BOWING OUT: Mark Carter and wife Belinda (third right) with the new group of Barnard Castle and Teesdale Social Afternoon organisers Mary Lambert, Pam Ashmore, Barbara Gill, Anne Bell, Janet Cockburn and, rear, Gillian Harle
BOWING OUT: Mark Carter and wife Belinda (third right) with the new group of Barnard Castle and Teesdale Social Afternoon organisers Mary Lambert, Pam Ashmore, Barbara Gill, Anne Bell, Janet Cockburn and, rear, Gillian Harle

THE founders of a monthly social afternoon that has become part of the dale’s fabric have stepped down.

But the good news is the show will go on after a group of those who attend the popular events stepped forward to keep them going.

The Barnard Castle and Teesdale Social Afternoon was launched more than four years ago by professional entertainer Mark Carter, with the help of his wife Belinda and mother Christine.

Mr Carter told a packed audience at the December get-together that a combination of work and family commitments meant they were no longer able to carry on organising the afternoon.

Mr Carter bowed out by presenting cheques for £100 to Barnard Castle charity The Clique, the TCR Hub, Barnard Castle Juniors FC, Barnard Castle Rugby Club and Barnard Castle Cricket Club.

The money had been raised during activities at the social afternoon.

Mr Carter said it had been “an absolute pleasure” to witness the social afternoon go from strength to strength.

The get-togethers began life at The Hub before switching to the cricket club. During the cricket club’s refurbishment, a temporary home was found in the DLI Club.

“I remember our very first event at The Hub like yesterday as not one person turned up. Then slowly, but surely, the numbers began growing,” said Mr Carter.

“The Hub – and thanks to Keith Jones and his staff – gave us a platform to build on and a venue. I can’t thank them enough for all their help.”

Blenkiron

After several months, it was decided a more central venue would make it easier for people to get to.

“Barnard Castle Cricket Club agreed to let us hire the room and so it began. Numbers started to increase to 35 on a regular basis,” added Mr Carter.

“With professional entertainment from across the North East and a buffet prepared by my wife and mother, word was getting around.

“The cricket club then underwent a major refurbishment, leaving us with no venue, but thanks to Jean and Eddie, from the DLI Club, they let us hire their room.

“When we returned to the cricket club, we had an amazing brand new venue and the numbers started growing again. It was fantastic to see and I had achieved what I set out to do in bringing people together.”

Mr Carter said he couldn’t have staged the social afternoons without the help of his wife and mother.

“The background work they do has been superb and I cannot thank them enough.”

He also thanked those who had stood in and helped out when needed.

Among those who have taken on organising the social afternoons are Pam Ashmore, Mary Lambert, Barbara Gill, Anne Bell, Janet Cockburn and Gillian Harle and it will return, as usual, later this month at the cricket club.