Washington - Down Your Way

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A free MOT for bikes takes place on Wednesday, February 15, from 10am to 2pm at the Life House, Grasmere Terrace, Columbia. The ‘Bike Belles’ will give your bike a free health check, repair simple faults, give advice on maintenance and advice cycling in the Washington area. This is a drop-in session with no need to book.

If you have any questions or other cycling events, call 07467 337944 or email bike.belles@sustrans.org.uk Bike belles are also organising a range of fun, free and friendly woman only rides to include woman of all ages and riding experience and I will be highlighting these rides as they occur throughout the summer. Are you new to bike riding or keen to return to riding after sometime out? Then Bike Belles Beginner rides could be for you. This is a fantastic way to build your fitness, explore the local area and make new friends. The pace will be leisurely, mainly off-road, and less than a 10-mile round trip. The rides will take place on the first Sunday of the month, meet 8.30am to depart at 9am and return by noon. The rides leave from The Life House, Grasmere Terrace, Columbia. Booking is essential at www.bikebellebeginnersridewashington.eventbrite.co.uk For those who are more advanced, on Sunday, February 19, from 9am to 2pm, again from The Life House, there is a woman’s only ride designed to improve fitness and cycling skills . A leisurely pace will give you the opportunity to chat with other riders. The routes will be mainly off-road and will be less than 30 miles round trip. Booking is essential at www.bikebelleswashingtonride.eventbrite.co.uk

Washington Tidy’s next litter pick is at Barmston Village Centre on February 23, from 9.30am to 11.30am. All volunteers welcome.

Many residents and visitors were disappointed that due to council cuts the customary Christmas tree was not present in Washington Village. The Washington Village in Bloom Group, volunteers who keep the area decked out in flowers around the year, are considering purchasing a live tree that would be planted in the place the Christmas tree usually stands. This tree would be around 15ft tall with a 5ft spread. The cost to buy,install and dress the tree with lights and decorations, would be around £800. A small informal survey has shown that many people would be prepared to donate towards this cost. The group would like to hear from people who would be prepared to contribute in some way. Visit the Facebook page Washington Village in Bloom to learn more and leave a comment if you are able to help. This will allow the group to judge whether there is sufficient interest to take the project forward.

Washington Youth Theatre presents the Puppet Master on February 18 at 2pm. One little girl’s quest to find friendship. Seemingly abandoned by all, our heroine sets out to find new friends, even if she has to make them herself, literally. This features original music , dance , drama and two giant gnomes from the fabled land of Asdaaa. Tickets are pay what you decide, book your seat, then donate at the end of the performance what you thought it was worth.

School holidays coming next week, so here is a quick re-cap of what is going on for kids. Washington Wetlands, bring your wellies and join in the North East Puddle Jumping Championship from Saturday, February 18, to Sunday, February 26. Puddle jumping is from 2pm each day and crafts are from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. See Washington Wetland website for more info. At the Millennium Library in Washington on Monday between 2.30pm and 3.30pm, come along and make your very own Beauty and the Beast masks. Suitable for all ages, although children under eight must be accompanied by an adult. For further details call 0191 561 3888. At Washington town centre library on Tuesday between 2.15pm and 3.15pm, call along and make your own Dr Zeuss Hat. Again suitable for all ages. Call 0191 561 3500 for further details. Mavis Sparkle is the show to see at the Arts Centre on Saturday, February 24, with shows at 11am and 2pm. For children aged 4+ and families. Tickets are £6.50.The show includes magic, illusion animation and laughter and inspires everyone to reach out to achieve their dreams.