Picnickers will go loco over Jackie

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A SPECIAL guest has been lined up to make an appearance at the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic this week.

Over the years, many famous faces have been seen at the Ashington event, including politicians Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock, as well as union leader Arthur Scargill.

This year, it’s the turn of a famous name, rather than a famous face, to impress the crowds at Woodhorn Museum – the Jackie Milburn steam locomotive.

Built in 1939 for the Ashington Coal Company, the engine was formerly known as Ashington No 5, but was renamed Jackie Milburn in honour of the football legend.

Milburn, born in Ashington in 1924, worked at the town’s colliery before going on to play for England.

After its restoration, the locomotive was launched by Milburn’s son Jack at the Stephenson Railway Museum in North Shields in November.

Woodhorn director Keith Merrin said: “Many men and boys have a special affection for trains, and steam engines in particular.

“Although Jackie Milburn won’t actually be fired up, there will still be crowds gathered around this great piece of engineering history, reminiscing about days gone by.”

The picnic will also feature performances by Ashington Brass Band, folk group Beeswing and Hexham’s morris-dancing sides.

The Jackie Milburn locomotive will be at Woodhorn from today until Sunday.

Visit www.experiencewoodhorn.com for more details.