Houghton - Down Your Way

Geoffrey Pratt and Shirley Williams.
Geoffrey Pratt and Shirley Williams.
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The Sunderland branch of the British Polio Fellowship celebrated its 60th anniversary at the Rosedene Pub Restaurant in Sunderland.

It was supported by members from all over the North East and welcomed the attendance of the national chairman, Bryan Rowley. Local chairwoman Shirley Williams presided and was surprised by Geoff Pratt, immediate past president of Houghton Rotary Club, himself a polio sufferer in his younger days and now a volunteer with the Sunderland Group, who presented Shirley with a Paul Harris Fellowship on behalf of the Rotary Club for her outstanding work over the years will polio sufferers. A Paul Harris award is named after the American founder of the Rotary International Movement and is the highest award a club can give in recognising individual service to the community.

At St Michael and All Angels’ Parish Church work is about to start on the repair of the south isle roof of the historic building, which means the isle will be completely sealed off for about eight weeks. Some of the church life, activities, and services will be disrupted and the church, normally open for visitors from 11am-1pm on weekdays and Saturdays, will now be closed until the work is finished.

Sandra Atherton will provide the entertainment with Songs from the shows at Houghton Older People’s Enterprise in the Methodists Church hall at 1pm on Thursday.

Houghton and District Rambling Club will be walking around Rothbury on Sunday. Details of time and meeting place from leader Dennis Borley on 4920029 or secretary John Conder on 3856551.

The next meeting of Houghton and District Local History Group is in the community room of St Michael’s Kepier Hall at 6.45pm on Thursday, August 27, with the theme of Shared Family Histories. Admission is £2, which includes light refreshments.

The Sunderland Group of the Ramblers’ Association will be walking The Eggleston Circular, meeting in the village at 10.30am on Wednesday, August 26, with leaders Celia Donaldson. Ring 5265294 for further details. Please park carefully with consideration for local residents.

At the Rotary Club, secretary Ashley Burland gave another of his excellent talks with little known facts about historical figures from the region. His subject was South Shields born John Simpson Kirkpatrick, who joined the Australian forces during the First World War and became known as “Simpson – the man with the donkey” for his heroic work in rescuing and treating men wounded in the Gallipoli conflict in 1915, with his donkey carrying the troops to safety. He was eventually killed in a later conflict. He became a legend in Australia with statues and memorial plaques in his memory in various places in Australia. His statue is also in South Shields town centre although many people know little of the background to his honour.