Following a very successful Christmas Late Night Shopping in Haltwhistle, Northumberland, it was decided to repeat this for Easter on Maundy Thursday, when all the local shops stayed open until 8pm.
The Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership occupy the Old Booking Hall at Haltwhistle for their education offices and these were open as part of the late night activities.
Various local craftsmen and businesses who were just starting out were invited to use the space to set up a stall to promote their activities.
Seven new or small businesses set up a stall. Four of the businesses which came at Christmas returned to show their products.
Beeswax Products are based at Bardon Mill. As well as selling honey and beeswax they also adopted an ethical approach and were trying to cut down on the use of plastic. One of the unusual items on display was a sandwich box. Made from cotton and 100% beeswax from the local bees these were washable and reusable. Some amazing bee facts... It takes approximately 770 honeybees their entire lifetime to produce a pound of honey and they will have visited 2 million flowers and flown 55,000 miles. A fact to be remembered when next we spot a shelf of honey in the supermarket!!
The Elephant in the Room came from Bellingham. This was a very colourful craft stall, everything home made with lots of ideas for unusual gifts. The items on display were random stitch craft, knitted and stitch craft gifts and home accessories. The gift wrapped home-made dog biscuits proved to be a winner this year.
Pennine Gate Lotions and Creams are based at Halton le Gate. The owner is a former chemist and all the products were hand made using natural ingredients. It has now become a real kitchen industry. Sharing their stall was Let's Get Together, who use the old Booking Office weekly for Meditation drop ins, and also use the room for skills sharing days, when people come and show others how to do things. One planned theme is wool dying given by the TVCRP secretary, Julie Gibbon.
Stonehaugh Woodcraft were also very busy. The owners do wood turning in their spare time and produced a lot of nice products for this event. The hedgehogs proved to be the most popular item on the stall. The stall holders enjoyed the event, “Everyone was warm and friendly and the evening was well supported by the townspeople”.
Three new businesses also set up stalls. New to crafting is a brand new business, without a name at present based at Haltwhisle. Most evenings are spent producing original crocheted gifts and toys. When they signed up for the event they expected to be on a stall in the Main Street, open to the weather, but finding a home in the Booking Office was ideal.
Melting Aromas from Haltwhistle began last September. Working from home to produce their products, they use the craft fairs to get known and to market their products.
Sarah's Pretty Crafts is also based in Haltwhistle. Everything on the stall is home made. “It's been a hobby for years”.
Fiona Forsythe, TVCRP Officer, said “It was a great evening. We are pleased to be able support seven small local businesses, as well as talk to local people about our plans to renovate other buildings at the station”.
The Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership volunteers were kept very busy supplying tea and coffee to the stall holders and customers. The Partnership was very pleased to host this event which allowed seven small local rural businesses to showcase their work. The evening was very well supported and brought the Partnership to the attention of the local people. There was a warm buzz about the evening and several people were asking questions about the work of the Partnership and the plans to convert some of the disused offices on the platforms into craft workshops. Everyone seems very happy with this event which it is hoped will be repeated in future years.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership is a not for profit limited company.