THE Duchess of Northumberland has paid tribute to the community for helping her to stage the massive party for carers and volunteers in Alnwick Garden last month, which was attended by the Queen.
As Lord Lieutenant of the county, the Duchess was responsible for hosting the Royal visitors during their time in the town on June 22, including their reception at the Garden, where they met some of the 8,000 guests invited for the day.
But she told the Gazette that the support of businesses and local organisations was crucial to what was a resounding success.
“Although it obviously cost us a little, the whole event was sponsored by local businesses who I hoped would want to give something back as a thank-you to carers and volunteers who’d supported their businesses over the years,” she said.
“Greggs immediately offered to sponsor all the food, which was a huge donation, and we couldn’t have done the event without their initial offer of help. Potts, the Cramlington printers, did all the printing, the commemorative bags, invitations, commemorative lapel pins and so on.
“The Alnwick Garden Volunteers spent the weekend before the event filling the goodie bags for carers and volunteers to take home, Ringtons provided tea and biscuits for commemorative bags and Fenwicks provided printed polo shirts for all the staff working on the day.
“Marquees were donated, all the musicians played for free, Northumbrian Water provided thousands of bottles of water for all guests and we succeeded in getting £12,000 sponsorship which covered costs of postage, portable toilets and the county council’s costs.
“This was really important to me because the county didn’t have the money to fund such an event in a year of cutbacks and although they provided the staff to man telephones in County Hall and do mail-shots, the event didn’t cost them anything.
“Andrew Farquharson, the household controller at Alnwick Castle, coordinated the event and dealt with the sponsors.”
She added: “It was an extraordinary example of great support by local businesses who wanted to give something back to the North East community.”
Those thanked for their part in the day’s celebrations were:
Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band, Backworth Colliery Band, Border Facilities, Brakes, Brian & Sons Removals & Storage, Buxton Natural Mineral Water, Carers Northumberland, Chromazone Imaging, Dandy Events, Doddington Dairy Ltd, Dreadnought Coaches, Duchess’s Community High School Band, ED & MA Redpath & Sons, Endurance Merchant Navy Volunteer Cadet Band Event, Revolution, Fenwick Ltd, Greggs plc, Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band Quintet and Fanfare Trumpeters, Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre, Historic Property Restoration Ltd, HMS Northumberland, J Barbour & Sons Ltd, Living North, Loaning Head Nursery, Lt Col David Summers & Captain Iain Moffat, Margaret Whittaker, Morrisons, Ralph Thompson, Nixon Hire, North Area Sea Cadet Corps Band, North East Radio Communications Ltd, Northern Area Sea Cadets, Northumberland County Council, Northumbria Army Cadet Force, Northumbria Police Force Headquarters, Northumbrian Ranters, Northumbrian Water Ltd, Otis Pickard Electrical Ltd, Ponteland Community Middle School African Drummers, Potts Prints (UK) Ltd, Ringtons, Royal Air Force Boulmer, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Band Quintet, Royal Signals (Northern) Band Quintet, SCA Hygiene Products UK Ltd, Sea Cadet Corps, Simply Flowers, St Cloud State University, Sunshine Panners Steel Band, Taylor Thompson, TDC Waste Management, The Band and Bugles of Durham Army Cadet Force, Waitrose Ltd, Wansbeck Centre for Voluntary Service, Yamaha Music Europe, Z (Fusilier) Company, 102 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Volunteers) Pipes & Drums, 2344 (Long Benton) Squadron, Air Training Corps Band.