Published on 24th December 2020
Author Sarah Charalambous

Merry Christmas, I hear folk saying – do you really, really think so?

As I struggle to entertain one very boisterous child, strive to contain the ever-increasing activity of the next one and see constant changes to our freedom caused by the ongoing Covid pandemic, I must admit that my enthusiasm for festivities this year has taken a severe bashing.

The constant negative nature of some people on my social media feed is also very grating….

But, it is what it is.

However, something I’ve found a pleasant distraction over recent days other than the time spent with my husband and son, has been the portfolio of speedway photography being drip-fed onto the Facebook platform by Keith Hamblin – so many familiar faces bringing back so many happy memories!

Intriguing to see shots of men we’ve grown used to seeing on our television screens in recent times, back when they were boys. Chris Louis, Kelvin Tatum, Mark Loram, Alun Rossiter and Greg Hancock were snapped by Keith at Berrington, and all look so young!

The frightening thing, I suppose, is that they were all much younger then than I am now……. and I still think of myself as eternally youthful!

Despite my years, though significantly less than some of you old coffin dodgers out there (nudge nudge Mr.B) some of the pictures are of times my memory struggles to recall.

I was a mere 3-year old when I started attending Berrington Lough… jeez… 30 years later I’m still around!

How I wish I could remember getting to see such riders as Per Jonsson, Hans Nielsen and Tommy Knudsen racing at Berwick. The photos from the Hamblin archives don’t lie though – our little haven in North Northumberland is a town with a magnificent speedway heritage.

Another magnificent thing which must be mentioned on here is the work that our wonderful Supporters Club continue to do in plugging and administering the promotion’s 5-1 draw. It is completely understandable that a few people have dropped out given that we haven’t been trackside in some 15 months or more, plus all the financial difficulties that have no doubt impacted the North East and Borders…… but they’ve kept going…… giving appreciated and very much-needed income to our club through the hardest time it is likely to face for many a year!

This sort of funding can make a difference……. it can keep a club functioning…… it will help ensure we see 2021 and beyond! Hopefully those who have sadly had to drop out can make a very welcome return, and a whole raft of new peeps can join in too when the world steadies itself once again…….

Hopefully, our Championship will also steady itself, after being rocked by hints of a u-turn in policy, perhaps driven – as ever – by the heavy hand of the “other league” wanting our lot to meekly fall in with ways and means to help the Premiership without due regard to the wellbeing of the good guys!

As has been publicly stated by Glasgow – and endorsed by other clubs such as Eastbourne and Somerset – as they were informed as late as September this year that the team averages, and wherever possible announced 1-7s, were to be carried forward into 2021, these clubs (and others) have gone ahead and signed binding contracts with their chosen seven riders.

Now, with a couple of tracks finding it harder to track teams up to the legal limit, are we to suffer a radical change of direction, just to please the ones who haven’t got their houses in order? There’s even a scaremongering rumour of the other lot wanting to revert to six-man teams, and insisting our Championship follows suit. Surely not…….

If it has even a grain of truth, the story would serve to remind us how, as regularly as clockwork over the years, when the big league finds itself in trouble it tries to screw the lower league in one way or another……..

Anyways, on a different note, I can’t go through my final blog of the year without yet again bringing up my fantastic husband! Most in speedway know him as “Shadders”…… I know him by multiple names depending on his (and my) moods! He’s been a frontline postie with Royal Mail this year……. understandably working through huge demands placed upon their service due to the Covid pandemic… and some would say the huge demands of living with me!

Anyhoo, the stress of it all (the pandemic and living with me) must have finally taken its toll as something has happened that I didn’t even have to coerce him into… those on social media will have seen that my former Rocket-supporting husband, quite willingly and independently, turned up to Shielfield Park and purchased a new (and very smart) Bandits’ team jacket and beanie hat! If this page did emojis, be assured I’d have put the ‘smug face’ one on right here!

Quite how it took 4 years to finally make it happen, God only knows.. Anyways, bring on 2021 so he can finally get out and model them on the terraces!

And just to round off my December blog, as Frank Sinatra sang; “…and now, the end is near!”

Yep, I’m literally within touching distance of expelling Charalambous Junior No 2!

It’s been a very hard slog second time round .. extreme back and hip pain; mood swings; tears; leg numbness; ending up with crutches and back supports — and yet there are some women out there who enjoy it!

Yeah, I haven’t been one of them! I’m sort of looking more forward to the prospect of going in for major surgery such is the difficulties I’ve had!

It would have been nicer had I had our usual Saturday night fix to focus on — but 2020 put paid to that!

Never mind though… all’s well that ends well!

Here’s to 2021.. hopefully a better year in all ways for EVERYONE!

Stay safe, Banditos…………….
Disagree with Sarah? If you’re brave enough, get in touch on berwicks_b1tch@hotmail.co.uk — but don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Sarah Charalambous
Sarah Charalambous

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