The puffin festival has been inspired by the colony of some 20,000 puffins that nest on the RSPB seabird sanctuary of Coquet Island, just a mile off Amble.Coquet Island has been an RSPB nature reserve since 1970 and is also the sole UK nesting colony of roseate terns. Less than 90 pairs nest on Coquet Island and use special boxes constructed by the RSPB staff to create their nests and rear their chicks. The island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and therefore protected all year round, to safeguard the fragile habitat and to avoid disturbing the nesting birds. Consequently Coquet Island is a true sanctuary for nesting birds and landing on the island is not allowed.
The 2016 Festival will be held on 20 May – 5 June 2016 for more details visit: www.amblepuffinfest.co.ukHIGH SCHOOL PRIZE For a number of years since the 1980s, the ‘Mayor’s Pin’ was awarded to a High School student; however when the supply was running out, a small crystal sculpture inscribed with the town crest was designed as a replacement. This year more prizes were needed and the Council have again agreed to purchase a similar award. Each year this is awarded for ‘Sporting Excellence throughout the school year.’ ANNUAL BEST GARDEN AND BEST ALLOTMENT AWARDS In early July Councillors walk around their wards to shortlist any particularly attractive gardens which give passersby a lot of pleasure. Townspeople are also invited to submit entries but are reminded that the garden must be able to be seen without entering the premises. These are then looked at in mid July by an independent judge- currently from Alnwick Gardens Horticultural staff. Certificates of merit and prizes are awarded in each ward. The best garden is chosen by the judge from the 3 first prize winners. Also in July, all accessible allotments are visited and judged for a best allotment award. A presentation ceremony is held later in July where the Mayor hands out the certificates and prizes and everyone enjoys a chat over refreshments. This means there is still plenty of time for anyone to go and see the magnificent displays that have taken many hours of pleasurable hard work to achieve. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS Throughout the country, whether there are Christmas lights in a town or village can often be the responsibility of the local Council. Many areas choose not to have any due to the expense involved. For many years Amble Urban District Council and then Amble Town Council paid for the Christmas display in the town with Mrs Campbell Smith organising them during the 1980s. By 1990 the lights were in such a poor state that there was no display; in January 1991 after a public meeting decided that the town wanted Christmas lighting, Amble Christmas Lights Committee was formed. The committee is made up of volunteers who strive to raise funds to replace bulbs and displays as well as prepare them for storage, test them throughout the year and put them up again. The Town Council assisted with some financial support and this is still the case today where currently approximately £700 is set aside in the budget to pay the energy costs or to renew displays as the committee deem necessary. For a small town, we have a beautiful display thanks to the hard work of this dedicated group of people who provide a magnificent sight for young and old alike to enjoy. They are always eager to welcome new members to help them especially in checking the bulbs throughout the year as well as putting the displays up and taking them down. Please support them in their efforts. In mid November, do come and join the children as they parade with their handmade lanterns and see the lights switched on as they pass down Queen Street to the Town Square. FLOWER BEDS Our small town has many of these throughout it but lots are within the housing estates and therefore are managed by Homes for Northumberland. There are a few rose beds but the main floral beds are at the North and South entrances to the town, Acklington Road, Broomhill Street, Dilston Terrace and Phillip Drive. Within Northumberland County Council financial cuts, annual bedding will cease and instead some perennials will be used. We are currently discussing exactly what plants and maintenance N.C.C. will be doing and investigating other ways of producing a welcoming display in these areas including wild flowers. ‘AMBLE IN BLOOM’ This small voluntary group, set up as part of ‘Pride in Amble’, do sterling work throughout the town, under Councillor Weir’s guidance. Amble Town Council, some businesses and individuals have contributed funds to enable plants to be purchased and these are evident in the hanging baskets on Queen Street over the summer months and the tubs and ‘fish’ flower bed at the South entrance to the town. Businesses have also taken on the regular watering needed to keep the baskets flourishing for all our enjoyment. It is hoped that contributions will continue annually or that businesses/individuals will either sponsor or take responsibility for an area so we can continue to go from strength to strength, maybe even enter national competitions in the not too distant future . The volunteers have spent many hours in the Town Square. The Amble and Radcliffe War Memorials were originally in the Memorial Gardens, once owned by Amble Urban District then Alnwick District Councils, but this area was incorporated when the square was developed in a joint partnership scheme and the whole area is now under the responsibility of Amble Development Trust although the Council still own the Memorials and the Flagpole. It is very hard work trying to bring new order to some of the overgrown areas and they really could use some ‘strong arm’ help- not to mention some ‘digging power.’ The majority of the group are over 60 years of age with a few 8 years and under, so there’s lots of room for some able bodied help even if you can only give a couple of hours now and again. Just contact Councillor Weir for details. If we want our town to be an attractive place for us all to enjoy on our walks round, then we must all try to lend a hand- or foot- instead of saying ‘they’ll do it’ with no thought to who ‘they’ are, or that actually you are one of ‘they.’