ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT by Tom Guest

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Bookends: Sedgefield Book Festival

Sedgefield’s first Book Festival ended in fine style on Saturday October 14th with ‘Writers, Words and Wit’, a tasty dinner interspersed with literary allusions, witticisms and a fiendish picture quiz. Originally intended as a fringe event in support of Durham Book Festival, this celebration of writing, reading, music and food grew, until the events on offer spanned over two weeks. Local performers brought an impressive range of talents to the opening concert, celebrating Nobel laureates - songwriter Bob Dylan and Irish poet, Seamus Heaney.

Peter Barron, former editor of the Northern Echo, entranced a hall full of Year 6 pupils from both primary schools with tales of his life in journalism. His Monstrous Morals stories, designed to encourage children to give up unpleasant habits, also went down a treat. Colleague Chris Lloyd of Echo memories scored a hit with the adults, giving a fascinating talk on local connections and influences that led to the creation of the Alice books by vicar’s son Lewis Carroll.

Acclaimed local writers Wendy Robertson and Avril Joy presented inspirational workshops based on their own publications, while Sedgefield Library invited horror writer Rachael Dixon of Easington to share her experiences of self-publishing. National Bookshop Day on Saturday October 7th gave more local writers a chance to promote their work at a Book Sale and Signing. Most events, including a beautiful concert by Sedgefield’s very own Lirica, were held in Ceddesfeld Hall, home of Sedgefield Community Association (SCA). The Manor House also hosted an evening with singer and guitarist Keith James, celebrating the music and writing of Leonard Cohen. Co-organiser with Sarah Guest of SCA, Norma Neal said, ‘We are immensely grateful to all those writers, performers and community members who gave so willingly of their time and talents to help make this first ever Sedgefield Book Festival such a success. Perhaps not Book Ends, just a beginning.’

Norma Neal

Duke of Edinburgh Success

Being a parent must be the hardest and most stressful job in the world, but some days your children make you feel so proud, it makes it all more than worth it. Thursday 12th October 2017 was such a red letter day for us.

Our elder son, Jack Tinkler, life long resident of Sedgefield and former student at Hardwick Primary, Sedgefield Community College and Darlington College, is currently in his second year at university in London studying computing. At the age of 14, he joined the 1407 Newton Aycliffe Squadron as an air cadet working his way up to the rank of flight sergeant. In that time, Jack successfully completed his bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh awards. Created in 1956 by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT, the awards encourage young people aged 14 to 25 to develop new skills, push themselves physically and help other people whilst building new friendship and memories. To complete his gold award, Jack acted as the cadet NCO helping new and younger cadets in the squadron, completed aeronautical studies, as well as running to meet the physical element. He also included a number of expeditions including a four day hike in the Cheviots.

The culmination of the Duke of Edinburgh award journey is the presentation of the gold certificate and badge at St James' Palace and this is where, at 3 o'clock last Thursday, we assembled with other proud families to watch Jack and his fellow recipients receive their awards. HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, addressed the audience extending his congratulations to everyone before the certificates were presented by the special VIP guest, Ted Atkins who is a former RAF engineer, explorer, adventurer, mountaineer and inventor. This was an amazing experience, both for Jack and for us, and definitely one of the proudest moments we have had as parents. Jack's entire family and all his friends would like to extend their congratulations and tell him how delighted we are at his achievement.

Joanne and Andrew Tinkler