Newcastle and Gateshead will be putting on their running shoes and will be in good voice to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the famous song the Blaydon Races next month.
Before the anniversary of the Geordie anthem on Saturday, 9 June there will be a number of events taking place on both sides of the Tyne to get you moving to mark this special chapter of North East heritage.
Newcastle’s event will start with an exhibition at Newcastle City Library - Celebrating Balmbras Music Hall. Opening on Friday, 8 June at 11am the exhibition will feature items from famous venue which continues to act as the starting point to the annual road race.
But the main celebrations will start on the day of the road race on Saturday, 9 June with a musical celebration of the song at the Monument from 1pm.
International opera star, North East born Graeme Danby will be performing a new version of the song, written by Pete Scott. This 2012 song is based on the lyrics suggested by BBC Radio Newcastle listeners and Graeme will be supported by local musicians and community singers at 2pm.
BBC Radio Newcastle’s Ingrid Hagemann will also be broadcasting live from the event during the afternoon.
As well as a mass singing of the song at 4.45pm there will be other famous North Eastern songs performed at the event which has been created by the Sage Gateshead.
Children from both sides of the river have been studying the song and the people and places which feature in the music which was written by Geordie Ridley. They will also be coming together to perform at the Blaydon Bash at the City Hall on Tuesday, 12 June at 7pm.
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle, said: “The Blaydon Races is one of the world’s most recognisable songs and continues to be an inspiration to people 150 years after it was originally written. It evokes the unique atmosphere of the region and its people and conveys a sense of pride, passion and Geordie humour. This celebration will not only give us a chance to appreciate the work of Geordie Ridley and will preserve its legacy for future generations.”
Other events taking place to mark the anniversary include a special service of celebration at the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas on the day of the road race at 1pm, which will see the blessing of the runners by the Assistant Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Frank White before and after the race. Celebrations will also including the ringing of the bells as the race gets underway.
There will also be guided walks led by the City Guides which will highlight the places which are featured in the song.
The City Library will be hosting an illustrated talk on the history of the Blaydon Races song by local historian Chris Goulding also on Saturday, 9 June At 1pm. This is a free event.
To celebrate the anniversary Tyne Bridge Publishing, in partnership with the Northumbria Anthology, will launch their new book ‘Gannin' to Blaydon Races: the Life and Times of George Ridley’ by Dave Harker on Friday, 8 June at 2.30pm.
Along with 'Gannin' to Blaydon Races', the Northumbria Anthology will be launching a CD of George Ridley's songs, and a DVD which includes unseen colour footage of the 1962 Centenary Races.
For more information about all these events and those taking place in Gateshead go to www.twmuseums.org.uk/blaydonraces. And for events at Newcastle City Library phone 0191 277 4100.
To learn more about the Blaydon Races go to www.blaydonraces150.co.uk.
Page last updated: 8 June, 2012