The annual late night Christmas shopping evening at the Northumberland town of Haltwhistle, has a community rail partnership right at the heart of it. The Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (TVCRP) staff and volunteers are now regular participants of the event. The Education Centre for TVCRP is housed in the Old Booking Office at the Railway Station, and this is large enough to be put to good use for this community event.
This year, TVCRP has worked with local small businesses to set up stalls within the building. There was a good festive atmosphere and as dusk descends, the Christmas lights, gifted by ACoRP last year, were switched on and lit up the approach to the station from the main street. Along with the town’s wonderful display of Christmas lights, the festive atmosphere was enhanced with carol singing by the children of Haltwhistle Academy, the arrival of Santa Claus and the Hadrian Singers.
A variety of local businesses took up residence in the station’s old booking office, selling everything from jewellery to interior accessories. Julie Gibbon, TVCRP’s multi talented Company Secretary had produced handmade rugs and scarves made from local sheep fleece. Also on sale were some TVCRP railway themed cards and A3 signed prints of Haltwhistle Station, pre First World War, painted by Zig Zag’s very talented Phil Ambler.
Northern also helped sponsor the event by giving a prize of a free train ticket for the Haltwhistle Chamber of Trade’s Christmas Lights raffle. The money raised goes towards maintaining the lights, buying new ones and paying towards the running costs.