• A bit from me...
  • Crossman Hall
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Early migrants add to the island's Spring scene
  • HM Coastguard Holy Island
  • All aboard to learn about coastal buses
  • Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership
  • From the Open Gate
  • News from Ford & Etal
  • From our United Reformed Church minister
  • From the Vicarage
  • Parish Diary
  • St Cuthbert's Centre Diary
  • Pause for thought

Photo: Nick Lewis (Lindisfarne Castle)

A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear *|MMERGE3|* ,

Welcome to Spring and our April issue of 'SitEzine' - our stay in touch newsletter.

As a first for 'SitEzine' we start with a message from a subscriber whose topical letter highlights something that is at the top of all our residents 'worry list':

Dear Editor

We have just come back from a week's holiday, as usual we had a wonderful time came back nicely relaxed, we saw the Deer again got some more photo's when I down load them shall send you some, was really nice to see they were still on the Island.

The only thing that put a downer was the fact we heard about the council wanting to build on the coach park and over flow car park, we did sign the petition but was surprised that there was no posters any where on the Island and also surrounding towns, with the thousand of people who come on the Island they need to see where they can sign the petition and not just in the pub, it will make it more accessible for all.

Have you heard of were you can put a petition out there for every one to see, it has such an historical and archaeological interests everyone will want to sign, please do not let it be spoilt, if the rumours are true and they want to build a Premier Inn and we all know what comes with them, all the village shops will not be able to compete so might end up with them all closing and the heart of the village ripped out.

With all best wishes
David & Angela Pescod
+ Bud (Border Collie) even our Budgie loved his stay

Christian heritage and natural history make Holy Island a place of uniqueness. Known throughout the world countless numbers of pilgrims and visitors are welcomed to our shores each year - focused on the 7th century monastic site now occupied by our Parish Church.

The way it was: Throughout the 20th century Holy Island was represented locally on the Berwick Borough Council.

The way it is: In more recent times local control passed to Northumberland County Council and the huge area of north northumberland, of which our tiny community is only part, is represented by a single 'County Councillor'. At one NCC meeting held on the island their tourism officer referred to our island as a 'honey pot'.

Clearly Holy Island residents and island culture are no longer consulted nor recognised.

At a stroke, NCC notified that they have decided to sell part of our central car park. This is an area which is currently adjacent to our only public disabled toilets and reserved for the use of visiting disabled drivers.

At a residents meeting, called by Holy Island 'Parochial Church Council', it was agreed to enhance our protest with a formal online petition.

Protect Holy Island; stop the sale of land for development

UK-Citizens : to learn more and add your name to our petition please visit: " UK Protest".

NON-UK-Citizens : to learn more and add your name to our petition please visit: " NON-UK Closed".


Now I return to to the more usual form of our newsletter and hope that you enjoy this picture taken from the Heugh...

Photo: Paul Armstrong (The Ship Inn - Holy Island)

The vantage position of Paul's recent drone-picture reflects the dry spell the Island is going through. In fact, as I write, this is yet another clear blue day with the Sun hot enough to carry out yet another lawn-cutting session in shirtsleeves!

With barely two weeks to go before Easter, visitor-numbers are already building. Even on weekdays there can be 4 or 5 coaches in the 'coach park' and 30 or 40 cars in the 'main car park'. It has a feel of becoming a really very busy year. If you are visiting us over the coming or any holiday period I suggest that, to avoid a full car park, you get here as early as the tide table allows. 'Blue-Badge' drivers are able to drive further into the village and use our disabled car park where public toilets are close at hand.

For those contemplating parking outside the village, do bear in mind that this narrow, scenic road was built for the use of only 160 residents with builder's trucks, delivery vans etc. using the road daily. In the coming months, it will become very busy indeed when it is shared by over half-a-million other road users. And the congestion from our single-lane causeway bridge is something to behold. Please be a caring and patient road user...

Even after over 20 years, personal excitement mounts as I contemplate the Easter-arrival of the Northern Cross pilgrims. Look forward to their arrival across the Pilgrims Way on Good Friday and the attendant, flower-bedecked crosses paraded in our Parish Church filled to bursting point on Easter Sunday.

So far as the newsletter is concerned we have a fairly full bag for you: in particular Kate's 'Pause for Thought', is about Mothers day and includes a recipe (another first for the newsletter) for simnel cake! Rev Paul includes pictures regarding necessary church renovations; Rev Rachel with a favourite story from the bible; Nick has the latest status on Lindisfarne Castle, David includes happenings with the new village hall (including kitchen progress!); Ryan who reports on our coast guard matters; Elspeth with details of the nearby 'Ford & Etal' Easter programme; Kevin summarising a recent visitor-session at the Open Gate; and always a personal favourite for me is Ian's birding report. From the surrounding areas: Iain from NCC's 'AONB' includes an invitation to anyone working in tourism and hospitality to come along for a free ride on the Arriva MAX service from Alnwick to Belford and on the trip learn all about public transport in the area; David includes his monthly input from the 'PLLP'.

And as I round off this editorial, I can report that Rev Canon David Adam has just phoned. He is appalled at NCC's proposal to sell off this land and has voiced his emphatic support to our petition. He will be encouraging his friends to join the petition and write directly to Northumberland County Council. In the first instance, resident Lesley Andrews (Campaign Creator)  suggests the following points of contact:


Friends of the 'Holy Island of Lindisfarne' this is our hour of need. Never before have we needed your support more.

We look forward to staying in touch again in May and hopefully with better news.

With Kind Regards,

Geoff Porter
Editor (SitEzine)


Windsor Cottage, 3 Lewin's Lane, Holy Island,
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland TD15 2SB
Clerk: John A Bevan   Tel: (01289) 389359   Email:




At the Parish Council Meeting on Monday March 20th a proposal to hold a referendum on the question of introducing restrictions on the type of new residential housing that can be built on the Island was passed unanimously by the Parish Council with the support of 100% of the residents attending the meeting.

Northumberland County Council has been advised of this and the referendum, will take place at a date to be advised.




It has been a good month. The Contractor has begun working on the kitchen and it will be up and running by Easter.

Talking of Easter, the Trustees will hold a Coffee Morning on Monday 17 April for the Hall funds. Please come along and enjoy the gossip and sticky buns. After a quick clean up the hall will feature a concert by 'Pipes & Fiddles' playing music from the Borders from 3 o'clock until 4:30ish.

The keen eyed amongst you, when you next visit the Hall, will note that a new colourful painting is located in sitting area on the north side.

The painting, as yet untitled, is by Jenny Moffat, fine art graduate turned specialist teacher. The painting has an in-built mystery that allows my mind to wander through the past into the eighth century. By then the Viking trader/raiders had explored the Baltic and passed through the Great Russian Rivers to the Black Sea and on to Constantinople.

Having passed through rich Byzantium and Islamic territories on their journeys to and from home to the Black Sea and always looking to add value to their cargo albeit trading slaves or high value goods I'm sure, when they saw the finely illustrated manuscripts, Icons and decorated buildings in the Eastern Mediterranean and Russia. The secrets and value of the opulent colours used in their production may well have appealed to the Viking for their own use and to be traded. So they probably collected a scholar or two to take the skills back North.

During the same time period the flamboyant use of colour and the skill shown in the production of manuscripts and images travelled from Byzantium across Europe often being used on Christian manuscripts. As exampled by the Lindisfarne Gospels produced here on Holy Island.

Look carefully at Jenny's fine painting and I am sure you will note the influence of the Gospels and hints of Viking art all brought together in a celebration of the Island past.

More good news that we were unable to announce earlier, our Hall has been short-listed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in their competition; Northern England, Community Building of the year.

The Judges visited the Hall and spent more than an hour on site. Now we must wait until late April when the winner will be announced. Fingers crossed.

The low point of the month; we are still waiting for our Legal Advisor to conclude an easement to cross land and install a drain from the hall to the main sewer!

David -


Having made it through November, December and January without losing a day to the weather, the onset of Storm Doris in February kept the scaffolders from scaffolding for six whole days, which is the first real set back we have had since the work started. I'm told though that this shouldn't affect the 'critical path' too much, as other jobs can be progressed further elsewhere while the scaffolding catches up - pending no more 'Dorises' that is. In a few weeks' time the eastern building will have a temporary roof erected over the top in order to allow lead work to be repaired and in some areas the roof structure to be altered. This is to change the way rainwater is removed from the roof space, which at present places to much pressure on one single downpipe. The weather will play a part with this job as the roof can only be covered if the wind stays below 15mph, which as you can imagine is a bit of long shot. The working levels of the scaffold will also be wrapped to allow for a better environment for lime pointing, but that too is reliant on a few calm days in a row.

One other slight delay was caused by the 300kg hoist on the south scaffold being put out of action for a couple of weeks. This is mainly used for getting heavy bags of sand and lime into the Castle, and heavy bags of waste out. During the strong winds, the cable controlling the hoist became entangled in the mechanism, and of course this happened half-way up the 100ft scaffold, making maintenance tricky. The required new part for the cable was ordered in from Germany and engineers were able to repair the hoist, but time was lost to this damage.

Conservator John and I had our first peek at the furniture left in the Castle at the start of the works to check everything was ok. The pieces - two huge dressers, a settle, a table and a shelving unit - were all packed inside plywood or hardboard boxes, some on wheels to allow mobility where required. Creating such micro-climates can lead to mould growth and, potentially, pest problems later in the year so checking is something we will be doing regularly. This time all was well with only the inevitable layer of dust to be found. Some of my volunteers might just mutter something about 'no change there then'!

Finds of interest have been few and far between in this project so far, although I did tell you about the George VI coin a few months ago and the old drain in the Dining Room last month. Recently though during paint stripping work we did start to see designs appearing on the Kitchen and East Bedroom walls. Initially they were fairly irregular and on a small scale (in the Kitchen) but more investigations in the East Bedroom have found them to be regular and potentially widespread. We are getting some specialist advice on the designs and are trying to stay calm about the whole thing, but actually this is potentially very exciting and significant. Hopefully I can update you further in the near future.

A date for your diaries; on Thursday 6th April at 6.30pm we are having an emergency exercise with the Fire Service to see how their plan for tackling a blaze at the Castle would work, and where it falls short. Please don't worry if you hear sirens or see blue lights. There shouldn't be any impact on water pressure, but if there is it should be minimal and very temporary.

Best wishes

Lindisfarne Castle
@NTLindisfarne // 01289 389903 (press 1, then 1903)


Spring really is in the air. The proof is all around us with myriads of daffodils brightening up the village, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Dunnocks, Wrens and Robins in full song, Lapwings tumbling over the fields and the wonderfully cheerful sound of Skylarks.

As far as birding is concerned, I don't consider that spring has truly arrived until I see the first early migrants. So my season didn't really get started until March 20 when the island's first Wheatear was in Sandham Bay and our first members of the warbler family, Chiffchaffs, appeared in the village and in the trees at the Lough.

Both of these species were around a week earlier than usual, a reflection of the generally mild conditions we've enjoyed through March after a similarly gentle winter. I hope in saying that I'm not tempting fate to punish us with some April shocks.

Chiffchaffs and Wheatears are usually the first spring migrants on the island, way ahead of Swallows, House Martins, Whitethroats and other common species which most people generally regard as the harbingers of spring.

Chiffchaffs in their colours of olive green and the palest yellow mainly winter around the Mediterranean and so are comparatively medium-distance migrants. They don't breed on the island although a few years ago I did see one taking nesting materials into a nettle bed at the side of the Straight Lonnen. I checked the spot repeatedly but there was no evidence of breeding having occurred. Most of the Chiffchaffs we get during March and April are probably bound for breeding areas further north in Scotland and across the North Sea in Scandinavia.

Wheatears are always one of the smartest spring migrants. Their plumage is a mixture of grey, black, white and warm buff. One of their most striking features are white rumps which flash as they flit along field walls or among the rocks on the Heugh or along the shore.

That white rump gave them their old rather risqué name of "white arse." It wasn't until the early Victorian era with the sensitivities which marked the era, that the name was considered a bit too naughty. The term Wheatear then came into play.

They have occasionally bred on the island and in a couple of seasons I've found newly-fledged young at the Quarry and among the tumble of rocky outcrops between the Castle and lime kilns. Wheatears conceal their nests in holes in the ground or in rock crevices so it's likely that these young had come from local nests.

However, the vast majority are merely passing through the area for nesting areas further northwards. In a few weeks time when our Wheatears are already nesting, we'll get another run of birds which are larger and more robust. They need to be because these Wheatears are destined for breeding grounds in Iceland, Greenland and even arctic Canada and face gruelling North Atlantic crossings.

A newly arrived spring Wheatear. Picture: Tim Dean

Since the last Ice Age they have evolved to continually venture further westwards from Europe to nest. Despite that, like our own Wheatears, they return to ancestral wintering areas in Africa, a 16,000-mile round trip, double the distance covered by our British birds. Weighing only one ounce, they have the distinction of being the only songbirds regularly to cross the Atlantic. The super abundance of Arctic insects obviously makes that epic and highly risky journey worthwhile.

Other early signs of migration from around March 20 included small band of Goldcrests busily feeding their way along the bushes in the Straight Lonnen and a big north westerly movement of Meadow Pipits across the island.

Many of our Meadow Pipits winter in the Low Countries and migrate back to Britain during March and April to take up breeding sites, mainly in the uplands. However, on the island we do have a substantial breeding population, thanks to the abundance of rough pastureland and dunes.

The other day I was on the Heugh sheltering on the east side of the watchtower from a strong westerly wind which was whipping up white horses across the flooded flats. Despite the conditions, small groups of pipits were coming in from the south east, flitting low over the water and trying to keep out of the worst of the wind.

It was very obvious that most of them on reaching the island quickly dropped into cover for a well-eared rest after what must have been a really tough North Sea crossing. But migrating small birds are tough characters and after a brief stopover most of them rose again into the wind and battled on north westwards.


First responders launched on Holy Island

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has been working with islanders and partner agencies on Holy Island in Northumberland to recruit, train and deploy a team of first responders.

Co-responders and Community First Responders (CFRs) volunteer to help North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) by responding to life threatening emergencies within their local community prior to the arrival of an ambulance.

Working closely with the HM Coastguard, the parish council and local residents, NEAS has now provided training for six co-responders to deal with first aid emergencies on the island.

Responders are often everyday members of the general public who are trained by NEAS in basic first aid and life support. They are provided with oxygen and a defibrillator and are deployed by NEAS to life threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, breathing difficulties, cardiac arrest, and unconsciousness, if they are the nearest resource, followed by the next nearest emergency care crew.

They exist in cities, towns and villages where it may be a challenge for the emergency ambulance to arrive within the crucial first few minutes. Their aim is to provide immediate care to a patient where every second counts; a patient who suffers a cardiac arrest stands a much better chance of survival if someone with a defibrillator can attend the patient in the first minutes of collapse.

Alex Mason, NEAS Community Development Officer, said: "Holy Island is an island cut off from the main land twice a day by the tide, with a population of around 160 permanent residents with hundreds of thousands of visitors. In the event of any incidents on the island, we already work closely with the HM Coastguard to agree the best option for access to and from the island be that land, sea or air. However, having responders on the island will provide even more support to patients and our crews."

The HM Coastguards are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are on call at all times, some also have other working commitments such as Kyle Luke, Coastguard Rescue Officer, who owns the popular 'Crown and Anchor' pub on the island and Emma Rothera, Coastguard Rescue Officer who is also a landscape photographer and writer.

Whilst CFR training was on going, HM Coastguard officers attended two emergency incidents on the island.

Kyle says, "We have seen this weekend just how difficult it can be to get access to the island during an emergency. Having CFRs who are able to deal with situations when the emergency services can't get to the patient easily is massively beneficial to us."

Now trained, the new team have been issued with standard equipment including an automated defibrillator, oxygen, suction unit and simple airways adjuncts. They are also issued with a range of medical consumables, such as dressings.

Alex continues: "When HM Coastguard staff are on station, they will log on to show that they are available and in the event of an ambulance being unable to access Holy Island or to get immediate care to the casualty, the Co-Responders can be paged by the HM Coastguard Operation's room and communicate directly with us."

The Island community already have access to a Community Public Access Defibrillator (CPAD), with a number of residents who are trained in its use.

A spokesperson from Holy Island Parish Council explains, "We are delighted by the completion of this training. Since the removal of the Boulmer Air Sea Rescue we have been in regular dialogue with NEAS and the HM Coastguard to ensure that the Emergency Services can reach the island quickly at high tide and in bad weather. Having resources based on the island with a number of islanders trained in their use is really important. This is greatly welcomed and our thanks go to HM Coastguard, NEAS and in particular to the volunteers themselves."

In 2016, there was 26,341 life threatening or potentially life threatening incidents in the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area. Of those, 1,477 were responded to by community first responders from schemes in Berwick, Belford, Wooler and Seahouses. This further development in Holy Island is part of county and region wide recruitment for responders to boost resources across the North East.

As well as the CFR schemes, there are also more than 75 community public access defibrillators (CPAD) across Northumberland, with hundreds of members of the community trained by NEAS to undertake basic first aid.

Alex adds: "A responder's role may be to simply provide vital reassurance to patients and their families but in extreme cases such as a cardiac arrest, they will be able to perform CPR and use a defibrillator to deliver a shock to the person's heart that

will make an enormous difference their patient's chance of survival and the quality of their life in recovery."

Helicopter Training

On Sunday 19th of March the Holy Island Team completed training at Berwick with our S-92 HM Coastguard Helicopter out of Prestwick.

Both our helicopters out of Prestwick and Humberside have attended the Island during March to assist with medical evacuations.

Ryan Douglas

The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership have teamed up with Arriva North East to offer people working in tourism a free bus journey with a difference next month.

Anyone working in tourism and hospitality is encouraged to come along for a free ride on the Arriva MAX service along the Northumberland coast from Alnwick to Belford. On the trip, people will be able to learn all about public transport in the area so that they can confidently tell their customers how to travel around this summer.

Staff from Arriva and the AONB Partnership will be on-hand throughout the trip providing information about routes, tickets, discounts and the Arriva App. They will be joined by award-winning B&B owner Jeff Sutheran from Seahouses who will be explaining how a good knowledge of local transport can be beneficial to business.

Chris Curtis, commercial manager at Arriva North-East said "Using the bus is a great way to explore the Northumberland coast. Giving people working on the front line in the tourism industry the knowledge to confidently give travel advice to visitors is the aim of the day.

"Arriva North East has listened to feedback and is reducing the cost of some short journeys along the Coast. The summer timetable is also being extended to offer an hourly service along the Coast between Alnwick and Belford from the beginning of May until the end of September"

The North Northumberland Tourism Association (NNTA) will also be unveiling new journey planners on the trip which will be available for people to take away. Jeff Sutheran, Chair of the NNTA said "Surveys have shown that providing easy to follow journey-planning information is a great way of encouraging people to take a car-free day or explore somewhere new.

"There will be a journey planner for each of the major towns and villages in the north of the County and will be available free-of-charge to accommodation businesses and to download from websites. The planners have been funded by a grant from the AONB Sustainable Development Fund."

Anyone working in tourism or hospitality is invited to join the MAX X18 Coast and Castles service that departs Alnwick Bus Station at 12:02 on Wednesday 26 April. The bus then stops at Longhoughton, Craster, Beadnell, Seahouses and Bamburgh and people can join at any point along the route. Arriva will be providing a light lunch at Sunnyhills Farm Shop at Belford before catching the bus back down the coast, arriving into Alnwick at 16.00.

To reserve a place contact Amy Walker at Arriva North East by email at or by telephone on 0191 5204231.


Immersive Northumbrian Landscapes - your chance to get involved

Northumberland residents and workers are invited to join coastal walks and workshops this spring with talented artists.

The project will be based on and around the stunning whin sill outcrops at Budle Bay and Holy Island. In collaboration with artists and geological and archaeological experts, groups will record their physical or emotional responses to the landscape using different art techniques. The walks will be followed by workshops to help create artwork with the professional guidance of local artists Lindsay Duncanson and Graham Patterson.

Graham says: 'I know and love the whin sill outcrops and I've worked here over the years. I'm really looking forward to this project. It's a fresh approach to work with newly trained arts producers in North Northumberland.'

Four volunteers were trained as arts project managers in the Make Art Happen Project last year. Make Art Happen is a collaboration between Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership and Helix Arts. Heritage Lottery Fund, Northumberland County Council and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation have supported this work. The training enabled volunteers to design and manage their own arts programmes, and the four trainees are now co-producing Immersive Northumbrian Landscapes.

David from Peregrini says: 'Working with Helix has been a fantastic experience and the quality of work the trainees are producing highlights just how important the wider Make Art Happen Project is. This exciting landscape based project will allow participants to experience a wonderful habitat and be creative at the same time and give them the chance to exhibit their work in June.'

To book a place email David Suggett at


Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people. [Anan Cara by John O'Donohue]

We have just completed the first of this year's retreats Discovering Divine Intimacy - Christian Mindfulness and contemplation led by David Cole. It was an opportunity for people to reflect and discover more about themselves, the True Self, as the ancient mystics called it and their relationship with God. An opportunity to find some silence and stillness in a busy world.

Part of the programme was to spend 24 hours in silence; silence from speech, mobile phones and social media. So, ten people began a silence beginning at noon and finishing the following day; but this was more than just not speaking. The prolonged silence gave them the opportunity to concentrate and listen to the voice inside, a voice that can so often go unnoticed in our busy lives.

For most of the attendees this was the first time they had experienced any long period of silence and despite much apprehension many found it to be a sublime experience and gave them an opportunity to listen without interruption; and how difficult that can be. With our best intention, we can plan for some quiet time and can sometimes snatch a few solitary moments but we live in a noisy world.

Noise becomes a habit; music in shops, social media and mobile phones that herald every message, tweet or email. Each one becomes a distraction, our train of thoughts can become lost or our work interrupted. But at a much deeper level how much more distraction does it cause to that inner voice, crying out to be heard against a background of noise and interruption.

Being silent or being in a state of silence makes you realise that without any man-made noise our world is still far from silent. Being silent, or being in that state of silence re-awakens you to the sound of the natural world, natures sounds so far and removed from the man-made noise that threaten to deafen our very existence.

A study done by the University of Minnesota reveals that 'environments can increase or reduce our stress levels, which in turn impacts on our bodies'. The study goes on to say, 'What we see, hear or experience at any given moment can change not only our mood, but how our nervous, endocrine and immune systems are working.

We are blessed here on Holy Island with a whole cacophony of natural sounds; from birdsong to the very sound of the wind and the waves. Sounds that in spire, renew, heal and re-create our tired minds, souls and bodies.

In his book, The Inner Journey, David Cole writes, 'Silence is the stillness in which we hear the most'. I sat out this morning at around seven o'clock to have my coffee and listened. Silence, only broken by the sound of the occasional bird, but the more I listened the more I heard. Some sounds that had no explanations but it didn't seem to matter. As the sun warmed, so the garden came to life and I came to life. As I listened I became aware of the fragrance of the waking morning, I became aware of the world around me and I became aware of the voice inside me. You at peace it said, and listen.

While we contemplate creation, we should not merely run over it cursorily, and, so to speak, with a fleeting glance; but we should ponder it at length, turn it over in our minds seriously and faithfully, and recollect it repeatedly. [John Knox]

Kevin Downham
(Warden at the Open Gate)
Community of Aidan and Hilda

NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL Elspeth Gilliland

Easter at Ford & Etal

Easter Quiz for kids around Etal village on Easter Sunday & Monday - pick up quiz sheets from the Lavender Tearooms and return completed to win a Cream Egg.

Lavender Tearooms & Shop decorated in a Mad Hatter's theme, with staff in costume on Easter Sunday and Monday and Easter treats in the Tearoom.

Pop-up Market in Etal Village Hall, Easter Sunday 11am-3pm.

Etal Castle kids' quiz around the castle with chocolate treats for completed quizzes (admission charges apply).

Heatherslaw Light Railway Railway passengers' bunny hunt on Easter Sunday and Monday (admission charges apply). Mad Hatter's Tea Party display and ticket office decorated in Easter theme. Bric-a-brac table (Easter Monday) in aid of Air Ambulance. Enjoy a visit from the Easter Bunny on Easter Sunday, with chocolate treats for children.

Heatherslaw Cornmill, Gift Shop and Visitor Centre Mad Hatter theme and staff in costume, Easter Sunday and Monday; also Easter Quiz for kids around the site (outdoors ) with chocolate treats as prizes. Every Monday - Wednesday between 3rd and 19th April make and bake hot cross buns (admission charges apply; pre-booking required).

Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre Easter Farmers' Market, Easter Sunday 10am-4pm. Demonstrations over the weekend - visit for more information

Lady Waterford Hall Easter Egg crafts

The Estate House in Ford Easter Quiz for kids in the gardens, Easter Sunday and Monday - chocolate treats as prizes

For more information please visit


April sees the Western Christian church celebrating Easter, a time when we markthe life, death and resurrection of the Son of God.

One of my favourite stories in the Bible about Jesus, after his resurrection, tells of him meeting his friends on the seashore. They were fishermen and had been hard at work all night with little success. Jesus calls out to them to try throwing their nets on the other side of the boat, and suddenly they had such a huge catch that they could hardly haul it to shore. When they returned to dry land they had breakfast together.

I love the image of Jesus meeting us in the ordinary - when we are working - and the domestic image of a group of friends having a picnic breakfast together. There is something in that story about touching the divine at any time or in any company.

John's gospel records that, after breakfast, Jesus took Peter aside for a personal chat about the work that lay ahead of him. He told Peter three times 'Feed my sheep'. Peter and the other disciples went on to become founder members of the Christian Church and throughout its history taking care of others has been an important strand of its mission. Of course, there have been inspirational figures like Mother Theresa who embody this, but there are many millions more people who quietly try to follow Jesus' command to love our neighbours as ourselves.

It is a sad feature of our society today that so many people are in need of the services of food banks. The one based in Berwick does sterling work, and tries to provide food parcels that will keep a household going for three days. St Cuthbert's is a collection point for our local food bank. Donations of dried or tinned goods are welcome, as are toiletries and other small items. There will be a box in our porch, so it is easy to drop gifts off any time that the church is open - usually every day but Monday. This is one small way in which we can love our neighbours as ourselves.

Rev Rachel Poolman
St Cuthbert's Centre

FROM THE VICARAGE Revd Dr Paul Collins

Over the past months we have been working with our Architect, Chris Cotton, to put in place a project to replace the concrete mortar with lime mortar and conserve the masonry of the church building. The concrete mortar causes the erosion of the stonework - which is particularly obvious on the West Front. We also discovered that the chancel of St Mary's is looked after by the Church Commissioners. Something that seems to have been overlooked since 1970s. The Commissioners are undertaking to repair and conserve the masonry of the chancel and this restoration work is due to begin by the start of May this year. So look out for the scaffolding going up around the East end of the church.

The need to replace the concrete mortar elsewhere has led us to approach the Heritage Lottery Fund for a Grant for Places of Worship. HLF is now the main body which allocates public funding for churches. The scope of this project will include the Porch, the West Front and Bellcote, and the St Peter's Window. (The picture opposite shows the deterioration of masonry and mortar). In addition we will be renewing the interpretation inside St Mary's and of the whole site, so that we engage with our many visitors and pilgrims to tell them the story of Lindisfarne and St Mary's place within it. If we are successful in our bid to HLF we will also need to find match funding; and the work will be done in the Spring of 2019.

We hope as part of this project to gather a group of historians and archaeologists to assist us in establishing a current scholarly consensus of what we understand about the site of St Mary's and its relation to the Priory church. Recently the local archaeologist Peter Ryder is pursuing a digital photography project on the interior West wall of the chancel (see opposite). Peter believes that the interior chancel wall is Saxon work and may be more than a thousand years old; making it the oldest extant human structure on the island.

Over the next months and years we have the responsibility and privilege of conserving and sharing the heritage of this ancient and yet still working and living parish church.

Paul Collins
The Vicarage, Holy Island
Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2RX
Tel. 01289 389 216


Sunday 9th April
Palm Sunday
10.30 Palm Procession from Market Place
10.45 Parish Communion
5.30pm Evening Worship for Holy Week

Preacher for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day:
Rev'd Dr Neil Messer,
Professor of Christian Ethics in the University of Winchester

Maundy Thursday
8pm Eucharist of the Last Supper and Watch until Midnight

Good Friday
12 noon Meditation on the Passion of Christ
1pm Stations of the Cross
2pm The Liturgy of Good Friday

Holy Saturday
9.45pm Easter Vigil with Northern Cross Pilgrims

Easter Day
Prayers at Sunrise (6.43am) - meet on Heugh for 6.40am
8am Holy Communion
10.45am Parish Eucharist
5.30pm Evening Worship

[ headline performances ]

Friday 30th June
Garth Newel Piano Quartet

Saturday 1st July
November Club - followed by a Ceilidh

Sunday 2nd July
LoGuidice Dance

Saturday 8th
July Ryton Choral Society

Sunday 9th July
Tom Mitchell

Saturday 15th July
Christian Forshaw and Sanctuary

Sunday 16th July
Katherine Tickell: Superfolkus and Friends

PAUSE FOR THOUGHT Revd Canon Kate Tristram


Did you eat a simnel cake yesterday? For those in the same tradition as me, yesterday was the fourth Sunday in Lent, often called Mothering Sunday or mid-Lent Sunday, and it used to be the custom for young girls, who had gone away to be servants in big houses, to have a day off to visit their own families on mid-Lent Sunday. They made and took a simnel cake, partly as a gift of love for their mothers, and partly to show how well they had learned to cook. Sometimes the cakes were a bit hard. One mother is on record as using hers as a footstool, to put her feet up.

Even further back in time it was the custom for people who lived in distant parts of a parish, and who usually on Sundays worshipped at small out-lying chapels, to go to the mother church of the district on the fourth Sunday in Lent. Holy Island church here was the mother church. If we had lived in those days we would have seen the people from the near churches on the mainland crowding in here on this day.

Such practices were the origin of Mothering Sunday. Now it has broadened out to turn into Mothers' Day, and even more recently been matched with Fathers' Day.

It may be a good time to ask ourselves what we would pick out as the qualities of a good mother? I suggest three to begin with. First, that mothers want to give. They must, since small children can't do anything except receive. Secondly, mothers want to see results. They want their children to grow into the best possible. Thirdly, mothers want to let go. An independent person, capable to steering their own lives well, is the right result. But then, don't we find that these are usually what good fathers want as well?

And if anyone wants to make a simnel cake, here is an ancient recipe. 'The crust was made of flour, water and saffron; the filling of mixed plums, lemon peel and many good things; the edges pinked; the top criss-crossed; the whole boiled in a cloth, glazed with egg and finally baked.'

Happy cooking and eating! And happy Easter!