Vintage Rothbury, June 2014

This is the event that began the Happening Up North story.

Following a land slip that closed the main road into Rothbury, Kate became very concerned about reduced footfall in her village and its consequences for local businesses. She was inspired by local charity, the Stephen Carey Fund’s, determination to save lives by installing defibrillators in public places and as President of the newly created Rothbury WI, led the group in deciding to raise enough money to buy defibrillators for the lovelyy Northumbrian valley of Coquetdale.

Kate secured key corporate sponsorship from one of the North East’s iconic tea company, Ringtons and leading regional auctioneers Anderson & Garland in addition to a media partnership with the Northumberland Gazette to persuade 25 Rothbury businesses, 30 Coquetdale community organisations and more than 60 Northumbrian traders and exhibitors to get involved. Under her leadership and with a redoubtable group of WI members in creating a community event that was to spread across 15 village venues housing more than 20 activities.

Village cafes had to shut their doors to catch up on orders, the village bakery baked three times to be able to keep up with demand, pubs reported record sales of Sunday lunches, local shops had their best day’s trading in years and vintage market stall holders asked to rebook pitches straight away!

The fete raised enough money to buy the 10 public access the defibrillators that are now distributed throughout the length of Coquetdale making it the UK’s first Heartsafe valley.

Vintage Rothbury went on to win the prestigious Pride of Northumberland award for community group and activity and Kate began to be asked for help by other communities looking for an event to re-energise their brands so she created Happening up North to help.

“Vintage Rothbury was a most amazing Sunday. Quite cold but it didn’t stop the crowds of people coming to this fantastic event. Well done to everyone involved. I thoroughly enjoyed helping in the tea room and meeting lots of interesting people. Best event ever in Rothbury in the last 60 years!”

“Amazing day. Unbelievable. A real sense of community and honoured to be a small part of it. The tearoom was brilliant and the kitchen was hot. I have never seen or washed so many teacups, plates and saucers in an hour. Sure some Guinness records were unofficially broken on the day. A lovely atmosphere all over the village. A most memorable day all round.”

“So impressed with how you’ve got all the village working together. The shop windows were a delight to see. The stalls were excellent. I so enjoyed helping to sell the paintings – seeing people so pleased with their purchases – and watching the takings mount up.”

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