Christmas message: The Duke of Northumberland

The Duke of Northumberland officially opened the exhibition on Monday.
The Duke of Northumberland officially opened the exhibition on Monday.

After what seems like an eternity of economic austerity and recession, it has been good to see the first signs of recovery appearing in the local economy, as well as for the country as a whole.

With dualling of the A1 now firmly on the political agenda, things are looking increasingly promising for businesses in our northerly corner of the region.

Schools have long been at the heart of Alnwick town and it is great to see the building work progressing on the new high school at last. It has taken a lot of hard work by many people over many years to bring this project about, and I congratulate the whole team on their efforts and perseverance.

At the Castle, visitor numbers improved this season as the sun shone. Two new exhibitions paid tribute to the fallen as the nation marked the 100 year anniversary of the start of the First World War.

As well as the Fusiliers’ commemorations, the Castle’s own exhibition concentrated on all those who lived and worked on the Estate during the war years, with a new Role of Honour produced to mark their sacrifice.

In the middle of an extremely busy tourist season, the cast and crew of Downton arrived. With reports of well-known faces coming in from all around the Alnwick area, the secret was soon out – and the fake snow didn’t help.

Like many families we will be sitting down to watch the Christmas episode, but with the added entertainment this year of looking out for familiar places and indeed faces, some hidden behind huge moustaches and sideburns!

And on that note, I would like to wish all of your readers a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.