Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, July 3, 2014)

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The Northumberland Gazette delves into the archives to remind readers of stories from the past.

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, July 1, 2004

Smiling crowds flooded into town this week to enjoy the fun and laughter of the 35th Alnwick Fair. Visitors found a boisterous Market Place filled with people in historical costume, a variety of entertainers and bright stalls. Fair chairman Mabel Forsyth was thrilled the event had got off to such a good start. “It’s gone great this week. There’s been a good crowd here and I’m very happy with it.” This year’s Fair Queen was Gemma Short, a former Fair Princess, who was crowned on the Opening Sunday and was escorted by Fair Princess, Summer Belisle. The highlight for many visitors to the fair is the Militia’s ducking of guilty wenches, which takes place regularly throughout the week. The unlucky girls are tried by the Militia in the fair’s Pied Powder courts and summarily ducked in front of cheering crowds.

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, June 29, 1989

Amble residents have pledged action to try to bring a potentially life-saving swimming pool to the town. The move comes after a meeting on Monday night in St Mark’s United Reformed Church, during which nearly 40 anxious parents and residents decided to draw up a 5,000-name petition. The idea is to take advantage of the proposed development of the Braid by getting potential developers to include such a leisure facility in their plans. Many locals believe a new pool could be a potential life-saver, enabling youngsters in the large coastal town to learn to swim without having to travel long distances elsewhere. The Braid Development Joint Committee is a venture between Northumberland Estates and the county and district councils, with district council chief Albert Davidson acting as chairman.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, July 3, 1964

Twice this month someone has loosened the moorings of fishing boats in Beadnell Harbour in an attempt to let them drift out to sea – and now angry fishermen are wondering if the culprit has a spite against them. On Sunday night, four boats were set adrift, but they were spotted by fisherman William Dixon before they got out of the harbour. The incident happened after Beadnell Sailing Club’s open day – when policemen controlling traffic had gone off-duty. Mr Bill Douglas, harbour-master and leader of the Beadnell fishermen, said on Monday: “Three cobles and one salmon boat were set adrift. There were six ropes on every boat and each one was loosened. If the wind had been to the south, they would have been blown out of the harbour and we might have lost them. These boats are worth £4,000 each.