Looking back 10, 25, 50 years ago (published Gazette, Nov 7, 2013)

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

10 YEARS AGO – Thursday, November 6, 2003

RAF Boulmer could begin to be downsized in four years’ time, but the future of the rescue helicopters is expected to be secure until 2012, Ministry of Defence chiefs revealed this week. Strike Command officials said that it would be 2006 at the earliest before any functions or personnel are dispersed from the station, provided that plan gets the ministerial go-ahead. Wing Commander Andy Torrance, who is leading the Strike Command Study Team, said at a meeting in Alnwick on Tuesday that a decision concerning the North East’s only RAF base would not be made until early next year. He also said that the proposals were not a cost-cutting exercise. RAF Boulmer is one of four stations being looked at under a nationwide review of combat support units.

25 YEARS AGO – Thursday, November 3, 1988

One of the most colourful characters in politics, top author Jeffrey Archer, will be going up, up and away to help Hillcrest next week. Mr Archer, twice a self-made millionaire, will be on hand to write up the latest total on the Hillcrest thermometer outside Alnwick’s Northumberland Hall at 10.45pm on Tuesday. This means Mr Archer will have to climb up a fireman’s ladder as the Build Hillcrest Appeal is fast approaching the £100,000 target it hopes to reach by Christmas. Mr Archer will be in Alnwick at the invitation of the local Conservative Association, whose coffee morning in the Northumberland Hall, he will be attending from 10am until noon. His visit provides another opportunity to raise funds for the Hillcrest Appeal as he has agreed to donate the profits from books he will be selling on Tuesday.

50 YEARS AGO – Friday, November 8, 1963

As Alnwick’s traditional Hirings Fair draws near to the end of its first week’s stand in the Market Place, a call has gone out to the Urban Council asking it to: “Please put it somewhere else.” Twenty-five tradesfolk with business interests in and around the the centuries-old Market Place have petitioned the council, requesting it to ban the fair. Grounds given are that it is outdated; it attracts undesirables; it creates dirt and inconvenience; and it interferes with television reception. They say that now the Market Place has been converted into a car park it looks clean and tidy – and they want to keep it that way. The fair returned last weekend for a three-week stay – at a £100 rental – after being banned for two years by the council, because of traffic hazards caused by buses.