Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Raising a Glass to a Man with a Passion for OuseburnValley

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Raising a Glass to a Man with a Passion for OuseburnValley

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HENDERSON HERITAGE

FOR many years, Eric Larkham gave up his time to promote his twin passions - the colourful past of Newcastle's Ouseburn Valley and its present-day character pubs.

Eric was one of the founders of the Ouseburn Trust, which set out to highlight and protect the valley's qualities, and he was also a chairman of the Tyneside and Northumberland branch of the Campaign for Real Ale.

He was also a key figure in persuading Newcastle City Council to restore and open a section of the 19th-Century Victoria Tunnel, which ends in the valley and now attracts 10,000 visitors a year.

Eric died a year ago, aged 67, and now a special plaque is to be placed in the heart of the valley to mark his devotion to the Ouseburn.

The thick wooden plaque, by local designer Colin Hagan, will feature a silhouette of Eric walking through the valley, with his trademark carrier bag.

There will also be will be a map of key sites Eric was closely involved with and loved visiting, and inlays of some of his favourite places in the valley, such as the Victoria Tunnel, Free Trade Inn, the Sailor's Bethel, and Ouseburn Farm, whose steering group he chaired.

In further recognition of his efforts, friend and former Ouseburn colleague Mike Greatbatch will lead next month the first of what will be annual Eric Larkham memorial walks.

Appropriately the theme will be an Ouseburn pubs walk on Tuesday June 20 at 7pm, and Saturday June 24 at 2pm. They will be free but book from May 1 at http://www.ouseburntrust.org.uk/walks-and-talks or on 0191 261 6596.

Eric often led valley guided walks, and also emailed hundreds of people on a regular basis about Ouseburn events and pub news.

Lesley Turner, from the Ouseburn Trust, said: "Eric Larkham was at the heart of all things Ouseburn for many years.

"A leading figure and founder trustee in the early years of the trust and chairman of its Heritage Group, he researched and diligently recorded the history and events throughout the industrial and residential use of the valley. He was also a great friend of Ouseburn Farm.

"He was passionate about the valley's old buildings and the need to protect them and in particular the Victoria Tunnel. …

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