December 18, 2014 | Brenkley News
“Tenants and visitors at a unique rural retail centre in South East Northumberland are sharing the festive spirit this month as the new Christmas lights of the Milkhope centre have been switched on.
The Milkhope Centre, between Seaton Burn and Ponteland, just off the A1, held its first ever Christmas fair on the afternoon of Thursday 4 December 2014, to help showcase everything that its tenants have to offer to local Christmas shoppers.
Children from Stannington First School sang a selection of carols around the Christmas tree before the Centre’s new Christmas lights were officially switched on by Viscount Ridley on Thursday 4 December.
The new lights for Christmas 2014 are being supported by The Blagdon Estate and regional employer Banks Mining through the community fund linked to its nearby Brenkley Lane surface mine site.
Other attractions on the day included a free wine tasting at The Blagdon Gallery, mulled wine at kitchenware outlet La Cookshop and Christmas gift ideas in every store.
Originally opened in 1986 as an artisan workshop centre housed in an array of converted farm buildings, The Milkhope Centre has grown to become a popular retail outlet, and is currently home to ten lifestyle-focused stores.
Keith Crowther, who runs La Cookshop, says: “This was the first time that all the Milkhope retail tenants have come together to put on a Christmas event.
“There have been quite a number of improvements to the Centre in the last couple of years, as well as new stores opening, and our Christmas fair showed everyone in the area exactly what’s available on their doorsteps.
“The support we’ve had from The Blagdon Estate and from Banks Mining has made a big difference to how the Centre looks and feels right through the festive season.”
Bob Downer, chief executive at The Blagdon Estate, adds: “Blagdon Estate is delighted to be able to support our tenants at the Milkhope Centre. The Centre was converted from redundant farm buildings and opened in 1986. Some of the original tenants are still trading at Milkhope, and over the years, many improvements have been made by both the estate and the tenants to make the centre so popular with visitors.
“The opening event was a brilliant collaboration between the tenants and local community, and we hope it delighted both old friends of Milkhope and attracted new visitors.”
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, says: “The Milkhope Centre brings a lot of visitors to the local area, and supports a growing range of high quality retailers, so we were very pleased to have had the chance to support our neighbours.”