Councillors ensure festival goes ahead

From left, Coun Keith Grimes, Jenny Tindale and Coun John Batey have been raising awareness of the Northumberland Live at Bedlington festival, which is being held in Gallagher Park on Saturday.
From left, Coun Keith Grimes, Jenny Tindale and Coun John Batey have been raising awareness of the Northumberland Live at Bedlington festival, which is being held in Gallagher Park on Saturday.

Parish councillors were determined to ensure that the third Northumberland Live at Bedlington festival would take place as scheduled on Saturday.

Matt Cardle, the 2010 X Factor winner, will headline the free event and the other performers will include Midnight Soul Sisters, Channy, Saint 7 and The Sleeze Sisters.

Despite the range of talent being put together for the festival, it was nearly cancelled when funding cuts forced East Bedlington Parish Council to re-evaluate the situation and look long and hard at funding streams.

But two council members, Coun John Batey and chairman Keith Grimes, each donated £5,000 of their own money to ensure that it would not be cancelled.

With the remainder being funded by East Bedlington Parish Council and a donation from neighbouring Choppington Parish Council to fund activities at the festival for young people, the planned event was secured for this year.

Coun Grimes said: ”There was a real danger that the festival would not happen this year.

“We are well aware of how much this free event means to our community and we believed as a parish council that they deserved to have it.”

East Bedlington Parish, which covers the festival venue in Gallagher Park, is in the top 10 per cent of the UK’s most deprived communities – a fact that influenced Coun Batey’s decision to fund part of the event personally.

He said: “The people here have very little and yet they will do anything for anyone, with nothing being expected in return. I believe that they deserve the chance of seeing a world-class act for free.

“This was an opportunity to give something back to our community and I’m sure that people in the area will remember Northumberland Live at Bedlington as a highlight of the year.”

The event will run from 11am to 9pm.

Deputy parish clerk Jenny Tindale said: “Next year, we will be looking at sponsorship opportunities and anyone who can help is urged to contact us – call 01670 828808 or email clerk@eastbedlingtonpc.org.uk”