DfC Newsletter Page

Welcome to the DfC Newsletter and What’s On listing.

This page is updated every week and an email alert is sent on Monday to our list of more than 340 subscribers. DfC’s Facebook page has 1,400+ followers, the Instagram account has over 1,030 followers, and we have about 4,540 followers on Twitter.

If you’d like your arts event or organisation listed here, free of charge, send details for consideration to darlo4culture@gmail.com.

Please include a short description, contact details, venue, dates, times, price, any age restrictions (if applicable) and a good-quality image.

Newsletter: 2nd to 8th December

Live music this week starts with Darlington Music Society’s extra concert – free admission and a retiring collection. The Pettman Ensemble perform Schubert and Beethoven, arranged for piano, flute, violin and cello (…read more).

Darlington Folk and Acoustic Club meets every Thursday at The Copper Beach 8pm; on 5th December, the club’s guest night welcomes Les Barker. Darlington New Orleans Jazz rounds off its season on Saturday with Dixie Mix playing good-old New Orleans classics. The club takes place at St Augustine’s PC, 12.30pm to 3pm (…read more).

Hurworth Concert Band’s joint venture with Polam Hall’s school choir is on Saturday evening – presenting a sparkling selection of Christmas music at Liddiard Theatre 7pm-9pm (…read more). On Sunday at 3pm, the Darlington Piano Society recital at Central Hall is by Romanian-born pianist Alexandra Vaduva. The programme includes Scarlatti, Schubert, Bartok, Enescu and Beethoven’s ever-popular ‘Moonlight’ sonata (…read more).

In Talks, Tours and Lectures there’s lots going on too. On Monday, The North Yorkshire and South Durham Art Society presents two Christmas lectures – Spread a Little Happiness: The Story of the British Musical by Malcolm Jones (…read more). Monday evening, the Darlington Lecture Association’s 137th year continues with Nostalgic Views of the North by John Moreels. Starts 7.30pm at Carmel RC College (…read more).

And on Friday at 7.30pm, Darlington-based Vane Women Press presents a double-bill event at Colpitts Poetry in Durham. The collective launches its latest publication, a book by Rachel Burns, and Marilyn Longstaff will read new and published poems (…read more).

Darlington Ice Sculpture Trail returns on Saturday 7th December from 10am-5pm. Visitors can enjoy the thrills and chills of winter with live ice carving in the market square, plus the chance to have a go at carving at Joseph Pease Place.
Visit the Special Events section for details.

  • Check out events this week and throughout December via the What’s On list below.

We can help distribute your  printed programmes or leaflets

The DfC information stand in the foyer at The Hippodrome is a great place to promote arts organisations and activities, and we can help distribute your printed leaflets to potential audiences. The stand is generally staffed by Darlington Culture Volunteers when a show is on at the theatre.

We need more local arts organisations and individuals to supply programmes, leaflets or flyers for display.

This weekend, we’ll have an info stand in the Market Place – so it’s a great opportunity to promote your events.

Please post or deliver 20-30 copies of your season programmes, leaflets or flyers to: Heather Carter, Darlington for Culture, c/o Heritage Healthcare, 10 Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RF.


What’s On:

Click on the links to visit each section



Darlington Music Society

The Society presents an exciting extra concert for this season, and admission will be free.

The Pettman Ensemble, an accomplished chamber music group, well known in their native New Zealand, begin their UK tour in Darlington at the Central Hall, Dolphin Centre, on Monday 2nd December 7.30pm.

The concert will feature two pieces: Schubert’s Piano Trio, Opus 100 – one of his last works, and Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, arranged for piano, flute, violin and cello by J N Hummel – one of the many arrangements for this combination by Beethoven’s old friend and rival, Johann Nepomuk Hummel (…read more).

Bannatyne Hotel Darlington

The hotel runs a series of events with tribute acts and music-themed shows at the Grade-II listed Georgian townhouse. Festive tribute nights include a welcome drink, Christmas crackers, two-course meal and entertainment, £32pp: Thursday 5th December Beyonce Tribute (pictured); Thursday 12th December A Night at the Movies Tribute; Monday 16th December The Greatest Show Tribute; Thursday 19th December The Beatles Experience.

Christmas Party Nights on Fridays and Saturdays in December and first weekend of January. They include a welcome drink, three-course meal, Christmas novelties and dancing until 1am. Tickets £35pp: 6th, 7th, 13th 14th, 20th, 21st December, 3rd and 4th January.

  • For details and to book contact Bannatyne Hotel, Southend Avenue, Darlington DL3 7HZ
  • Phone 01325 365858

Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club

Darlington New Orleans Jazz rounds off the 2019 season on Saturday 7th December with ‘Dixie Mix’. This highly professional and entertaining band from East Anglia will offer a high-quality performance of the good-old New Orleans classics with their first appearance in Darlington.

The 2019 season has been DNOJ’s most successful to date with a number of new bands including musicians from New Orleans and other parts of the USA. The 2020 season stars on Saturday 1st February with another international star and star band.

The club takes place at St Augustine’s Parish Centre Larchfield Street, Darlington DL3 7TG. Doors open at noon for a 12.30pm to 3pm session.

  • £10 at the door (20% discount with Darlington for Culture membership card)
  • Children under 16 free with an accompanying adult
  • For more information visit the DNOJC website

Hurworth Concert Band’s Christmas event

Hurworth Concert Band’s next concert is a joint venture with Polam Hall’s school choir on Saturday 7th December.

They will present a sparkling array of Christmas music at Liddiard Theatre, Polam Hall School, Grange Road, Darlington DL1 5PA.

Concert from 7pm-9pm, Tickets cost £5 for adults and £2 for children. Tickets available at the door or call 0771 7244579.


Darlington Piano Society

Darlington Piano Society recitals for the season 2019-20 take place in Central Hall, The Dolphin Centre, Darlington DL1 5RP, on Sunday afternoon at 3pm.

On Sunday 8th December 3pm, Romanian-born pianist Alexandra Vaduva’s programme starts  with two sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. In between Schubert’s early sonata in A minor, D537 which follows, and Beethoven’s ever popular ‘Moonlight’ sonata which end the programme, she plays 20th-century works with Bartok’s impressionistic Suite Op.14 and two works by her compatriot Enescu (…read more).

Forthcoming recitals are: Vadym Kholodenko (26th January); Simon Callaghan (23th February); Steven Osborne (26th March).

  • Season tickets cost £55 and can be purchased via the booking form in the brochure or the DPS website
  • Individual recital tickets are £14, available online, from reception at the Dolphin Centre, and at the recitals
  • Free entry for Under-21s

The Forum Music Centre

For the full list of gigs and events, please visit The Forum website. Tel: 01325 363135.

Darlington Folk and Acoustic Club

The club meets every Thursday at The Copper Beach, Neasham Road, 8pm start, £7. On Thursday 5th December the club’s guest night welcomes the brilliant Les Barker. For advanced tickets, please contact George on 07890 006204. Visit the folk club’s website for details.

Opus 4 Jazz Club

The Opus 4 Jazz Club takes place at The Travellers Rest, Cockerton, Darlington DL3 9ER. Doors open 7.30pm for an 8pm start. Club contact 01325 382676. Visit the jazz club’s website.

‘Orchestras Live’

Darlington Hippodrome and Orchestras Live are co-producing a concert series bringing the best of Britain’s professional orchestras to the town. The Hallé will perform on Thursday 9th January 2020. Programme will include unique pieces co-created and performed with the visiting orchestra and young musicians from Darlington schools (…read more). For details or to book, call the Hippodrome box office on 01325 405405 or visit the theatre’s website.

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Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs

Majestic Productions present Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs at the Majestic Theatre. Dates from 16th December 2019 to Fri 3rd January 2020 7pm. Ticket prices from only £5.

Follow Snow White On her journey to meet her Prince, while eating a few obstacles along the way (…read more).

Ticket: Child £5; Adult £7; Family ticket for four £20 (Family ticket is for the admittance of 2 adults and 2 children (under 16yrs); or 1 adult and 3 children (under 16yrs).

Contact The Majestic Theatre, Darlington, DL3 7JT, for details. Box Office: 01325 633296.

Darlington Hippodrome

The new autumn season includes thrilling drama, a hand-picked selection of the world’s most dazzling musicals and some truly magical family shows, alongside household names gracing the Hippodrome stage (…read more).

Shows include: The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia present four spectacular ballets with Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker (23-26 January) and the spellbinding BalletBoyz return to Darlington with their new show Deluxe (5 March). ‘One night only’ appearances include Alan Titchmarsh (8 January), Sir Michael Parkinson (9 February) and Jools Holland (23 May). New shows added regularly – please check with the venue (…read more).

Actors wanted

Local college Media Tutor is looking for older people, male or female, willing to act in front of a video camera.

It is for a specific project but also to practise film making. Film durations would be short, an hour, for example.

For details and to discuss further, call Karl on 07590 509161 or email karl.oldridge@gmail.com.



The Hullabaloo

Children’s theatre organisation Theatre Hullabaloo runs a programme of events at its flagship venue The Hullabaloo, Borough Road, Darlington. To buy tickets and for more information visit The Hullabaloo website.

Darlington Academy of Performing Arts

Does your child enjoy acting, singing and dancing? Regular classes take place at Hummersknott Academy. For details, visit the DAPA website.

Darlington Stage School AJ Productions

Join Darlington Stage School AJ Productions to learn to act, dance and sing and take part in multiple productions throughout the year.

All children who attend AJ Productions stage schools have the opportunity to perform in the professional pantomime at The Garden Rooms at Tennants in Leyburn, this year starring Britain’s Got Talent finalist Danny Posthill.

Contact AJ Productions to book a free taster session, email contact@ajproductions.tv, call 07999 428171 or visit the website www.ajproductions.tv.

  • Saturdays 10am-noon
  • Hummersknott Academy, Edinburgh Drive
  • Cost: £47.50 per five weeks, try your first session free
  • Ages: 5-18

Darlington Festival for Performing Arts

Darlington Festival for Performing Arts (DFPA) is a competition comprising three disciplines on three days: Music; Speech and Drama; and Dance. DFPA encourages entries for its competitions from all over the area and beyond incorporating state and private schools/private tutors and independently run music/speech and drama and dance schools. The syllabus for competitions and details of year-round activities are available from the Secretary, email linda.lawson1511@gmail.com.

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Bridging the Gap: exhibition and talk

‘Bridging the Gap’ is an exhibition of textile art by Helen Winthorpe Kendrick at Crown Street Gallery, Darlington DL1 1ND, until 9th January 2020.

The expression ‘Bridging the gap’ is frequently used in many different circumstances; this exhibition looks at the diverse ways in which bridges can be built, both physically and metaphorically (…read more).

Visit Helen Winthorpe Kendrick’s website. Read a review here.

Crown Street Gallery

For details about current and forthcoming exhibitions, visit the council’s website.

The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts

The centre is at the junction of Yarm Road and Hunden’s Lane, Darlington DL1 1ED. It hosts exhibitions and houses a variety of local groups and is available for private hire. For more information, call the centre on 01325 243864, or visit The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts website. See also the Regular Classes and Events section for details.

blimey! Lucretia – collaborative art project

This collaborative project celebrates visual arts and explores the representation of women in our changing world as it focuses on an exhibition at The Bowes Museum.

blimey! Lucretia will focus on the centrepiece of The Power and the Virtue: Guido Reni’s Death of Lucretia exhibition at The Bowes Museum, which opened on Saturday 26th October. The project has been devised by blimey! a female-led Darlington-based artist collective who work across a diverse range of creative practices. The public events programme will take place in various venues, including The Bowes Museum and Crown Street Gallery in Darlington, between January and May 2020.

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Hilarity Bites Comedy Club

Hilarity Bites Comedy Club brings the best of the UK and international comedy scene to venues in Darlington and throughout the North East of England.

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Love Tango Darlington

This group dances both traditional Argentine and modern Nuevo Tango.

Class every Thursday 7.30pm followed by dancing until late with John Paul Tango at Haughton Le Skerne Working Men’s Club, 25 Haughton Green, Darlington DL1 2DD.

For more information, call 01325 46873 or visit the group’s Facebook page.


The Cotswold Morris Team/Black Diamond Mixed Cotswold Morris

Named after one of the first steam locomotives to operate on the Darlington and Stockton Railway/Black Diamond, this new Cotswold Morris team is based in Darlington. Dancing traditional dances from the Cotswold villages, this team comprises of both women and men.

They practise in the upstairs room of the Voodoo Cafe Bar on Skinnergate in Darlington from 7.30pm until about 9.30pm. The group welcomes any dancers and musicians, and if you’re not a dancer or musician then you are still more than welcome to join and learn the traditional dances.

Harlequin Women’s Morris

Harlequin Women’s Morris practise at the Village Hall, The Green, Cleasby, North Yorks DL2 2QZ. The group meets on Tuesdays from 7.30pm-9.30pm.

New dancers and/or musicians welcome to try this traditional English (North West) morris dancing. It is fun and helps keep mind and body fit; comfortable shoes and clothes are all that’s needed. First week is free, then £4 per week.

6th Street Swing

Transport yourself back to the swinging world of the 1940s and learn the dance sensations that took the era by storm.

6th Street Swing are a group of local swing dancers keen to encourage more people to take up this fun and sociable partnered dance style. They run informal beginners’ classes weekly as well as evening socials every few months. No partner is required.

Classes are Tuesdays 7.30pm- 8.30pm followed by social dancing at Voodoo Cafe, Skinnergate. Cost: £3 – first class free. Email Angeline a.unique.rose@gmail.com.

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Open Mic for Writers

The Open Mic for Writers nights are supported by Darlington for Culture and offer a forum in which writers can read their material and audiences can enjoy it, at the upstairs room at HASH, 14 Coniscliffe Road, Darlington DL3 7RG, usually on the last Thursday of the month, except July, August and December.

Writers have the opportunity to read work including poetry, short stories, novel extracts and scripts to appreciative audiences, with up to eight minutes for each writer. Readers range from published authors to those just starting out on their writing careers, and pieces read out range from excerpts from completed pieces to work in progress for which the authors are seeking feedback.

  • Each session starts at 7pm
  • Cost of entry is £3 paid on the door
  • Next event: 30 January 2020
  • For details, email traceyiceton@hotmail.co.uk

Bennet House Writers

The group meets every Monday at 10.30am at Age UK, Bradbury House, Beaumont Street West, Darlington DL1 5SX. The group read and discuss new and old work from members that includes poetry, short stories and novels. Further details can be obtained from Mary Sweeten on 01325 283401.

Prompted to Write

This supportive writing co-operative for new and experienced writers takes place on Wednesdays from 10am-noon at Age UK Hub, 34 Priestgate, Darlington.

Creative writing courses with Tracey Iceton

A selection of creative writing courses with local author Tracey Iceton will take place in the autumn for all types of writers, from emerging to established (…read more).

For more information about Tracey’s writing and work with emerging writers visit the website.

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North Yorkshire and South Durham Arts Society

The North Yorkshire and South Durham Art Society lectures usually take place one Monday each month. For the Christmas lectures, there are two events on Monday 2nd December.

‘Spread a Little Happiness: The Story of the British Musical’ by Malcolm Jones
The British Musical was triumphant in the 1920s and 1930s when Noel Coward and Ivor Novello dominated the West End. However, the arrival of Oklahoma in 1948 changed everything.

For the next 30 years, audiences flocked to see the big American shows. Nonetheless, there were British successes. Composers like Julian Slade, Sandy Wilson, David Heneker and of course, Lionel Bart had enormously popular shows. Then, in the 1970s and 1980s Andrew Lloyd Webber established the British musical as an international force (…read more).

The Darlington Lecture Association

Darlington Lecture Association (DLA) celebrates its 137th year with a season of eight lectures about travel, art, ancient Egypt and more. Lectures take place from September to April, usually second Monday of each month, at Carmel RC College, The Headlands, Darlington DL3 8RP.

2nd December ‘Nostalgic Views of the North’ by John Moreels
13th January 2020: ‘Picasso and Matisse – the Best of Friendly Rivals’ (pictured) by Ray Warburton
10th February 2020: ‘The Chelsea Flower Show’
9th March 2020: ‘Pharaohs, Potions and Pills’ by Jacqueline Campbell
30th March 2020: ‘Beguiling Bridges’ by Keith Holmes
AGM at 6.45pm before lecture

For details of these events, read more at Lectures for DLA’s 137th year.

Vane Women Press: Colpitts Poetry

On Friday 6 December 7.30pm, Darlington-based Vane Women Press presents a double-bill event at Colpitts Poetry, Alington House, 4 North Bailey, Durham.

The collective is proud to launch its latest publication, a book by poet Rachel Burns ‘A girl in a blue dress’.

And Marilyn Longstaff will read new and published poems.

Admission £6/£4.

Darlington Historical Society (DHS)

Talks and meetings are held at the Friends Meeting House, Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7NG (accessed via the archway on Skinnergate) starting at 7.30pm. Individual Membership £10; Junior and Student Membership £3; Visitors £3 per meeting.

18 December: The Churches and Chapels of Darlington – with author and TV presenter John Grundy
15 January 2020: The Life, Times and Writings of Rudyard Kipling – with Malcolm Sweet
19 February 2020: Dr. Dresser’s Dream – with Gill Moore of the Dorman Museum on the life of iconic designer Christopher Dresser and his work with the Linthorpe Art Pottery in Middlesbrough
18 March 2020: Those Gigantic Statues: Cook and Easter Island – with Phil Philo, Senior Curator at Middlesbrough Museums
15 April 2020: A Sort of Homecoming: Flying Officer George Lumley of Darlington – with Anthony Magrys

Darlington Hippodrome ‘Heritage Tour’

The tours provide you with the chance to explore the building and learn about its heritage and history. The tours are supported by Darlington Culture Volunteers – visit the website for more details about volunteering. Contact the box office on 01325 405405 or book online at Darlington Hippodrome’s website.

Darlington Embroiderers’ Guild

Darlington Embroiderers’ Guild holds its meetings the first Saturday of each month in Elm Ridge Methodist Church Hall, from 1.30pm for talks starting 2pm. New members always welcome. Tea and coffee is available.

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Town-centre Christmas events

The ever-popular Christmas Markets will see a huge range of festive stalls in the market square from Thursday 5th December alongside the Pease Pudding market from 4pm to 9pm. The market will continue on Friday and Saturday from 10am-7pm.

Darlington Ice Sculpture Trail returns on Saturday 7th December from 10am-5pm. Visitors can enjoy the thrills and chills of winter with the trail and live ice carving in the market square, plus the chance to have a go at carving at Joseph Pease Place. More sculptures will be dotted around the town along with street entertainers, fun and music.

Music will fill the market square the following day as the Big Little Gigs Christmas Fest welcomes in the festive season with live music, crafts, singalongs and face painting from 11.30am-4pm on Sunday 8th December.

At the DL1 podium, enjoy street entertainers, meet Santa and his elves, and watch a Christmas marching band.

The Head of Steam

Darlington Railway Museum is running a series of events and activities, booking required for some. Please check details for each. All take place at Head of Steam, North Road Station, Darlington DL3 6ST (read more).

Call 01325 405060, email headofsteam@darlington.gov.uk or visit the museum’s website.

Santa at the Station Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd December 10am-4pm.



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The Bridge: spring term 2020

The spring term at The Bridge Centre forVisual Arts starts week commencing 13th January 2020. The programme of 10-week courses includes painting and drawing, landscape acrylic and oils, watercolours, experimental printmaking, portrait drawing and painting, ceramics, life drawing, jewellery making, Openart, and an ‘Introduction to Cyanotopes’ one-day workshop.

The Bridge provides a vibrant community-led venue to support artists and encourage visual arts involvement for Darlington. Many artists who had a presence at the Darlington Arts Centre can now be found at The Bridge Centre. It is also the home of other arts-based organisations.

To book, visit The Bridge’s website, or call 01325 243864.

Group piano lessons for adults

Lessons with Tracey Chad ALCM(TD) DipLCM(TD).

Classes take place at The Forum, Borough Road.

For information and to book, email traceychad1@gmail.com



Darlington Amateur Gardening Club

Visitors are welcome at meetings, with a £3 contribution towards the meeting costs. Bondgate Methodist Church Lecture Hall (Winston Street entrance) and the talk usually starts at about 7.30pm, after tea/coffee from about 7pm.

  • For club information contact the club secretary on 01325 468870

Keeping fit

Darlington Keep Fit Association’s regular sessions take place every Thursday evening from 7.30pm to 9pm. at St Thomas Aquinas Church Hall, choreographed by Catherine Gilsenan, and every Tuesday evening from 7.30pm to 9pm at Sadberge Village Hall, choreographed by Margaret Marston.

  • £3.50 per session with a view to membership if liked
  • Ages range from 18 years upwards

Darlington Orchestra

Darlington Orchestra is a community group that performs two major concerts each year. The group meets during Darlington school term-times at St Thomas Aquinas Church Hall, North Road, Darlington, on Tuesdays from 7.15pm to 9pm.

There are no auditions although a playing ability of at least Grade IV and good sight-reading ability is recommended. Visit the orchestra website for details of current vacancies in the brass section.

If you are interested in joining, please email admin@darlington-orchestra.org.uk for information about vacancies.

CPRE group

The Campaign to Protect Rural England, CPRE Darlington, meets in the Upstairs Restaurant, Dolphin Centre, Darlington, at 6.30 pm. Meetings are informal and usually held the third Tuesday in the month. They cover mainly planning applications and so give the opportunity to air any views on issues which could affect your quality of life.

  • Please ring 01325 485107 to check dates and inform them of your attendance

Railway Heritage

The Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway were formed in 2013 to take forward ambitious plans to conserve and promote the 1825 line in the lead up to the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the opening of the railway in 2025.

The Friends’ vision is to establish a walking and cycling rail trail using the route of the 1825 S&DR from Witton Park to Stockton on Tees. The group meets on the first Thursday of the month, 7.10pm, usually at Darlington Cricket Club, Feethams.

National Council of Women Great Britain

The National Council of Women (NCW) wants to ensure that women play a full role in our society. In Darlington they meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month between 10am and midday at the Millennium Centre, All Saints Church, Ravensdale Road, Darlington DL3 8DT. They welcome women from around the wider area. Visit the NCW website or Twitter @NCWGB, or search for National Council of Women Great Britain on Facebook or call 01325 367375.

Programme 2019-2020
10th December: Christmas Tea 3pm-5pm ‘Malcolm Watson, Classical Tenor’
28th January 2020: Tamma G Carel ‘Introducing the Sustainable Development Goals’
25th February: Jill Cunningham ‘Bugs and Beasties’
4th March: Spring Luncheon 12 for 12.30pm ‘Musicians from Darlington Orchestra’
28th April: Gary Bankhead ‘Archaeology of the River Wear’
19th May: Dr Helen Tidy ‘Forensics – Solving the Crime’
23rd June:
July (date tbc): Summer Outing

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Publicise your organisations and events

If you’d like your arts event listed in this newsletter and on DfC’s website and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), please send details including date, time, cost, any age restrictions (up to 200 words) plus a good-quality image supplied as a jpeg file (minimum 200KB) to darlo4culture@gmail.com.

Raising funds – just by shopping online

If you buy clothes, stationery, holidays, home appliances, IT gadgets, train travel or just about anything via the easyfundraising website you can raise free cash for Darlington for Culture every time you shop – at no additional cost to you. Visit the easyfundraising website to find out to raise cash by shopping online at many popular retailers – including Amazon, Argos, eBay, Boots, Tesco, House of Fraser, Aviva, Lakeland, ao.com, thetrainline.com and wilko.com.

Heritage Healthcare

Heritage Healthcare is a leading family-run business proud to offer more than 60 years’ experience and expertise in delivering excellent quality home-based care within the community.

They can be contacted via their website or 01325 370700.

Thanks to Resilient Business Systems Ltd for their support





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