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Issue 59 - Feb/Mar 2017 ISSN 1745-4654

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local, relevant and entertaining Welcome to the first, 2017 edition of Darlington Today – and what better way to brighten up cold winter days than with thoughts of spring?


As always, we’re bringing you a packed programme of events and activities including a sneak preview at what is set to be the summer’s biggest attraction; Kynren.

Staged outdoors, in the shadow of spectacular Auckland Castle with a cast, largely made up of local volunteers, this event, which traces ‘the history of us,’ promises to be even bigger and better than last year… so read on to find out more. And, if you’re starting to get just a little fed up with your winter woollies, why not check out our guide to the perfect spring looks – taking you seamlessly through the seasons? There are competitions, too, with the chance to win some gorgeous men’s grooming products – created right here in County Durham – and an overnight stay in one of the region’s most sophisticated venues, the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Hotel. While Tom Parker, from boy band The Wanted, has taken time to tell us all about his latest venture, playing Danny Zuko in a stage version of Grease. So, however you’d like to spend the next few weeks, we’re pretty sure you’ll find plenty to inspire you in Darlington Today.


4 ALL THE LATEST NEWS Read all about what’s going down in Darlington town


We chat to The Wanted’s Tom Parker about his starring role in Grease The Musical


80s legends Shalamar are heading to this year’s Lobster Ball

15 The return of kynren

An epic tale of England.


Treat mum to something she’ll love this Mother’s Day


With overnight stays and cut throat shaves, win it all in Darlington Today

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Bernice Saltzer on celebrating the new year in Marbella

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS Dreamboats And Petticoats - 13th - 18th March Inspired by the smash hit multi-million selling albums Dreamboats and Petticoats. The West End sell out sensation Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical features some of the greatest hit songs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll era. In 1961 emotions run high as young musicians Norman and Bobby compete to win a national song writing competition and, more importantly, the attention of the gorgeous Sue! But when Bobby discovers that shy Laura is no slouch on the piano, love and Rock ‘n’ Roll fame beckons. Dreamboats and Petticoats - the songs will live forever. EARLY BOOKING RECOMMENDED. Answer the following question to win a pair of tickets to see the 7.30pm performance of Dreamboats And Petticoats on Monday 13 March. What date is Dreamboats And Petticoats on at The Forum Theatre Billingham? Box office tel 01642 552663 -

PUBLISHER & ADVERTISING Riney Publishing Limited, Sue Riney-Smith t: 01325 304360 e:

EDITORIAL Bernice Saltzer, Emma Walker, Zoe Burn and Shannon Hodge, Sorted PR t: 0191 265 6111 e: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate at the time of going to print, the publishers cannot accept responsibilities for errors, omissions, or changes in the details given.

Closing date for entries is Friday 3rd March. See foot of page 26 for entry details. Competitions: Riney Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies that may occur, individual products or services advertised, late entries or prizes not received. No part of this publication may be reproduced or scanned without prior written permission of the publishers.

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LOCALNEWS BID BUILDS BUSINESS IN DARLINGTON…. A ‘Little’ initiative to boost trade in Darlington town centre has netted businesses more than £300k. The town’s Business Improvement District company, Distinct Darlington, launched its Little Book of Offers to encourage consumers into the town centre with a variety of discounts and offer vouchers for restaurants, shops and businesses. And the company, which is hoping to be voted back in for a further five years in March, has revealed the scheme has boosted takings by a massive £307,643. The Little Book of Offers is one of many successful initiatives introduced by Distinct Darlington, to promote the town’s economy and make it a more engaging destination for shoppers, residents and visitors alike. Since it was formed five years ago, the company has attracted thousands of people to the town centre through its annual Distinctly Delicious Festivals of Food, fashion shows and a Classic Car Show. Thanks to group purchasing arrangements, the BID saved businesses £95,000 on utilities last year alone and has helped Darlington become the second fastest growing economy in the UK.

It has also established a strong working relationship with Darlington Borough Council which invested £13,800 in parking offers to support town centre business activities over the Christmas period at Distinct Darlington’s request. On 9 February, businesses will be asked to vote for the continuation of the BID and manager Alex Hirst said a ‘yes’ vote will give the company the chance to build on its success. “Along with the financial benefits we’ve brought to businesses and the town centre, we have introduced a number of measures to make Darlington a more welcoming place to visit,” she said. “Our Darlington Rangers have trained more than 40 town centre staff in dementia awareness and have become a familiar sight to shoppers, who often comment on how helpful and friendly they are. “We’ve worked with the council to restrict street fundraisers – or chuggers – to three days a week and each summer we improve the appearance of the town with 175 seasonal hanging baskets. “But that is just the start and we very much hope people will get behind us and enable us to build on all this for a further five-year term.”

Alex Hirst, BID manager at Distinct Darlington

Among the projects lined up for the future are festivals and events and various rewards and incentives schemes to persuade shoppers to visit Darlington. Boosting the evening economy and running schemes such as the highly successful Alive After Five promotion delivered by Newcastle’s BID, and a Restaurant Week are also high on the agenda. The ballot for the continuation of the BID opens on 9 Feb and runs until 9 March, with the outcome revealed on 10 March.

REAP REWARDS WITH RECYCLING CHALLENGE Darlington residents who recycle right could be rewarded for their efforts with a spot prize. Every week during February and March, one household which recycles right will be chosen at random to receive a free family swim at the Dolphin Centre and £20 voucher to spend on food and drink in the Bar Bistro or 16 Horsemarket. Street Scene crews who already check whether recycling is contaminated will randomly select the winners from all those who recycle right across the Borough. It is hoped the prize scheme will encourage more people to follow the simple steps to recycle right and reduce the amount of contaminated recycling being collected each week. The council has to pay to dispose of contaminated recycling (when things are put in the wrong recycling bin) but 4 | Darlington Today

gets paid for every tonne of recycling it collects - money that can be spent on council services that benefit everyone. Nick Wallis, the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Local Environment, said: “There are so many reasons why we should be recycling right – it’s good for the environment and saves us money which we can spend on things that really matter.

“By rewarding people who do recycle right we hope to encourage others to think more about what and how they recycle.” The winners of the competition will receive a letter telling them how to claim their prize. For more information on how to recycle right visit www.

STUDENTS DONATES COMPETITION PRIZE MONEY TO CANCER CHARITY AN award-winning student has donated her prize money, which she won in a design competition, to charity to help with cancer research. Sixteen-year-old Maisie Humphries recently took the top honour in the annual Mayor’s Charity Ball design competition, in which a host of promotional material was created by Darlington College Level 3 graphics, photography and fine art students. Her image of old Peelers will adorn the cops and robbers themed posters and menus at the annual Mayor’s Charity Ball after being selected by the Mayor, former policeman Brian Jones, his wife Doris and ball sponsor Rob Maxey, of Ernest Bennett. But Maisie, who wants to complete a degree in sustainable product design, has decided to donate her prize money to Cancer Research UK.

generous nature. She is not only a very talented designer but also exhibits a very well developed social conscience which is a credit to her.” Councillor Brian Jones said: “Maisie’s act of generosity is commendable and shows how aware many young people are of the world about them. Her designs were fantastic and the donation of the prize really does warm my heart and makes me even more thankful that we have Darlington College in our town.”

Maisie said: “Cancer seems to affect everyone. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected by it.”

Maisie’s winning design will be used on posters, tickets and table menus for the annual mayor’s ball, which is due to be staged next April to raise funds for St Teresa’s Hospice, the Samaritans, the 700 Club and the charity Breathe Easy.

Darlington College tutor Pippa Eeles said: “Maisie’s gesture is typical of her caring and

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit


The awards, managed by Book Trust - the largest reading charity in Britain, judge the best new children’s books written in the past 12 months. Fifty Year 5 and Year 6 pupils, from Springfield Academy, Gurney Pease Academy and Marchbank Free School, will each read from a list of six shortlisted books before casting their vote on their favourite work. Karen Fantarrow, librarian at the Education Village Academy Trust said: “Blue Peter is a national institution and a show that adults and children are all familiar with. “We are the only school in the North East to have been chosen to take part in the book award judging and our pupils are really excited to be involved. “Hopefully this will be an excellent stepping stone towards encouraging our students to read more and also for parents and carers to get involved in reading books with their children.”

GURNEY PEASE PUPILS PRAISED BY OFSTED PUPILS and staff are celebrating after securing a glowing report from inspectors. Gurney Pease Academy, Darlington, won high praise from Ofsted after pupils told inspectors how much they enjoyed their primary school. For principal Alison Sinclair the ‘good’ rating is official recognition for staff, governors, pupils and their families of their continuous efforts to raise standards. Mrs Sinclair said: “The report is so positive about our children, their attitude to learning and their behaviour, which is really good. “It also recognises how well staff know the children and that every child is catered for, whether they have special educational needs or are very able and constantly challenged.”

YOUNG bookworms have received a Blue Peter badge of honour after being chosen to judge a prestigious literary competition for the iconic children’s television show. Students across The Education Village Academy Trust, Darlington, have been selected as one of only 12 schools across the whole of the UK to cast their votes in the 2017 Blue Peter Book Awards.

As good as can be, pupils at Gurney Pease Academy, Darlington, in their much-praised library, L-R, front, David Boga, five, Lily Boggon, seven, Maddison McKenna, six, Zac Wilson, seven, back, Laila Fitt, nine, Stephen Adenuga, nine, Jamie Parry, ten, Emmanualla Adenuga, ten

Children were chosen at random to talk to the lead inspector and show her their work in English and maths and other subjects. Springfield Academy pupil Freya Currie, nine

All students are required to read at least three of the shortlisted books, which are divided into two categories Best Story and Best Book with Facts, before deciding on their favourite at a judging party on February 1, which will be attended by Darlington author and illustrator Liz Million. “It’s fantastic that we have three schools across The Education Village Academy Trust all involved in the project,” said Karen Fantarrow. “The students have been reading at home and at school and I have been told that some of our Marchbank pupils have even been asking to stay in at break times to finish their books. “Reading is so important for children, not only for the enjoyment it brings, but for the benefits it brings to all aspects of education, from primary school to secondary school and beyond.” The books shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2017 include: Ross Welford’s

“One boy brought in a massive Second World War Anderson shelter he had just completed as a homework project and was very proud of,” Mrs Sinclair said. “It is lovely to know that the efforts of everyone connected with the school have been officially recognised. Pupils did us proud on the day, but then they do so every day.”

bestselling debut, Time Travelling with a Hamster, Kieran Larwood’s adventure tale Podkin One Ear, Lisa Murphy’s comicstyle collection of forgotten folk stories, Lost Tales, David Long’s Survivors, an anthology of incredible true stories, Dr Christoph Englert’s Destination Space and Where Football Rules the World, by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton. The overall winner will be announced on Blue Peter on World Book Day.

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He’s best known for being one fifth of boy band The Wanted, but this spring Tom Parker is taking centre stage as he makes his musical theatre debut as Danny Zuko in Grease. Here, he talks to Zoe Burn about singing, dancing and great food… AS part of boy band The Wanted, Tom Parker has travelled the world, performed in front of millions of fans and even starred in a TV reality series.

After five years in a band, he admits the singing has been the easiest thing to get to grips with, and is enjoying the acting a lot.

Yet he admits none of it challenged him quite like his latest role, playing Danny Zuko in the musical theatre production of Grease.

But when it comes to the dancing, Tom admits it’s taking a bit longer to grasp. Thankfully, he’s had a bit of extra help from his fiancée, actress Kelsey Hardwick.

“I wanted to break out of my comfort zone and I think that’s certainly what’s happened here,” he laughs. “I don’t think I was expecting it to be quite so challenging, but so far the whole experience has been incredible.” His foray into musical theatre comes three years since The Wanted took a self-imposed hiatus as each of them went off to explore other avenues. In 2015 he took part in BBC TV’s Celebrity Masterchef, and was eliminated in the semi-finals before deciding he wanted a new challenge. “I had been in a band for five years and after Masterchef I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next, but the opportunity to audition for Grease came up so I gave it a go.

“I actually auditioned for Teen Angel but shortly after I got a call saying they’d like to see me for the part of Danny. “It was a shock, it’s such an iconic role and I hadn’t expected it so I was even more surprised when I landed the role. I was after a challenge, and that’s certainly what I got.” 6 | Darlington Today

“It’s a big step, it’s a bit daunting but I am really excited. It’s more of a grown up job than being in a band, and I know it’s going to be different but I’m ready to work hard and hopefully I’ll make a convincing Danny.”

“She’s been in the industry all of her life and she really knows her stuff,” he said. “She just gets it. When I’ve come home from rehearsals struggling with dance steps she’s been there to help me get it right. I couldn’t have done it without her.” Tom and the cast – which also includes former EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing star, Louisa Lytton and Over The Rainbow winner, Danielle Hope, are currently in the final stage of rehearsals before the show opens in Manchester in March. From there they will embark on a 10-month UK tour, and Tom admits being away from Kelsey will be hard – although he has his other passion to keep him sane – cooking. “I love cooking. I cook every day, it’s something I love to do and I find it relaxing as well as rewarding. “I’d like to try and cook for my fellow cast members I think. I know this tour is going to be hard, it’s a whole new experience for me and I know there will be times where I don’t see my fiancée for up to six weeks, but together we can get through it.

Grease The Musical is heading to Sunderland Empire from 1-6 May, 2017. Tickets are priced from £17-£39.50 and are available from the Box Office at High Street West, Sunderland, via the ticket centre or by calling 0844 871 3022.

Voting I’M


for the Making every day a Darlington day

Win For a chance to win, simply answer the following question: Name one of the animals that you will be able to see at Lightwater Valley’s Fab Feb Family Fun event?

a) Dogs b) Piglets c) Hedgehogs Email your entry to competitions@ marked Darlington Today competition Competition Closes on 15 Feb 2017. The prize is a family pass for up to 6 people. The prize must be used between 16th and 21st February 2017. No cash alternative.

Win Six Tickets to

Lightwater Valley’s Fab Feb Family Fun event 16th-21st February 2017 Don’t let rainy days be boring this half-term – enjoy a fun family day out at Lightwater Valley Theme Park, Ripon! We have heaps to do both indoors and outdoors with a selection of rides and giant indoor inflatable’s for you to run wild and let loose on this half term! The Angry Birds Activity Park and indoor Angry Birds Space will be open along with the Lightwater Falconry Centre with over 35 amazing birds of prey, reptiles and mammals.

Get up close with our farm where you’ll find with lots of cute and cuddly animals to pet and feed, including rabbits, lambs, piglets, miniature ponies and cows and alpacas. The Granary Café will be open for a delicious lunch or coffee and cakes and you’ll find great offers in our Shopping Village.

Rides and activities open at Fab Feb Family Fun: Skyrider Eagles // Creek Farm   Trauma Tower // Carousel Eagles // Claw // Fairground Rides Angry Birds Activity Park // Angry Birds Space // Bouncy Castles Pirate Assault Course // Giant Slide  Pillow Bash // Soft Play // Animal Feeding // Lightwater Falconry Centre Reptile Handling // Petting Farm Shops // Cafes

Winners Darlington Today 58 The winners of the last Darlington Today competitions were:

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A Family ticket to Sleeping Beauty Sunderland Empire: J. Davey of Darlington

An Overnight Stay with dinner at The Holiday Inn, Washington: H. Redgrave of Aycliffe Village

A Mid-Week Spa Day at Rockliffe Hall: S. Patterson of Newcastle

An Overnight Stay with dinner at The Coquetvale Hotel, Rothbury: E. Callagham of Darlington

An Overnight Stay with dinner at The New Northumbria Hotel, Jesmond: Mr & Mrs Dickson of Darlington

A Studio portrait shoot with framed photo from Camera A: B. Keeler of Aycliffe Village

A VIP Experience at The Grosvenor Casino Stockton: L. Walker of Darlington An overnight stay with dinner at The Blackwell Grange, Darlington: J. Tyndall of Newton Aycliffe A 55 minute treatment at Broom Mill Skin Bar: C. Hague of Darlington


Don’t let rainy days be boring this half-term, enjoy a fun family day out at Lightwater Valley! Rides and activities open at Fab Feb Family Fun*: Skyrider ● Eagles’ Creek Farm ● Carousel ● Eagles’ Claw ● Trauma Tower ● Ladybug ● Space Pirates ● Noah’s Ark Human Cannonball ● Angry Birds Activity Park Angry Birds Space ● Indoor Soft Play ● Bouncy Castles ● Pirate Assault Course ● Giant Slide ● Pillow Bash ● Animal Feeding ● Lightwater Falconry Centre Reptile Handling ● Petting Farm ● Shops ● Cafes

Free entry for Lightwater Valley Season Ticket Holders and Under 1’s.

This event is pre-bookable only. Book your tickets at *Please note the full theme park is not open. Availability of rides and attractions is correct at publication but may be subject to change on the day.

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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER… 80s legends Shalamar will be headlining as one of the region’s most exclusive charity events returns for its 12th year….

The Lobster Ball not only provides a first class night out, it plays a vital role in raising money for charity.

IT’S become renowned as one of the North East’s most popular charity nights - and it’s back for a 12th year this spring.

It is being supported by a range of sponsors including Great Annual Saving Group and Aston Martin, and this will be the third year in a row that Daisy Chain has benefitted.

The Lobster Ball will be making a splash at Hardwick Hall Hotel in County Durham on April 21, as once again it aims to raise as much cash as possible for autism charity, Daisy Chain.

Based in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees, Daisy Chain was established as a charity to help children with autism in 2003, and now helps more than 1700 families across the Tees Valley.

With top 1980s soul stars Shalamar recently announced as the headline act, tickets for the black tie event are already selling fast and organisers are hoping that this year they can exceed previous records in a bid to improve the lives of people in and around the region.

Each week it provides around 600 hours of respite care and helps more than 580 children, and is an ever-expanding project which relies on charity donations. John Adamson admits that although the lavish night itself is all about fine food, fine entertainment and a good time, the end game is always about the charity.

Over the years, the annual event has pulled in tens of thousands of pounds for local charities, thanks to the fundraising commitment of John Adamson, owner of Hardwick Hall and Ramside Hall Hotel.

“I have always felt very strongly about supporting the region’s charities, and this is what makes the Lobster Ball such a special event,” he explained. “It is always a very memorable night and our guests always dig deep and give generously to support our local charities.

It will include a four course gourmet lobster surf and turf dinner, prepared by the award-winning chefs from The Rib Room Steakhouse and Grill along with complimentary wine, lager and beer throughout the night.

“Once again we are supporting Daisy Chain this year, it’s a really worthy cause which does so much to help families of children with autism, and it’s fantastic to be able to help in this way to improve the lives of people in the region.”

Shalamar, who had hits throughout the 70s and 80s including A Night to Remember, Friends, I Can Make You Feel Good and There It Is, will be getting guests on the dancefloor, while further entertainment will come from six-piece band Sally Army and swing favourites Shakedown.

The evening also includes a fashion show featuring the clothes from Durham’s awardwinning Woven Gentlemen’s Outfitters and Newcastle-based Love Niche

They follow a long line of stars who have appeared at previous events including former M People vocalist Heather Small, 80s pop heroes Go West and R&B sensation Jocelyn Brown. 10 | Darlington Today

Tickets for the 12th Lobster Ball cost £145 plus VAT per person are available by contacting the venue’s events team on 01740 620253 or by emailing events@ The Lobster Ball supports autism charity Daisy Chain

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There’s just something about spring – and every season actually - that makes us want to shop. With the warmer weather on its way and outdoor plans in our diaries, it seems only fair to add some new additions to our wardrobes. The SS17 catwalks were filled with edgy, groundbreaking and completely wearable - looks that we can’t wait to get our hands on and - luckily for us - they’re starting to find their way on to Darlington’s high street.

Next - Melton cap £10, Sweater £26, Roll neck sweater £14, Jeans £32, Socks £12, Trainers £30

Here are our top picks of this season’s staples, trends and colours to help you make the transition from winter wardrobe to spring-ready in just one shopping trip.





New Look, Blue Paint Print Denim jacket £39.99

1 New Look, White Stripe T Shirt £5.99 2 Next, Chuka Boots £52 3 Topman, Guitar Shirt £30 4 Primark, Dark Blue Mens Jeans £10

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5 Next - Bomber Jacket £22, Jeans £15, Laceless Trainers £15 6 Next - Fisherman Coat £38, Rainbow Roll Neck £11, Denim Skirt £13 7 Next, Badge Jumper £12 8 Next, Girls Embroidered Trainers £22 9 Primark, Girls Sequin Sweater £7 10 River Island, Boys Bomber Jacket £30 11 River Island, Floral Jeans £14 12 River Island, Hat £10 13










13 Next, Frill Sleeve Shirt £34 14 Primark, Muted Suedette Biker £23 15 Primark, Cold Shoulder Gingham Dress Shirt £10 16 House of Fraser, Dune Maari Heels £80 17 House of Fraser, Yellow Bucket Bag £42 18 Topshop, Denim Jacket £65 19 Topshop, Embroidered Dress £45 20 River Island, Leopard Print Backless Loafers £55 21 Primark - Blazer £17, T Shirt £6,

Trousers £13, Loafers £8

22 New Look - Bag £15.99,

Ripped Jeans £27.99, Shoes £25.99

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Middlesbrough students’ careers take off at Teesside travel shop

The store at Teesside Retail Park won the accolade of branch of the year after a visit by a mystery shopper showed the staff to be miles better at delivering great customer service than other branches throughout the country.

THE knowledge and expertise of former Middlesbrough College students has helped a Teesside branch of Thomas Cook take a national title.

“I was really pleased to get such a high mark – I just followed the training- and obviously it works.

Four former students work at the travel centre including Apprentice 19-yearold Sophie Bower who achieved a remarkable 97 per cent mark from the incognito visitor.

“I haven’t been able to travel much myself yet – I went to London and Paris when I was at college but I’m really looking forward to the opportunities working here presents. I’d love to go to New York one day.” Kerry Dixon co-ordinator for level 3 Travel and Aviation at Middlesbrough College was on hand to congratulate the team, along with Manda Perkovic whose dual role as FE consultant for the shop is pivotal to the relationship.

Kerry explained the College has had a long-term, very successful relationship with Thomas Cook with many students going on to work in travel centres and for its airline. Manda said: “I work at the travel centre two days a week - a role I combine with my lecturer post for the college. I get to look after the students in both environments through student/study liaisons – so it is very rewarding to get such fantastic feedback.” Other employees who are also former students are Megan Rennison, 20, a former aviation student who has worked at Thomas Cook for one and a half years; Jenny Himsworth, 29, who has been there for seven years and Emma Kirby, 28, a former travel student with ten years at the firm. Emma, who lives in Marton, said: “I really enjoy working here and sharing in people’s excitement about planning and booking their trips and adventures.” Sue Nelson, store manager, said: “Over the years we have built up a great relationship with the college. We know that when we get students they will be of a high calibre, have a good work ethic, an understanding of the industry and great customer service skills.”



M D BUS AN ARL D T ING RAI TON N T FOR O AN Apply now for September 2017 full-time courses! STU D DEN TS! Develop industry competencies and behaviours

ENGINEERING AT MIDDLESBROUGH COLLEGE Courses include: • Electrical • Instrumentation • Manufacturing • Mechanical • Welding & Fabrication • Motor Vehicle

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in a real working environment and gain additional employability skills in our state of the art STEM Centre! 95% of students go into employment, education or an apprenticeship on completion of their course!


Tel. 01642 333333


KYNREN Kynren – An Epic Tale of England takes you on a captivating journey through 2000 years of British history, myth and legend and this year, it promises to be bigger, better and brighter than ever.

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KYNREN Following huge success in its first year, Kynren – An Epic Tale of England,

set against the magnificent backdrop of Auckland Castle at Bishop Auckland, will return this summer under the new creative leadership of director Steve Boyd. A veteran mass choreographer for multiple Olympic and Commonwealth Games ceremonies including London 2012, Glasgow 2014 and Rio 2016, Boyd is hard at work on plans to build on the success of season one and make every aspect of the show “bigger, better and brighter” than before. Beginning at sunset and ending in starlight, the 90-minute spectacle will take each 8000-strong audience on a visually stunning journey through 2000 years of British history, myth and legend.

Kynren Chief Executive Officer, Anne-Isabelle Daulon with Creative Director Steve Boyd

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As the story unfolds upon a landscaped, open-air stage

- equivalent in size to five football pitches with a full-size lake at its centre - audiences will witness mass choreography, combat, dance, fire, dazzling pyrotechnics and astonishing lighting and water effects, as well as life size replicas of Norman longboats, steam trains, wagons and carriages. The special effects that bring the scenes to life with thrilling visual impact, will see audiences transported from Roman times through to the Second World War, encountering Viking and Norman invasions, medieval feasts to the splendour of the Tudors, the Industrial

Revolution and the Roaring Twenties along the way. An increased size volunteer cast and crew of 1,500 people - joined on stage by a supporting cast of performance horses, sheep, goats, cattle, geese and ducks – help bring the show to life. All of the volunteers are professionally trained by top performance experts in dance, theatrical combat, guest management, pyrotechnics, and cavalry to create a world-class spectacle. The performance is set to an evocative sound track composed by Nathan Stornetta, the award-winning screen composer who, since studying his craft at the Royal College of Music, has collaborated on several movies with Hollywood greats such as Hans Zimmer, whom Nathan joined on his live tour of Europe last summer. Launched by Eleven Arches in 2016, Kynren - An Epic Tale of England is the UK’s only live action show. The first season saw more than 100,000 people visit Bishop Auckland to experience 2000 years of British history, as seen through the eyes of the North East.

forward to welcoming even more visitors in 2017 to experience our spectacular show, and encouraging them to discover everything the North East has to offer while they are in the region.” Eleven Arches is the vision of philanthropist and investment manager Jonathan Ruffer. It is one of two charities he has established in Bishop Auckland, the other is the Auckland Castle Trust. Together, the aim of the charities is to establish Bishop Auckland as an international tourist destination, attracting visitors and investment which will contribute to the fortune of the area and empower the community. The opening night for season two of Kynren – An Epic Tale of England begins on 1 July 2017 with a total of 17 limited performances through to midSeptember. For further information or to book tickets, go to booking

Anne-Isabelle Daulon, Chief Executive Officer at Eleven Arches is delighted to be bringing the show back: “We look

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Mum’s the word By Shannon Hodge

If you want to show your mum how much she means to you on Mother’s Day (Sunday 26 March), avoid the influx of twee ‘best mum’ merchandise for a thoughtful gift she’ll actually enjoy. From pamper products, her favourite DVD and a ruddy good book, to photo frames that can be personalised and a fancy glass to toast the lady who raised you, here’s our round-up of gifts to appeal to many types of mums and every type of budget.

1 The Body Shop, The Iconic Mini Collection £40 2 House of Fraser, Biba Selina bowl vase £48 3 TK Maxx, Large Faux Floral Bouquet £16.99 4 Waterstones, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi £9.99

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Credit: Home Sense Credit: Thorntons

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1 Marks and Spencer, Daisy Frame £17.50 2 Topshop, Pyjamas £34 3 TK Maxx, Ombre Dipped Wine Glass £2.99 4 H Samuel, Chamilia Sterling Silver Heart Mum Bead £35 5 Thorntons, Continental Heart Box £20 6 HMV, Mamma Mia DVD £5.99






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increased success success at at are one one of of the the fundamental fundamental increased are advantages of a Stagecoach school and then later, in all FOR THE ALL BOYS DANCE CLASS advantages of a Stagecoach school and then later, in all walks of of life. life. Stagecoach Stagecoach training. Our Our students students walks training. Darlington students are7.30pm harnass harnass creative creative courage to After 28 years, years, Coming soon! – a talent appeared in `Oliver` in the West Fridays, in term time, from Darlington students are courage to After 28 competition for all interested work towards their goals for performing at the moment until 9.00pm. End; and performed with The Stagecoach Theatre Arts work towards their goals for performing at the moment Stagecoach Theatre boys,been agedrebranded. from 7 yearsArts to 14 in the West End and others the future. future. Royal Shakespeare Company has in the West End and others the The All Boy Dance Class has been has been rebranded. years, who are interested in, are pursuing training in top with the trialling of `Matilda`. The adverts have a new are pursuing training in top a training ground for several boys The Stagecoach teachers and talented Dance. There The adverts in have a new London drama schools. schools. Another boy reached the final The Stagecoach teachers London look and the logo logo has who have,drama in recent years, won are two scholarships onhas offer and principal principal are planning planning look and the stages of the selection to be Billy and are places at prestigious London one sponsored by Stagecoach been modernised. But Current students often often have some very exciting projects been modernised. But in `Billyvery Elliot` and another to Current students have some exciting projects and the other sponsored by Drama schools. We currently everything important important for the academic year opportunities to perform be in the last three for the role everything for the academic year opportunities to perform `Asquiths the Jewellers` of Post have five boys who are studying has stayed the same The locally and and sometimes sometimes 2016/17 Our little ones ones of `Charlie and the has stayed same House Wynd inthe Darlington. locally 2016/17 Our little at Arts Educational, Urdang, further afield like the two – from 2 years to 6 years Chocolate Factory`. scholarships will last until the further afield like the two – from 2 years to 6 years Laine and LAMDA. The previous Stagecoach Darlington are embarking embarking upon upon their their young boys boys who who have have boy wishes toDarlington leave the class, so Stagecoach are young holder of a scholarship to the All More all boys has been in existence for appeared in a film film recently showimportantly, term in in September. September. could potentially last forfor 7 years has been in existence appeared a recently show term Boy Dance in class – Theo Close, can love 19 years and over has won won six andyears be worth £3,000. Ourenjoy plansand thisdevelop term, afor for andgone the ex-student ex-student who will will 19 and has six has on to win a scholarship Our plans this term, and the who of Dance in a supportive awards for its work with the curriculum curriculum for for our our appear in aSchool, a film film with with Brada awards forDance its work to The Brit and Brad then the in The All Boy classwith trains boys appear comfortable young people. Stagecoach main school schoolatmosphere. students (6 (6There – Pitt shortly. shortly. But whatever whatever young people. Stagecoach Cameron Mackintosh bursary to all together, in lots of Dance styles. Pitt main students – But are regular public performances has an unrivalled reputation 16 years), are the subject happens on the opportunity has anisunrivalled There a particular reputation emphasis on Arts Educational. 16 years),like are theVibe subject happens on the opportunity at events Awards locally for the the quality quality of front, every every week week your your child child of aa mystery mysteryThe Facebook some ballet training, in preparation locally for of front, of Facebook and charity and private function The All Boys Dance Class has also its training, the experience competition with prizes will receive excellent care for training, boys who the mayexperience wish to take up its competition with prizes will receive excellent care performances. They have also been the vehicle for success for and expertise of its itslater, staffand also and excellent training, will Dance at a high of level to be be won. won. But But in the the New New and expertise staff to and excellent training, will appeared in frontin of an audience potential performers too. One and the care that it gives in the ever-popular Street Dance. have fun fun and and will will make make new new Year our our highly highly popular popular and the care that it gives have of 12,000 at The Birmingham boy appeared in several West End Year Theits class is taughtVery at The Queen to students. many ‘Oscers’ term culminates in a friends that they very often to its students. Very many ‘Oscers’ culminates they very Arena andterm at Her Majesty`s in a tours likethat `The Sound ofoften Music` Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Vane friends of our students students have found glittering awards awards ceremony ceremony keep for for life. life. Skills Skills for for life life of our have found glittering keep and `Chitty Chitty Bang Bang` ; Theatre in the West End. Terrace, Darlington, DL3 7AU, on

21 | Darlington Today 22 || Darlington Darlington Today Today 21

at the the new new Majestic Majestic Theatre. Theatre. at

SO... if if you you would would like like SO... to see what Stagecoach Do YOUwhat knowStagecoach a boy who to see will come come to mean meaninto to could be interested will to Spread your child and how it this opportunity? your child and how it the word. At this stage, any could improve their life could improve their life boy interested in contact auditioning chances then chances then contact should get a parent to e Stagecoach for their their Stagecoach for mail Trudy Hindmarsh on information pack on information pack on and darlington@stagecoach. darlington@stagecoach. the full details will be sent to or or 01325 337667 337667 or or them, also 01325 by e mail. visit www.stagecoach. visit www.stagecoach. DEADLINE FOR AN EXPRESSION You .. You OF INTEREST ISyou APRIL 1st 2017 will be glad did. will be glad you did.

Darlington Today | 23



Enjoy a Sunday Lunch If you aren’t successful in winning this competition, then why not take advantage of the hotel’s fantastic value Sunday Lunch. Located in the heart of Darlington, the Mercure Darlington King’s Hotel is the perfect place for a relaxing weekend getaway. After checking into one of our luxurious privilege guest bedrooms, the afternoon is then free for you to shop in Darlington’s many independent shops and boutiques. Back at the hotel, begin your evening in our upmarket cocktail bar, and then dine in the forthcoming refurbished restaurant the King’s Grill, which has stunning views across the town centre. Enjoy a refreshing bottle of wine while sampling the delights of our our newly themed restaurant, which showcases the best of modern British cuisine. Leave feeling rested after a comfortable night’s sleep, and hearty full English breakfast.

£13.95 for 3 courses Answer this question to win: What’s the price of the new Sunday lunch at Mercure Darlington?

Pre-booking is essential, to make a reservation, call reception on 01325 380 222

Entry details can be found at the foot of page 26. Closing date for entries is 17 March 2017. Limited free parking available.

Terms & Conditions Prize includes 3 course dinner for 2 people with a bottle of wine, bed & breakfast at the hotel. Pre-booking is essential. Valid for 2 people for 1 night. Subject to availability.

HOLIDAY INN WASHINGTON Holiday Inn Washington UK hotel is ideally located between historic Durham, Sunderland and Newcastle, just off junction 64 of the A1. This long-established hotel is well known for its friendly staff and warm welcome. With plenty of free parking, the hotel has an established restaurant Traders, and a contemporary lounge and bar area, serving drinks and light snacks. There are 136 fully air conditioned bedrooms at this hotel in Washington, including family and accessible rooms. Ideally placed for enjoying the many tourist attractions the area has to offer. So whether you fancy a day in historic Durham, a trip to the coastal areas of South Shields, a day back in time visiting the award winning

Beamish Museum, a day of retail therapy shopping at the famous intu Metrocentre or taking in the history and culture, not to mention the amazing restaurants, bars and shops that the city of Newcastle has to offer.

THE COMPETITION Win an overnight stay for 2 people in a luxurious double bedroom, fully inclusive of bed, breakfast and dinner with a bottle of wine in Traders Restaurant. Answer this question for a chance to win: What is the name of the hotel’s restaurant? Closing date for competitions is 17 March 2017. See foot of page 26 for entry details

Holiday Inn, Washington, Emerson, Washington NE37 1LB 0191 4189400 | Follow us on Twitter @HIWashington • Like us on FaceBook Holiday Inn Washington

24 | Darlington Today

Meeting rooms are available.

Just completed a bedroom refurbishment, so all 136 bedrooms have a new look!


N WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN W WIN AN OVERNIGHT STAY AT THE COQUETVALE Located in the nineteenth century country town of Rothbury, on the edge of the Northumberland National Park, The Coquetvale is perfect for a relaxing break in beautiful countryside or the ideal base for walking, cycling or many outdoor pursuits. The stunning Cragside House and grounds are a 5 minute drive away as are the breath-taking Simonside Hills. A little further afield Alnwick Castle and Gardens as well as the stunning coastline with Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island being landmarks. The Coquetvale offers the finest Northumberland welcome, offering 14 well-appointed ensuite bedrooms. Boasting a combination of double, twin, family and 2 stunning very recently refurbished superior suites. The hotel recognises that many of the visitors to this spectacular area are those of the 4-legged variety and therefore is very dog friendly. The grand restaurant offers a mix of traditional and modern, with its high ceilings, featuring ornate rose and cornice, decorated in subtle grey and silver – with stunning double aspect picturesque windows and views

towards the Northumberland National Park and Coquet Valley. An experienced team of Chefs offer tempting dishes with many seasonal and daily specials. There truly is something for everyone, not to mention the award winning breakfast, which boasts locally sourced ingredients. The bar offers a diverse selection of wines, guest ales both on tap and bottle, premium spirits and fine wines. The bar is also accessible to our relaxing decked terrace with comfortable seating and panoramic views of Rothbury – weather permitting. Recently under new ownership, the family, with a wealth of hotel experience, are focussed on delivering a truly special guest experience in terms of both service and product, so with that in mind have already commenced a gradual and discreet refurbishment programme of all areas.

The Coquetvale, Station Road, Rothbury, NE65 7QH, Northumberland

READER OFFER As a special readership offer, why not take advantage of the Late Winter offer, February and March from £55.00 Bed and Breakfast for 2 persons in double or twin room Call for more details on 01669 622900 or email Visit our website

READER COMPETITION (2) Win an overnight stay for 2 persons, in double or twin room fully inclusive of Northumbrian breakfast and 3 course evening meal.

How many well appointed bedrooms does The Coquetvale have? Closing date for entries is 17th March 2017. See foot of page 26 for entry details.

Darlington Today | 25


A CLOSE SHAVE… It’s a necessary daily evil for most men, the need to shave. Add into the mix the chances of red, blotchy and sore skin and it makes for a generally unpleasant experience. But never fear a master barber has come to the rescue – as Darlington Today discovers. The noble art of barbering is something that runs through Iain Kane’s blood. The popularity of his shop, The Village Barber at Durham’s Langley Park is easily understood – here’s a man who can wield a cutthroat razor and give a perfect shave, time after time. That level of skill comes from more than 30 years’ experience, initially following in the footsteps of his father and taking on a three-year apprenticeship to learn his trade in his native Glasgow. That skill has taken Iain across the UK and Europe but has now led to him making his home here in the North East, with a new aspect to his business which is giving him a global presence. “I’ve always worked as a barber apart from having a short break for a few years when I worked as an RSPCA Inspector,” said Iain. “I also lived in Spain for a few years but decided eventually to come back to this country and live in the North East.” Having always worked for other people, Iain felt the time was right to start his own barbershop and his skills meant that people were happy to travel to see him. It did however also leave him with a problem. “I had looked for years for some kind of shaving oil that I was happy to let my customers have and to use on them,” he said.

ENTER TO WIN 26 | Darlington Today

“Most people use soap, foams or gels and they can really irritate the skin or make shaving an unhappy experience. I realised that I needed to find something that would do the job to my standards.” With that in mind, Iain started to work closely with a clinical aromatherapist, devising a special blend of shaving oil and an aftershave balm which were perfect for his needs.

With plans for future products in the pipeline, the Village Barber brand is set to go from strength to strength. For further information or to buy products visit

And so, Village Barber Skin Products were born, with a Shaving Oil which is made from 100 per cent natural ingredients and an Aftershave Balm which is 100 per cent paraben – the nasty ingredient in many cosmetics – free. Iain currently sells the products as individual bottles, a gift set which contains both the Oil and the Balm and a Travel Pack. The reaction has been incredible – with orders from across the globe including for as far afield as the USA and Russia. Industry experts have praised the products, remarking on the fact they cause “no irritation and keep the skin moisturised” while the balm “adds that extra luxury of moisture and healing properties that finishes the shave like no other.” All of this is music to Iain’s ears, and he is now on a mission to educate the male public about how shaving doesn’t need to be a painful experience.

WIN… We have teamed up with Village Barber to offer one lucky winner a voucher for a cutthroat shave at Iain’s barbershop plus a gift bag of products. To enter the competition what we want to know is – what are the two products currently in the Village Barber range? Closing date for competitions is 17 March 2017. See foot of this page for entry details.

To enter any of the Darlington Today competitions please ensure you clearly mark on your entry the name of the competition that you are entering together with the answer to the question if there is one with your name, address and contact telephone number to:

Darlington Today Magazine competition, 45 Atkinson Gardens, Aycliffe Village, Co. Durham, DL5 6LH (Please note any competition entries without full contact details and contact telephone numbers will be voided and not entered into the competition)

WIN AN OVERNIGHT STAY AT HILTON NEWCASTLE GATESHEAD THE COMPETITION: Win an overnight stay for two with breakfast included in one of Hilton Newcastle Gateshead’s executive rooms. To enter, answer the following question:

What is the name of Hilton Newcastle Gateshead’s restaurant? For more information about Hilton Newcastle Gateshead or to book call 0191 490 9700 or visit the website: Closing date for competitions is 17 March 2017. See foot of page 26 for entry details.

PERCHED in a prime position overlooking the iconic Tyne Bridge, Hilton Newcastle Gateshead is the perfect place to spend a luxurious night. The stylish hotel is located between the Tyne and Swing Bridges which link Newcastle and Gateshead’s Quaysides. Built on the Gateshead side, the hotel provides stunning views of the city and is in easy walking distance of all of the main attractions.

Whether your visit is business, to hit the city’s thriving shopping areas or to simply enjoy a big night on the town, Hilton Newcastle Gateshead is in the perfect location. Or perhaps you’d prefer to stay in and take advantage of the hotel’s many facilities, including an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and Ocean Rooms Spa, or enjoy a delicious dinner or afternoon tea in the Windows on the Tyne restaurant?

Darlington Today | 27

WANTING A HOLIDAY THAT’S A HOME FROM HOME? BERNICE SALTZER MIGHT JUST HAVE FOUND THE SOLUTION… Ask any number of people what they’re doing on New Year’s Eve and you can bet that most of the answers are the same. 28 | Darlington Today

“We’re staying in,” “we don’t like new year” are among the many common responses - and it’s not surprising. The run-up to Christmas can be exhausting but in which case that’s the best reason of all for heading away to see in the end of the year, with the added benefits of bargain flights and great off-season deals. Over the years we’ve spent new year in numerous places – from the madness of Prague to the delights of unspoilt Riga, from the sophistication of Rome to the craziness of Marrakech. But the one place that has us returning time after time is Spain, or to be precise, the Costa Del Sol.

Head to this area of the world in the summer and you’ll be greeted with groups of young people heading to “Marbs” and Puerto Banus (thanks TOWIE) or families enjoying their break in Fuengirola or Torremolinos. But at the end of the year the Cosa Del Sol becomes a totally different place and a fantastic one at which to enjoy the festive season. Firstly, it’s easily accessible from the North East – just under three hours and you’re touching down at Malaga. It may not be sweltering hot but it’s certainly still warm enough, so much so that a couple of years ago we were able to sunbathe on New Year’s Day.

Go as a group and it’s even more fun and luckily there are endless options for booking an apartment rather than staying in a hotel, which makes it even more economical. This time round we booked with Platinum Gold Rentals, which has a number of properties on their books in key locations. We were given some great advice from Jean, the English woman who runs the company, and finally booked a penthouse duplex near Riviera – approx. 25 minutes’ drive from the airport.

This was a really great choice for our little group of five, who all loved the great facilities and the stylish way the apartment – it seemed too grand to call it a flat! – had been decorated. It was also really handy for visiting all the resorts along the coast, with us taking in the delights of Marbella and its many restaurants and bars, the Saturday flea markets at Feungirola and even a day trip to Gibraltar. And then of course there’s New Year’s Eve itself, which we spent at the amazing Valparaiso restaurants at Mijas. Here you wine, dine, dance and generally have an amazing time with fireworks at midnight – and you’re also in a prime position to see all of the other fireworks around the coast.

True you don’t get to sing Auld Lang Syne but who cares when you can enjoy the raucous version of Y Viva Espagna and also take part in the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight – each one to give you good luck for the year ahead. It was a great way to get 2017 underway with a resolution made which we are all planning to keep - back again next year!

FACT FILE We flew from Newcastle to Malaga with EasyJet. For more information on rental properties visit

Darlington Today | 29




Central Hall, Dolphin Centre Box office: 01325 486 555

The Forum Music Centre Tel: 01325 363135

Rockliffe Hall Tel: 01325 729 999

Sponge - 23 February

Green Days - 17 February

Gin and Jazz Evening with Paul Skerritt - 25 February

Roll, squeeze and pop yourself through a new kind of family dance show, set to a 1970s-influenced score, ideal for babies, young children and families. Sponge is about all things spongy, a child’s ability to soak information up like a sponge and the squishy, squashy texture that fascinates children and adults alike. Tickets: £5

See the brilliant tribute to American pop-punk rockers Green Day return to The Forum, performing an array of hits including American Idiot, Holiday, Wake Me Up When September Ends and Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Tickets £7 - £8

Pioneers of the Synthesizers 24 February

The Majestic Theatre, Bondgate, Darlington DL37JT Tel: 01325-482848

Animating the audience with live music and a laser performance of Kraftwerk’s electronic dance tunes, this stunning tribute band is dedicated to the German pioneers of synthesizer. Tickets £8 - £10

Sleeping Beauty 23 – 26 February

The Springsteen Sessions 25 February

Tom Rolfe Productions proudly presents a brand new panto full of family fun this February half term. With Coronation Street star Steven Arnold as King Ashley, Andy McGuire from Hollyoaks as Prince and the talented Jessica Pease as Princess Beauty it’s a show not to be missed. Tickets £10

Rose-Marie - Irish Singing Sensation 3 March Following her tour of the USA and fiveyear stint in Las Vegas, Irish singer RoseMarie has sold 15 million records and all 20 of her album releases have gone to gold or platinum status. Join her for an evening of laughter, song or just for the Craic this March. Tickets £20

Patrick Monahan - That 80s Show 10 March It’s the 1980s and Patrick’s Irish-Iranian family arrives in Teesside escaping from the Iran war. Patrick reminisces about being an immigrant to the UK in this unique stand-up show full of the joy that festival goers have come to know of this real festival favourite! Tickets £14

The New Jersey Boys - 23 March The New Jersey Boys takes you back to the magical time in music history when four boys from New Jersey in the USA and from the wrong side of the tracks invented their own unique sound. With all the favourite hits including: Oh What A Night, Walk Like a Man, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Sherry and many more. Tickets £20

30 | Darlington Today

Covering over four decades of The Boss, this tight unit of accomplished musicians tear into such mighty classics as Born To Run, 10th Avenue Freeze Out, Jungleland and Rosalita to name a few. To the true Springsteen fan, this will be a journey they’ll never want to end. Tickets £10 - £12

Hilarity Bites Comedy Club: Russell Hicks & Sully O’Sullivan 4 March One of the most exciting comics to come out of America in recent times, Russell Hicks was branded one of the ‘Top Six Comics to Watch’ by LA’s Stand Up Talk Magazine. Prolific and consistently delivering quality new work, audience members are often compelled to return for two nights in a row; Russell is fast and loose, and no two shows are ever the same. Tickets £10

Stipe (REM tribute) - 17 March Returning for a third visit due to popular demand this brilliant tribute band describe themselves as a musical appreciation to the sound of R.E.M. Formed by Rick Southern, the original line-up gigged mainly in the North of England and Scotland before building up an enviable reputation and touring the UK, Ireland and Europe. Tickets £8


Sip signature Slingsby Gin cocktails on arrival before indulging in a delicious, gin-inspired two course dinner created by Aaron Craig, while enjoying the smooth sounds of Paul Skerrit serenading you with his Jazz music. Paul has cemented his place at the top of the North East Jazz scene with his unique sense of phrasing and timing, and is back by popular demand at Rockliffe Hall. If you’re not too full you can then dance to the disco until the early hours. Tickets £45

Celtic Beat Irish Dance Evening 3 March This very special Irish evening in Rockliffe’s Clubhouse will welcome the Mulvenna Academy featuring world champion Irish dancers CaolanMcKeating Lynch and EtainMulvenna. Guests will enjoy a delicious two course meal and music performed by an Irish band. Tickets £65 (£52 for members)

Pre Cheltenham Racing Festival Evening - 12 March The perfect evening for racing fans, this pre-festival event will include racing tips and stories from UK commentator Niall Hannity, leading racehorse trainer, Brian Ellison and local jockeys Brian Hughes and Tony Kelly. Guests will tuck in to a hot and cold buffet before sitting down for a Q&A session with the racing experts. Tickets £40

Exhibitions The Bowes Museum Tel: 01833 690 606

The Allure of Napoleon 28 January – 19 March Featuring outstanding artworks held in the collection of The Bowes Museum, this display will offer the opportunity to learn more about the Museum Founders’ interest in Napoleon and his times.


All details were correct at the time of going to press. Please check with the individual venues before travelling as information may change.

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