Sitting at the top of the list is Cornwall, one of the most beautiful places in the country, rural and coastal settings a plenty and a friendly atmosphere. Cornwall forms a peninsula with wild moorlands and many sandy beaches. The south coast of Cornwall is dubbed the Cornish riviera due to the climate and picturesque landscapes. Cornwall has a host of picturesque villages and seaside resorts
A small yet humble town in the borough of Wigan has made it onto our list due to the small population, low pollution and lack of traffic jams. The village has a population of less than 14,000 people making it a perfect place to settle.
3.The Lake District
One of the most beautiful places in the UK, it was always going to make it onto the list. A favourite for nationals and tourists the lake district is a region of Cumbria in the northwest of England. With a low pollution level and beautiful market towns such as Keswick, Kendal, Ambleside and Derwentwater. The lake district is a wonderful place to visit and live.
Wales made it on to the list due to the low levels of pollution and traffic free roads (mostly). Wales is a well known part of southwest Great Britain. With rugged coastlines and famous mountains located there. The celtic culture and welsh language is a draw for tourism.
5. Scottish Highlands
Home to famous loch Ness and many other famous attractions the Scottish Highland is a wonderful place to move to and relax, benefit from rural locations and lower house prices you can pick up a lot of real estate for a lower cost.
As you can tell the most relaxing places to live in the UK appear to be more rural locations, this goes to show that city life really does have an impact on our health and ability to de-stress. Not everyone will be able to move to the locations or may not even want to but a short visit to a rural location is proven to reduce stress and help relax. If you live in a busy area it can be a great way to relax with a rural weekend away.
The Tynedale Sports Development overall aim is:
“To enable people from the whole community of Tynedale to take part in sports/leisure activities and progress to their chosen level of achievement.”
In pursuit of this we work with many partners including Leisure Tynedale facilities, Tynedale Council, local Schools Sports Partnerships, Northumberland Sport, Sport England and the National Governing Bodies for each individual sports.
Grassroots sport is very important to our team. Tynedale is a rural district and therefore we see the most effective way of providing sustainable activity is to run local activity, delivered by local people.
We are appreciative of the great work and provision made available through local sports clubs and volunteers. This is why the Sports Development team are dedicated to support activity within the local community.
Our team coordinates the Tynedale Sport and Physical Activity Alliance (SPAA), which is a partnership of organisations with sport and physical activity on their agenda.
The talCARD is an exciting scheme designed for active people who want to make good of their leisure time. The card gives you reduced prices on a wide range of activities and facilities, saving you money on swimming, fitness classes, 5-a-side, play schemes, courses and lots more!
The talCARD also enables you to book for casual classes and sessions at Wentworth Leisure Centre, Waterworld, Hexham Swimming Pool and Prudhoe Football and Sports Centre.
How to get your tal CARD
The talCARD is available for persons eight years and over. Fill in and take the completed application form to Wentworth Leisure Centre, Waterworld, Hexham Swimming Pool or Prudhoe Football and Sports Centre.
Green tal CARD
For people with disabilities, on low income or receiving benefit (see below for categories). The green talCARD lasts for one year and you can gain further discounts on activities and facilities.
You are entitled to a green talCARD if you receive:
- G1 Job Seekers Allowance
- G2 Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit
- G3 Incapacity Benefit
- G4 Disability Living Allowance
- G5 Attendance Allowance
- G6 Severe Disablement Allowance; or you are
- G7 A member of the Blue Badge Scheme
- G8 Income Support/Pension Credit Guarantee
When applying for a green talCARD, green monthly direct debit or green annual membership bring along proof of identification and your up-to-date confirmation letter showing your allowance or benefit.
Further details of the green monthly direct debits and green annual memberships are available from Wentworth Leisure Centre, Waterworld and Hexham Swimming Pool.
Children 17 years and under can have a green talCARD if their parent or guardian is entitled to a green talCARD.
You’ve started so they’ll finish… as well as making blankets for refugees, a team of knitters based at Hexham Abbey will come to the rescue and complete that pattern you never got round to finishing
DURING World War Two, Ruth King recalls her mother knitting socks for British servicemen overseas. “She would knit sea boot socks for the Navy in oiled wool, khaki socks for the army and airforce blue socks for the RAF. She knitted throughout the war for the WVS, now the WRVS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Service) and she taught me how to knit.”
Now Ruth is doing her bit by knitting blankets for the thousands of refugees fleeing to Europe that we witness on our television screens week by week. She belongs to Hexham Abbey Mothers’ Union knitting group, set up by Helen Armstrong five years ago.
“It’s horrendous what’s happening and I think projects like this are just so important. It’s the only way for people like us to become involved,” says Kate Steele, another knitter. Audrey Boldon agrees: “It’s heartbreaking when you see the children and it’s nice to feel you can do something to help.”
Hexham resident, Helen, estimates each blanket will take several hundred grams of wool but thankfully her knitters have quite a stash. “All our wool is gifted to us. We don’t have to buy any wool,” she says. “We get some nice yarn as well. All the needles we have are donated too. People take it into the parish office.”
Each member is knitting individual squares that will be sewn together to produce a patchwork, making it a real team effort and communal gift.
But the refugee blankets are just the latest in a series of two, three and four ply projects the ladies have stitched together. Their so-called rescue knitting scheme has proved popular with people bringing the industrious team their unfinished patterns to complete.
“Sometimes people just haven’t got time to finish a piece of knitting to deadline or perhaps they’ve taken on something a little too challenging,” says Helen. “For example someone had a baby coming into the family recently and had decided to make a Christening shawl. It was a complicated pattern and they found they couldn’t finish it so I took it to one of my indoor knitters (that’s a knitter who works at home, rather than coming into the Abbey) and said, ‘Would you like to finish this shawl?’ and she undertook to do it. It took her about three to four weeks and she was so pleased she made a donation to the Mothers’ Union.”
At the moment Helen is busy rescuing a child’s cardigan. “It was very complicated with pictures of little girls in dresses and skirts on it.”
Then there are the ‘fiddle pinnies’ that the group has just donated to Hexham residential home, Acomb Court’s Grace Unit for patients with dementia. These are perhaps more of a sewing project – small aprons with pockets, zips, buttons, ribbon and different textures – some knitted patches – sewn on to them.
The idea is that those patients who are agitated can play with the ribbon, button up the buttons and zip away to their hearts’ content. Carers say the elderly mentally ill patients find them calming.
Earlier this year the group presented a beautifully knitted Noah’s Ark complete with Noah and his wife and all of the animals – in duplicate of course – to the Tots’ Praise group. The ark, which even has a little drawbridge and a peace dove sitting on top of the roof with an olive branch in its bill, is kept in the children’s corner for the little ones to play with.
Ruth, who says she’s been knitting “since Adam was a lad” specialises in Fair Isle patterns and loves to make garments for the premature baby unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Occasionally the group holds sales of their wares at Hexham Market and their annual showpiece is at the Hexham Abbey Fair each December which this year will be held on Saturday 12th – a great spot for some Christmas shopping.
And Helen says she and her fellow crafters are always happy to teach new people to knit. So if you would like to learn, the knitting group offers a warm welcome the first Saturday in the month at 2pm in the Abbey’s parish centre. Meanwhile, if you have an unfinished jumper sitting in a knitting bag behind the settee, why not give it to Helen and her team? For a small donation, you could be wearing it by the end of next week.
People with learning difficulties are immersing themselves in the rural communities of the Allen Valleys while being taught new skills – just one of the many benefits provided by charity Natural Ability
THE smile says it all when Annie Evans talks about the transformation of her son from a shy young man to one full of confidence and enthusiasm. “It’s is lovely seeing him living an ordinary life,” she says of 28-year-old Joe Sanders, who has Down’s Syndrome and whose life took a turn for the better through the activities of an organisation Annie helped set up.
Annie’s idea to set up services locally for Joe and other adults and children with learning difficulties stemmed from a chat she was having while horse riding with a friend. Joe was away at a residential centre at the time, but why, asked Annie, couldn’t resources be available in the Allen Valleys where he lived?
After delving deeper she found out that there were ways of making this happen and the idea grew into Natural Ability – a fully fledged charity which has spread its wings from its base in Allendale to make a positive difference to people’s lives throughout Northumberland.
The main focus is to get people to play their part in the rural community, giving them independence by working, for example, on farms which have signed up to the project.
“The original vision was to have a farm where people could live and work, but when the financial crisis started, we realised that was not a realistic option so we do ‘guerilla’ farming… we have regular places we go to,” explained Annie. Other activities include working on a community garden at the High Forest Community Centre in Sinderhope; animal care days and environmental conservation. And then there are the outreach care services, which provide extra activities on top of what is already available in a home or school environment.
Before she set up Natural Ability Annie was a veterinary surgeon and growing up around animals, Joe had always wanted to be a farmer. But with no opportunities locally, he moved away to a residential care centre in Yorkshire, because it had a smallholding.
“My friend Janice Walker and I were out riding six years ago and I was again worrying about Joe going back there and she said, why can’t he just live here in a house here? And that was how the idea for Natural Ability was born. Why couldn’t he live in a house here with the necessary support?”
Annie and Janice turned to Social Enterprise Northumberland for help. “Neither of us had set up anything up from scratch before,” she said. “We knew what we wanted; to create opportunities for people like Joe, ideally living in the countryside because a lot of the supported living is in towns.”
What was important from the start, said Annie, was that the service integrated people into the local community. “It was so people could see that people with disabilities were part of the community and were playing an active part in the community on an equal basis,” she said. “The idea is to build partnerships with people – developing a relationship with people who need some work doing. That is our core business.”
Working outdoors, and in particular with animals, has had quite an impact on those taking part and Annie speaks of one child whose visits to see a pony built up his confidence enough to eventually go for a ride. “That is a huge achievement,” said Annie. “It had got him out into the world and experienced things he never would have done – being outdoors in the fresh air.”
The boy in question is autistic three-year-old Andrew Hamilton whose mum Emma described the involvement with Natural Ability as life-changing.
“About a year ago we saw Natural Ability at Allendale Fair and they had a Shetland pony there and a stall,” she said. “My son at that time was not talking. He had just received a diagnosis of autism. He was fascinated by the pony and wanted to put his hand on him and we realised we were tapping into something there.”
A visit to Allenheads to see the pony called Fudge, which belongs to Janice, saw Andrew walk up and stroke her. “He head rubbed her as well which is what he does when he wants affection,” said Emma. “There were two other horses in the fields and they were huge and he was not fazed at all and went straight up to them. They were putting their heads down and he was stroking their heads.
“He was not scared so I said to Janice, how about we do this regularly? On the second or third visit Janice asked whether he would go on the horse and I said no way. But she put him on and led him two laps around the field. That was really amazing for us and really emotional because we had not had that type of response before.
“Today, we try and go once a week to Allenheads. It is really special and means we can go out as a family and do something he really loves.”
Emma was so impressed that she decided to get involved with the charity and is now a board member. She said autistic children struggled with noise and crowds and Natural Ability’s activities had helped Andrew and others to get outside and become more active.
“It is quite a special relationship that Andrew has built up,” she said. “When the horses see him coming they kind of know it is him – we always bring carrots and apples which is probably the reason why! There is this bond there that he does not have with other children. It is a bit of freedom for him. He can do what he wants and be himself. I can’t say how much it has affected us as a family. It is a bit of a lifeline.”
The benefits of the visits on Andrew have included better mobility and improved sleep patterns. “When he comes home he is very tired… there’s the physical act of grooming and being on the horse. It really calms him so when he comes home he has a nap. Andrew does not sleep very well – most autistic children don’t.
“And he has a physiotherapist and has showed signs of dyspraxia and she has seen a real change in him. That is not down to play equipment because he does not go on anything. He is not interested – particularly if there are crowds and because he falls over a lot and has no confidence.
“When I told the physiotherapist about the horse riding she said that would help his core mobility skills so we do not see her as often as we did because he is learning more about movement from sitting on the horse and from being outside and not having to face the crowds – the kids in the park. It has helped him physically and mentally.
“We had tried so many things that might help, but the one thing we stick to is going up to see Fudge, because we do believe that has made a real difference. It is amazing really and it is great showing the pictures to our family because they are so proud of him.”
Three years ago, the charity set up its first supported living service with 24-hour care and it also has funding available to help young adults with learning difficulties who have left school with the transition to adulthood.
“They will often have had a very good education, but when they move into the adult world they can lose their ambition and become diffident,” said Annie. “We wanted to provide things for young people to support them through this transition, so we have run a specialist programme for four to five years for people based in their own home.”
The charity’s outreach care services, working with schools and parents of anyone from the age of three to 19 are also encouraging young people to get out and about. “We are taking them out of their home or school and dropping them back again and contributing to their skills and personal development,” said Annie.
With a core team of four, Natural Ability is supported by activity supervisors who run the day farming, as well as a group of volunteers. And a total of 17 staff work on the outreach programme on a one-to one basis with young people, taking them out and about, for example, to develop their social skills.
“It could be something like going for a meal in a cafe, learning how to order food, how to sit down at the table and communicate with people, so they can do that with their families better as time goes on,” explained Annie.
Funding remains an issue and the charity is now in the fourth year of a five-year lottery grant which supports the day farming. Children’s services come through contracts with the local authority and fund-raising also plays its part. Earlier this year, the charity’s services manager, Chris Moore and a team including Joe walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall, raising £500 in the process. And a trail race in May, which started and finished at Allenheads attracted more than 100 entrants and raised £1,000.
“We are really grateful for the support we have had,” said Annie. “The parish council has given us grants. The local community – local churches – are supporting what we do. It makes a massive difference to know that people around us are supporting us.
“For Joe it’s transformed his life. When he first came to live here he was quite diffident and shy. Now he’s a lot more confident and independent. He can take the bus on his own from Allenheads to the end of the line which I never thought he was able to do. The staff support him at home with household chores.
“The day farming has been absolutely fantastic for him. He is much fitter than he was and much happier. He has just changed. He is himself again. He lost a lot of confidence when he was away and he’s got all that back and more. It is wonderful to see that ordinary life happening because he has been able to access school and the community and Hexham. It is just lovely to see him living an ordinary life.”
Emma’s views echo those of Annie: “We are really glad we went to that fair on that day. It has changed our lives. It has given us hope and I can tell you that this time last year it was not there.
“And it has given me something to do and also… I just love it. Seeing the transformation it is making to these children’s lives… it is so special.”
She was a popular visitor to her half-sister Molly’s home at Wallington Hall, Cambo, but she was also a contemporary of Winston Churchill and Lawrence of Arabia. With a Hollywood blockbuster about the life of the maverick adventurer Gertrude Bell released this year, we delve into the archive of a woman who founded the Iraq Museum in 1923
TO her nieces and nephews at Wallington she was simply Aunt Gertrude who would entertain her young relatives with fascinating desert tales that could have leapt straight from the pages of The Arabian Nights.
When they were children she would arrange picnic parties for them and her niece, Lady Pauline Trevelyan remembered her standing “with her back to the fire smoking a Turkish cigarette in a long holder, and discoursing on… people past and present, history, letters, art and architecture, her travels, archaeology, our family and how devoted she was to all at home, above all to her father.”
Thanks to David Lean and Lawrence of Arabia most people know all about the part played by T.E. Lawrence in the fight for Arab self-determination in what is now the Middle East.
However, the role played by Gertrude Bell, so crucial to the establishment of Iraq following the First World War, has historically been glossed over. As Helen Berry, professor of British history at Newcastle University, observes: “She’s missing from that film. David Lean wrote her out of history.”
Hopefully though, a new Hollywood blockbuster by director Wernor Herzog will restore this remarkable woman’s place in our heritage. Starring Nicole Kidman as Gertrude and Damian Lewis as the acknowledged love of her life, Dick Doughty-Wylie, it was premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, though as yet no general distribution date has been given.
Gertrude was born in 1868 at Washington New Hall, her grandfather’s home, into the sixth richest family in England. Sadly her mother, Mary, died of pneumonia when Gertrude was three and she was brought up by her stepmother, Florence, whom her father, the Middlesbrough iron master, Sir Hugh Bell, married when his daughter was eight.
The couple went on to have more children of their own, including Molly, who in 1904 married Charles Trevelyan, the man who placed Wallington into the guardianship of the National Trust, and Elsa, later Lady Richmond, who donated the Gertrude Bell archive to Newcastle University in 1926 following her sister’s death at the age of 58.
It was an amazing gift which comprises more than 7,000 photographs, mostly of the archaeological sites Gertrude visited on her seven journeys around Arabia. Indeed Damian Lewis visited the university last year in order to read the love letters between Gertrude and Doughty-Wylie in preparation for his film role.
Professor Berry and Dr Mark Jackson, lecturer in archaeology and manager of the Gertrude Bell photographic archive are busily putting together an exhibition to be mounted at the Great North Museum in January 2016 that will tell her story.
Professor Berry said: “She spoke six foreign languages fluently and was the first woman to get a first in history at Oxford, but she wasn’t allowed to graduate because women weren’t allowed to be awarded degrees.”
Her taste for travel began in 1888 when her parents, eager to dispel what Florence termed, her ‘Oxfordy manner’ suggested she go to Bucharest, one of the smartest capitals of Europe.
She spent several months in Bucharest and then visited Tehran. Her travels continued with two round the world trips in 1897-1898 and in 1902-3.
Gertrude could easily have settled for a cosseted life as an heiress, but she was a courageous adventurer intent on making her mark. She mastered archaeology, cartography and mountaineering, becoming the most prominent female climber of her time. She scaled the Matterhorn in 1904 and even has an Alpine peak named after her – Gertrudspitze in the Bernese Oberland.
But it was the deserts of Arabia that drew her and between 1905 and 1914 she embarked upon several ambitious, archaeological expeditions to the Middle East travelling to Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
She documented her 1905 expedition through the Syrian desert to Asia Minor in The Desert and the Sown, whilst her 1907 study of Binbirkilise in Turkey was published, with Sir William Ramsay, as the Thousand and One Churches. Her meticulous diaries, along with the photographs she took throughout her travels, form the core of the Newcastle University archive.
Dr Jackson said: “It’s the archaeological content of the photographs and what she writes about them in her books that’s really important because much of that is lost for many of the sites. No one has been back to do such work in such detail since and, even if they were to do that, they would not be able to record the same things she recorded.”
Gertrude became a fluent Arabic speaker and learned the etiquette of desert life – particularly how to deal with the different sheikhs she met from the many and varied nomadic tribes.
Professor Berry said: “She realised she needed to surround herself with a queenly entourage so she could pass safely through quite dangerous areas. She had a train of camels; she knew to bear gifts; she had a show of arms and weaponry and she got around the fact that she was a woman by demonstrating her power in a way that the local people could understand. They understood the idiom of the queen and she would always go straight to the most powerful local person.”
Dr Jackson added: “The first thing you do is you find the person in charge and as long as you have drunk tea with that person then everything else falls into place. She knew how it worked and played that system. She was conforming to their understanding.”
It was Doughty-Wylie, a war hero in the Welch Fusiliers, whom she met and fell in love with at the age of 38, and who called Gertrude his ‘queen of the desert’.
But their love affair was doomed. Doughty-Wylie had already been married three years before meeting Gertrude, the year she scaled the Matterhorn and, although they obviously loved each other passionately, this was the early 20th century and the relationship was never consummated. Doughty-Wylie was to die at Gallipoli in 1915 and was awarded the VC.
Gertrude’s first-hand knowledge of the Middle East had made her a target of British intelligence recruitment during the First World War and she worked with T.E. Lawrence and others in the Arab Bureau in Cairo, as Major Miss Bell, the first woman officer in the history of British military intelligence.
When in 1921 the British government held a conference at Cairo to decide the political future of the region, Gertrude was the only woman amongst 40 delegates, including Winston Churchill and T.E. Lawrence.
She became a king maker when her preferred choice Faisal (son of Hussain Ibn Ali, the Sharif of Mecca and King of the Hejaz) was crowned king of the new state of Iraq.
But Gertrude’s first love remained archaeology and as Honorary Director of Antiquities in Iraq, she established the Iraq Museum in Baghdad where a bronze plaque was dedicated to her after her death a couple of days before her 58th birthday in Baghdad in 1926. She died from ‘dial poisoning’ – diallylbarbituric acid, used then as a sedative but discontinued because of its widespread use in suicide attempts.
Professor Berry said: “There’s some suggestion that she took her own life, but we just don’t know. I think people don’t adapt well to peace time. She had had an extraordinary life and had been involved in the cut and thrust. I would not be surprised if she took her own life. It might have been, in her mind, the rational thing to do.”
Dr Jackson is ambivalent
“She was in the midst of working on the museum collection when she died. Fifty years after her death, Agatha Christie’s husband published a piece in the Journal of Iraq where he talks about her last months and she has clearly been working very hard and is clearly quite tired and engrossed in this enormous task so in some ways it seems surprising that she stops in the midst of that but as Helen says, enormous tasks can become too much.”
Professor Berry believes Gertrude’s absence from mainstream history may be to do with her politics. Gertrude was the secretary of the Northern branch of the Anti Suffrage League just as Emily Pankhurst’s followers were becoming very radical.
“There was a distaste amongst the establishment that women were behaving very badly and inappropriately. It had moved into hunger strikes and so on so I think Gertrude’s response was very much of her class. She identified very strongly with people in authority who worried that this was going to lead to a breakdown in society. It was more important (for Gertrude) to maintain stability in the Empire and women should stick to their correct role, although she regarded herself as completely exceptional to that.”
Professor Berry added: “I think later generations have stereotyped her as this rather mannish, masculine, strident person. I don’t think she fits that description at all. She was not this two dimensional, harridan – that’s not true. She was a three dimensional passionate woman who had friendships and emotions.”
A slice or two of cake
The WI has a reputation for home baking that is second to none. So, in celebration of the organisation’s centenary, we asked some of our local WI bakers to share a favourite recipe with Tynedale Life readers
AWARD-winning baker Joan Goodfellow has a little help when it comes to her cooking – courtesy of the 12,000 free-range hens on her farm.
“I always have plenty of eggs although I usually have the cracked ones,” laughs Joan, who belongs to the Great Whittington and Matfen WI.
Joan is a star baker who’s collected many rosettes over the years. “My mother-in-law, Agnes Goodfellow, was a great baker and I picked up tips from her,” says Joan, who lives at Lynup Hill Farm, Ingoe with husband Philip, son, Jonathan, his wife, Susan and grand-daughter, Elizabeth, 16 months.
Philip and Joan also have two daughters, Deborah and Allison and another four granddaughters, Rebecca, Emily and Lucy.
“In the school holidays they all put their orders in. Lucy and Eleanor like chocolate cake, Emily likes my lemon cake and Rebecca likes cheese scones – they keep me busy.”
JOAN’S CHOCOLATE CAKE
5oz (150g) self raising flour sieved together with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5oz (150g) caster sugar
5oz (150g) soft margarine
1 tablespoon cocoa powder mixed with small amount of boiling water
2 large eggs
Butter Icing for Middle and Top:
4oz (110g) butter or margarine
8oz (225g) sieved icing sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
Whisk flour, caster sugar, soft margarine and eggs together in a bowl, whisk in cocoa mixture until silky smooth. Put into a seven inch cake tin and bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) for approximately 40 minutes.
Cream butter, add icing sugar and cocoa and cream together. Add one tablespoon boiling water if it is too stiff.
HEXHAMSHIRE WI member, Margaret Iliffe, is a dab hand at tray bakes but then she gets a lot of practice.
She has nine grandchildren, one of whom – Grace Courtney – is a fund-raiser for the British Blind Sport Society, a charity to help visually impaired children access activities. Grace, who is visually impaired herself, is a member of the triathlon training group, One Life.
“She fund-raises by having a cake stand at Tynedale Swimming Club and One Life, and I have made tray bakes and cakes for this stall,” says Margaret.
Margaret has a confession though – she has borrowed this sinful squares traybake from WI friend, Mary Christer. “Mary made it for one of our WI suppers from The WI Cookbook – the first 100 Years and it went down a storm so I thought I’d make it for this year’s Hexhamshire Leek Club Show,” said Margaret who is show secretary.
MARGARET’S SINFUL SQUARES
2oz (50g) plain chocolate
4oz (100g) butter
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
8oz (225g) granulated sugar
2oz(50g) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 oz (40g) mixed nuts and raisins
2oz(50g) desiccated coconut
Topping: 2 Mars bars, 2oz (50g) butter; 1 tablespoon golden syrup; 2oz (50g) icing sugar, sifted
Oven gas mark 4 or 350F/180C
Melt chocolate with butter over gentle heat. Remove from heat and beat in eggs gradually. Beat in vanilla essence and stir in sugar. Mix flour, baking powder, salt , fruit and nuts. Add to chocolate and beat with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture into tin (lined with foil and oiled). Bake for 50-60mins. Leave to cool before turning out.
Chop Mars bar and cook over gentle heat with butter and syrup. When thick and foggy beat in icing sugar. Pour over the cold cake. Mark surface with fork and leave to set.
Sheila Proudlock has been a member of Bellingham WI for fifty years and was one of the lucky WI members to attend a special Buckingham Palace garden party in June to celebrate the centenary.
One woman from each group in the country travelled down to London for the historic occasion.
“We put the names in a hat and mine was drawn out,” Sheila says. “It was a fantastic day.”
Sheila is a well-known face in Tynedale as she used to be a part-time registrar based in Bellingham and travelled around the district conducting weddings. She also worked for Northumbrian Water as a business administrator though she always found time for baking.
“I always cooked a lot at home and I’ve always taken part in local shows and entered cakes into WI competitions,” Sheila says.
Aside from winning prizes, she’s also taught her daughters, Katherine and Sarah and son, John, about cookery. And her grandchildren, Emma, 12, Matthew, 13, Miya, 11 Katie, seven and Annabelle, five also enjoy teatime at grandma’s.
SHEILA’S WALNUT AND APPLE TEABREAD
1 large apple; 50g (2oz) chopped walnuts; 100g (4oz) soft brown sugar; 100g (4oz) soft margarine; 100g (4oz) raisins or sultanas; 2 large eggs; 1 tablespoon honey; 150g (6oz) self-raising flour; 50g (2oz) wholemeal flour; 1 teaspoon mixed spice.
This is an all in one mix and makes two 500g (1lb) loaves or one 1kg (2lb) loaf.
Grease and line the tins with greased, greaseproof paper. Peel, core and chop the apple. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and blend together. Beat well for two minutes.
Bake for one hour at 180C (350F, gas mark 4), then reduce heat for a further 15 minutes. Turn out to cool on a rack. Serve sliced and buttered.