. Director Simon Crowe, said: “The refurbishment of the new Bruhenny Suite has seen the room transform into a light, spacious and high quality wedding and conference venue which will re-establish Blackwell Grange Hotel as a ‘destination’ in Darlington and the surrounding region. “The Bruhenny Bar provides a sophisticated blend of contemporary and traditional styles to create a wonderful secluded addition to the Suite.” Refurbishment of the public areas is set to continue, with the transformation of main hotel bar already in motion. It will be named the Blackwell Bar and reopened on Friday March 23. On March 26, work will begin on the what was known as the Parlour, which will become the Elk Room, Miss Allan Bar and the Havelock Bar. These are set for completion on April 19, 2018. The hotel is now taking bookings for weddings in the new Bruhenny Suite, which seats 180 guests for a dinner and 140 for a dinner dance. For more information, visit https://www. blackwellgrangehotel.com/weddings.html To find out more about The Blackwell Grange Hotel and its ongoing renovations, please contact Victoria at sales.blackwell@ bruhennyhotels.co.uk or visit: www.blackwellgrangehotel.com/

The fresh new interiors of the Bruhenny Suite were the work of Simon Bartlett, managing director at Simon Bartlett Interiors

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Employment Round Up

07939 079 527

Mental health issues are in the news again as the latest report from the charity MIND reveal that one in four people experience mental ill-health each year. This has a huge financial cost for employers – mental health-related absences alone are estimated at £26bn annually. Yet from my experiences many employers struggle to know how best to deal with this matter; physical illness seemingly a ‘ more’ comfortable area to deal with, than problems associated with mental health. But with such widespread reporting of the issue and no indication that these figures are likely to reduce any time soon, employers need to give serious thought to how they can tackle the raft of conditions they may face. No mean feat, so take heart that Acas, in recognition of the scale of this problem, has recently published guidance on the responsibilities of employers to manage workplace mental health. This imposes new obligations for businesses to actively improve the mental health of their workforce and tackle the causes of mental ill-health. Fundamental to tackling the issue is a need for greater awareness and understanding. Managers need to address the prejudice and stigma often associated with this and review their policies, procedures and culture to assess what action needs to be taken. The need to comply with the Acas guidance – which, while not compulsory, is likely to be considered by tribunals in employment claims when deciding whether the company has breached its responsibilities – is yet another reason for employers to ensure they do all they can to address the issue.

Libby Eglin, HR Resolutions E: hrresolutions@btconnect.com M: 07967 200603 W: www.hr-resolutions.co.uk

Quakers Zone

Our monthly report on Darlington 1883 from Ray Simpson, Communications and Media Manager

Darlington FC reached another milestone when they opened their new seated stand at Blackwell Meadows in March. The fans raised a magnificent £150,000 to pay for the construction of the 288 seat structure, which means that Quakers now have almost 600 covered seats at Blackwell Meadows. Chris Stockdale, chair of the Darlington FC Supporters Group, said;“The completion of the new stand extension is an important milestone for our Football Club. Not only will it enhance the matchday facilities at Blackwell Meadows and improve our offering to families in particular, it also means that the ground has now reached the standard required to be eligible for promotion to the National League. “This development has been fully funded by our fans and I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed, from our large community share investors to the supporters throwing their coins into the buckets on a matchday. It’s a fantastic achievement that we should all be rightfully proud of. Darlington fans have raised over £1 million since taking ownership of the club in 2012.” The club has also announced that Under 11s will be admitted free to all matches at Blackwell Meadows, providing that they are accompanied by a responsible adult.

The arrangement is ideal for families – an adult bringing three Under 11 children to games will need to pay a total of only £14 at the turnstiles for all four, and an extra £2 to go into the seats. The new stand came in handy when Quakers beat North Ferriby 6-0 in a blizzard. The club ahs also announced plans for an Academy, based at Blackwell Meadows, with manager Tommy Wright and assistant manager Alan White doing the coaching, with an education provider working alongside them.

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What’s on

April

Got an event coming up?

Let us know and we’ll help spread the news. email details of your event to: sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk

Phill Jupitus: Juplicity, The Witham, Barnard Castle Former Never Mind The Buzzcocks captain Phill Jupitus visited Durham’s Gala Theatre in November with his latest stand-up show. Still, if you missed it, he’s re-staging it in Barnard Castle this month. Expect Phill to recall elements of his “chaotic” life, including his daughter Molly’s gay marriage; the trope of gay marriage is “very much in vogue at the minute”, Phill has remarked. He’ll be at The Witham on 21st April.

Hexham Book Festival While County Durham has its own prestigious book festival, that won’t be returning until October. In the meantime, Hexham will be welcoming plenty of big-name writers for its own literary festival running from 26th April until 6th May. Harriet Harman, Evan Davis and Jeremy Vine are among this year’s speakers set to discuss such topical issues as Brexit, Russia and the scourge of “fake news”.

Bishop Auckland Food Festival In the States, Maker Faire has long been helping amateur inventors to show off their creations – and the UK version of Maker Faire has become a yearly tradition in Newcastle. At the time of writing, Maker Faire UK has not yet released its programme for the 2018 outing; however, you can expect over 300 DIYers, hackers, coders and other creative types to descend on Life Science Centre for the weekend of 28th to 29th April.

Maker Faire UK, Life Science Centre, Newcastle In the States, Maker Faire has long been helping amateur inventors to show off their creations – and the UK version of Maker Faire has become a yearly tradition in Newcastle. At the time of writing, Maker Faire UK has not yet released its programme for the 2018 outing; however, you can expect over 300 DIYers, hackers, coders and other creative types to descend on Life Science Centre for the weekend of 28th to 29th April.

Queen Victoria in Paris, The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle Thanks to the recent success of ITV period drama Victoria, there has been renewed interest in the 19thcentury queen’s early life and reign. In 1855, she spent time in Paris – as a guest of the then Emperor of the French, Napoléon III – on a state visit. This historic occasion was captured in 51 watercolours currently on display in this exhibition, which will run until 24th June.

Westworld, Sky Atlantic The sci-fi thriller series Westworld debuted in 2016 and quickly impressed both viewers and critics with its plotting, visuals and performances. However, as creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy know well, Westworld also incorporates Wild West elements in adapting Michel Crichton’s 1973 film. The show is set in a future with a Westworld theme park that lets its visitors sample an immersive simulation of the Wild West. This simulation takes place in Sweetwater, a frontier town populated by “hosts”, human-resembling androids whose memories are wiped each day. However, as some of the hosts become self-aware, this doesn’t bode well for the future of the park… The second series will start airing on 23rd April, at 2am on Sky Atlantic. That’s when the show is getting simulcast with the US; however, Sky Atlantic will also later repeat it at 9pm that day.

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Darlington Monthly April 2018  

We suspect you might have already fallen for one or two April Fools before this copy of Darlington Monthly landed on your doormat, so we won...

Darlington Monthly April 2018  

We suspect you might have already fallen for one or two April Fools before this copy of Darlington Monthly landed on your doormat, so we won...

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