A village’s story that spans 10,000 years

Avril Meakin with the published book and one of the old collections of parish magazines.
Avril Meakin with the published book and one of the old collections of parish magazines.
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A compilation of stories taking in 10,000 years of history in a north Northumberland village has been published this month.

Howick – Tales from a Northumbrian Village collects together parish magazine articles on everything from people to places, flora to fauna and seasons 
to celebrations.

And together they tell the tale of ‘a remarkable place where a great political movement was nurtured and large-scale rural retailing was pioneered. A place where world-famous prehistoric remains have been discovered and where native wildlife flourishes alongside a large collection of exotic plants and trees’.

The 174-page book is the work of editor Avril Meakin 
and compiler Helen Page, and came about as part of a fund-raising push.

When Avril was churchwarden at Howick she initiated a campaign to raise money for a church heating system, and by this year the fund was only £3,000 short of its £37,000 target. Since Avril had been writing Howick stories for the local parish magazine, and since the magazine has a very skilled compiler in Helen Page, an idea was born for the final push.

“I discovered that Victorian parish magazines had been gathered together in Howick Annuals during the 1880s and that they’d been kept by some families and passed on down the generations,” said Avril.

“Howick is such an interesting place, with some fascinating stories, so we thought we’d gather them all together and make something new that people would want to buy and keep for a century or so!”

The people of the parish have given interviews and made contributions of articles and photographs. It took about eight months to put together, but Avril said it was one of the most rewarding things she’s ever done.

Grants for the printing 
were given by the county council’s Community Chest, the AONB, and Longhoughton 
Parish Council.

And Mrs Meakin emphasised that the book is of interest to people beyond Howick. “The stories go from 8,000 BC to the Jubilee celebrations in June.”

The book is available from the Aln Gift Shop in Alnmouth, Howick Garden Kiosk, Longhoughton Post Office, Lesbury Post Office, Embleton Village Shop and Robsons of Craster.

Alternatively a copy can be obtained from Mrs Meakin for £10 plus £3 p&p on 01665 577597 and avrilmeakin@netscape.net