Region Spotlight: Wooden Spoon Northumberland

We took a look back at some of the brilliant projects Wooden Spoon Northumberland have been supporting and the great events they have been hosting to raise funds for them:

Boat trip to the Farne Islands

Last month 35 people attended Northumberland Wooden Spoon’s 2022 Boat Trip. Meeting at the Ocean Club, Seahouses for a bacon sandwich and bucks fizz, then down to Seahouses harbour to board the Golden Gate for a fantastic tour around the Farne Islands.

The boat then landed on Longstone Island where everyone had lunch in the lighthouse after climbing the steps to the top to see the magnificent view of the Northumberland coastline including Bamburgh and Lindisfarne castles. Huge thanks go to Ailsa and George Shiel, owners of the Golden Gate, for their very generous support of this trip which raised £1,000 – bookings for their boat can be made through their website.


Queen tribute band open air event

In June, the region organised an open air Queen tribute band event which raised over £5,500. The afternoon event, held at Alnwick Rugby Club, was attended by over 1,000 people. The music started with a great set from support band Dusty Train, followed by a star performance from Queen tribute band We Are Champion. Everyone had a great afternoon and rocked and danced away all afternoon to all the Queen top songs.


Driving force: Special school’s minibus gift from rugby charities

Together with the Stay Strong Stu foundation, Wooden Spoon Northumberland have provided a special school in Hexham with a new minibus.

Hexham Priory School is a special school in West Northumberland for youngsters aged from two to 19 with severe, profound and multiple learning disabilities.

The £35k mini bus was funded by Northumberland Wooden Spoon with support from the Stay Strong Stu foundation, set up in memory of Tynedale RFC player Stu Ridley, who died from an inoperable brain tumour in 2015. The mini bus will be used to take pupils to sporting activities and events and will also help older students develop their social and travel independence.

Head teacher Liz Davison and pupils at Hexham Priory School were handed the keys to their brand new mini bus by television presenter Dawn Thewlis, Francis Watson-Armstrong, president of Wooden Spoon Northumberland and owner of Bamburgh Castle and Celia Ridley, Stu Ridley’s mother.

Liz Davison said: “We are hugely grateful to the Wooden Spoon and the ‘Stay Strong Stu’ foundation for their generous donation of a brand new minibus for our school.  

“We aim to provide a rich and diverse curriculum for our pupils and having an additional minibus means we can offer so much more than school buildings alone can provide. We can go off-site for essential therapies and activities such as swimming and riding that enrich our curriculum and to help the students with their independence, with their work experience and their residentials. The minibus really is vital for the work we do. This very generous donation will further support that access and have a huge positive impact across the school.”

Francis Watson-Armstrong, president of Wooden Spoon Northumberland said: “It has been a humbling experience to meet these lovely young people and their teachers today and to see first-hand the difference Northumberland Wooden Spoon Society and the Stay Strong Stu Foundation is making in our community.


“The Wooden Spoon Society in Northumberland supports projects that make a positive impact on the lives of children and young people with disabilities or who face disadvantage. Every single penny we raise stays and goes directly to improving the lives of children here in Northumberland.

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated towards these causes that really are making a big difference to young people’s lives.

You can help Wooden Spoon support more projects like this by becoming a member. Find out more here.