Allendale - 'Happy Memories and Great Days'
In about 1973 an 'interdenominational' group of dedicated visionary young people, many from Tyneside Youth for Christ (Elim Church), based in Newcastle upon Tyne rented the disused and empty fairly large 'lower floor-part' of Sinderhope Chapel, Sinderhope, Allendale for a peppercorn rent of £1O per year, from the Allendale Methodist circuit. The Hostel faced across the valley looking onto Northumberland County Council Outdoor Education Centre. The TYFC young people and supporters raised voluntary funds and begged and borrowed to help create a lovely youth hostel named, 'Sinderhope Pioneer Christian Youth Hostel'. They furnished it with 16 bunk beds (bought via auction from RAF, Leeming in Yorkshire), and later raised funds to install propane gas in the hostel, renovating the hostel. Many churches, youth groups, school and scout groups used the church hostel throughout the years. Numerous inner city Tyneside young people (some disadvantaged youngsters with limited knowledge and experience then of the countryside) enjoyed the experience of the beautiful Allendale (Sinderhope) countryside and took part in 'Allendale' river canoeing, grass skiing and pony trekking as well as countryside mystery treasure trails', barbeques and many countryside adventure games. Local people, including a Mr and Mrs Hewitson and John and Valarie Martin from Sinderhope Post Office (Bridgend) greatly supported the work. Many people, including myself, from all walks of life contributed with sheer hard voluntary work in the creation of this excellent Hostel which was then rented out at very basic affordable rates. A Mr and Mrs Gordon Johnson, Mr and Mrs Edward Stringer (then Burnhopefield), David and Dora Armstrong (Newcastle/Tyne), Derek Bateman (formally Newcastle City Police), Arthur Johnston and a George Simpson (Newcastle), all worked tiredlessly in the creation of the Hostel. It was to enable young people to enjoy the beautiful Allendale outdoor experience and nearby river (East) Allen which then boasted of a pair of lovely pair of otters which were sometimes seen near the 'Bridgend' river bridge. In the near locality of the youth hostel was the 'white' wooden bridge and lovely waterfall. The river could be fished for brown trout and reputed to have large eels near the waterfall. Some disused lead mines near Allenheads could be visited locally as well as access for canoeing at the Allenheads reservoir.
A memory shared byon May 7th, 2013.
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