BRANCH Wansbeck
Stakeford and Bomarsund Welfare,
East View,
Northumberland, NE62 5UD
Contact: Phyllis McGraw (Secretary)

Meetings on 1st Wednesday in the month at 1.30 pm
(No meeting in August)

Non-members are always most welcome to attend the meetings and the coffee and chat afterwards


Meeting face to face at the above venue, usual time (Depending on Government Regulations)

Date Subject of Talk Speaker
1st June 2022 Queen’s Platinum Jubilee ‘Street’ Celebration
6th July 2022 ‘Pictas’ of Newbiggin–by–the–Sea
Society’s Membership System and Website
Michael Murphy
Kevin Johnson
3rd August 2022 No meeting but optional Newbiggin Guided Trail by Joan Rose
7th September 2022 Women’s Hostels Liz O’Donnell
5th October 2022 Northumbrian Dialect Kim Bibby Wilson
2nd November 2022 ‘The Argylls’ in Berlin – a Personal Story George Getty
7th December 2022 Xmas quiz


Reports of meetings

May 2022

26 people attended the meeting with 2 apologies.

The meeting was opened by the Chair who introduced the speaker Maureen Brooks. Maureen gave a talk entitled Hiring Fairs & Herring Girls. The talk provoked a deal of interest amongst members who related family experiences linked to the topic.


  • Phyllis McGraw gave a brief progress reported about the Jubilee meeting. The hall will be available on the morning of June 1st from 10 am – 11am to enable the team to prepare the room and displays. Members can bring food or memorabilia during this time
  • Lists were prepared for members to sign indicating which food they may feel able to bring for the buffet tea
  • Chair asked members to indicate any issues which should be included on a Health & Safety report
  • Chair has invited Kevin Johnson, NDFHS Membership Secretary, to our Branch meeting in July(after the speaker). Kevin will outline what NDFHS resources are available to members and how to access them. He will discuss membership and Journal issues
  • April 2022

    Meeting on the 6th April which was attended by 11 members attended with apologies from12 members which were mostly Covid related. The speaker Anthea Lang gave a lively talk about Funerary Rites entitled ‘From Here to Eternity’. This talk was well received by those present who now have a greater understanding of the symbolic carvings and sculptures in churchyards.

  • Members’ Business – Report by Chair about NDFHS branch attendance and proposed changes to 2 of the branches
  • The new venue was favourably received with people enjoying the refreshments and opportunity to chat after the meeting. 2 members of Stakeford & Bomarsund Welfare came forward to join NDFHS with the stated intention of attending future branch meetings.
  • Plans for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee are on track. It was agreed that the event would be members only for the first hour
  • March 2022

    13 members attended the meeting held on 1st March with 5 apologies.

    The meeting was opened by Michael Murphy who introduced the speaker, Joyce Jackman. Joyce gave an informative and interactive talk with a workshop activity relating to Estate Records.

    Phyllis McGraw introduced a data protection form for members to sign giving permission for the group to hold information to be used only in relation to NDFHS business. This information will be destroyed if a member leaves the group

  • Discussion took place regarding proposals for celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Phyllis McGraw, Linda Preston and Delyia Getty have volunteered to coordinate the event leading to a workshop session involving members’ memories, a display of artefacts and photography and a celebration tea.
    An email will be sent to all members by the secretary giving further details.
  • Discussion took place about changing the venue for meetings. It was a unanimous decision to move the venue to Bomarsund Welfare from April 6th
  • It was agreed that chocolates or biscuits be given to the staff at Pegswood Community Hub who have made the group so welcome.
  • February 2022

    The meeting held on February 2nd 2022 was attended by 25 people including several visitors. The meeting was opened at 1:30 by Chair Michael Murphy who introduced the speaker Barry Mead who gave an excellent illustrated talk, Bedlington Remembered.


    Members were told that Wendy Stafford, the recently resigned Chair, had been sent flowers and given life membership of NDFHS in recognition of her service to the society over many years. A collection was taken to be used to fund a further tribute
    Chair gave a resume of discussion which had taken place at a meeting of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. This included proposed future talks and events, review of meeting venue and social aspects of the group. Members were consulted but no final decisions have been made
    It was suggested lists of members interests and families being researched should be compiled
    NDFHS website is available for members to access

    January 2022

    Minutes of AGM Wansbeck branch NDFHS January 12th 2022 which was attended by 14 members.

    Matters arising:

    Wendy Stafford, the long standing Chair, resigned due to ill health. Tributes were paid to her and tokens of appreciation will be sent.
    Nominations taken for Chair, Secretary and Treasurer:

    Appointments made:

  • Chair – Michael Murphy
  • Secretary – Phyllis McGraw
  • Treasurer – Margaret Balme
    The roles of Chair and Trustee are to be combined. Discussion took place about the future of group ( detailed notes available). Monthly meeting fee to be increased to £ 2 to cover cost of hall and speakers’ fees. Statement of 2021 accounts presented and accepted
    2 new signatories to be Chair and Secretary . Treasurer and Raymond Ditchburn to continue as signatories

    December 2021

    Meeting Held on 1st December – 9 members in attendance.

    Numbers were down because of ill health and the weather. Nevertheless, we had a good meeting with a Musical Christmas Quiz followed by a discussion about childhood memories of Christmas. Some members brought along things saved from childhood and all had vivid memories of presents and customs. It was agreed that things are very different today.

    Last updated 11th May 2022