On a sunny afternoon on Sunday 9th June roughly 130 people celebrated the formal opening of Tynedale Horticultural Service’s (THS) new offices in the Old Laundry at Minsteracres Retreat Centre.  This was the culmination of months of hard work to refurbish the Old Laundry building using funds provided by Northumberland County Council to create a modern facility in a traditional stone building.  Credit must go to Dawn and David Nicholson, the builders who were responsible for the sympathetic building works.

Speeches were given by Karen Hemming, the THS Assistant Manager, Clive Moon, Services Manager, Horticultural Units, Claire Morgan, Chair of Trustees for Minsteracres Retreat Centre and Veronica Jones, Councillor responsible for Adult Well Being and Health.  To provide a little light relief Karen had also organised an entertaining short play with the service users to demonstrate the journey they had taken to get to the Old Laundry from their former premises at Ridley Hall.  Quite a long journey it has to be said over 3 years!

Once the speeches were over, a beautiful wooden sign was unveiled as you can see in the photo.  The sign depicts 3 Giant Redwood cones, which is very fitting for Minsteracres.  Once this had been done everyone had an opportunity to tour the Old Laundry and the area where the glasshouses and poly-tunnel are located.  This was sufficient to work up a thirst for our delicious strawberry cream teas, which had been lovingly prepared by Margaret O’Brien as a parting gift to THS as she prepares for her well-earned retirement.

A lovely day was had by THS staff and service users, their friends and families, Northumberland County Council staff and the Community at Minsteracres.  We look forward to a fruitful partnership with THS and hope everyone will be happy and comfortable in their new ‘home.’