Happy days are here again!

IT’S a good time to be in north Northumberland just now.

We may have been through a bit of a rough patch, with the recession biting hard, a spate of shops closing and businesses going to the wall, but at last we have something to smile about.

The recent announcements of the Olympic torch stopping at Alnwick as part of its tour of the country next year and Bondgate Within winning Google’s Best Shopping Street in Britain competition have given us all a spring in our step.

We have the Duchess of Northumberland’s drive, vision and generosity to thank for the Queen’s visit next week.

Her idea of throwing a garden party for the county’s dedicated carers and volunteers and extending the invitation to Her Majesty has truly delivered.

We now wait with increasing excitement for the Royal Train to arrive at Alnmouth station on Wednesday morning.

It has been more than a century since the town welcomed King Edward VII in 1908, the last monarch to visit Alnwick, so this is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime event and we need to cherish every moment. Our children will undoubtedly be relating the day the Queen came to town to their grandchildren in years to come.

Let the whole of Northumberland rejoice next Wednesday and hope that this is just the beginning of a resurgence of fortune for our region.