The Commissioners Quay Inn steps up to welcome RNLI charity walker

RNLI charity walker Alex Ellis Roswell at The Commissioners Quay Inn Blyth

The Inn Collection Group's Blyth pub - The Commissioners Quay Inn -  stepped in to offer some much needed rest and recuperation to a charity fundraiser who is walking 9,500 miles for the RNLI.

Alex Ellis-Roswell started walking the 9,500-mile coast of Britain and Ireland in August 2014 and when The Commissioners Quay Inn heard his epic trek had reached Northumberland, though he was in need of a much-needed break.

General manager Daniel Evans said: “We were massively impressed with Alex’s incredible challenge and his unerring commitment to supporting such an important charity as the RNLI. We wanted to support his challenge – and show our continued support to the RNLI by offering to put Alex up for a couple of nights, to give his feet a well-deserved break so he can complete the final 1,000 miles of his walk down the east coast of England. 

“We were waved him off on the final stages of his journey with an extra spring in his step – and some great memories of Blyth and our legenedary Northumberland hospitality. 

“The RNLI is a charity we are delighted to support. Our location on the sea front here in Blyth and close proximity to numerous pleasure and commercial marine vessels as well as people just enjoying being by the sea and river brings home just how important the RNLI are in safeguarding people on the water.”

 When Alex completes his challenge, he will have walked for more than three years and taken over 20 million footsteps. 

During his time in Blyth, he went along to the local RNLI lifeboat station and met up with some of the crew who were training that evening. The challenge includes visiting all 237 lifeboat stations in Britain and Ireland. 

Alex, who has raised nearly £60,000 so far, said: “There’s no doubt lifeboat volunteers are heroes. “Their dedication, sacrifice and bravery is an inspiration. “The fact that I’ve managed to raise so much money to support them says to me how much respect people have for the volunteer crews and what they do for us. “It’s unfortunate there’s so much bad news in the world right now, but here are thousands of men and women – from all different backgrounds – coming together to help others. 

“I’m very grateful to The Commissioners Quay Inn for its hospitality during my time in Blyth, which is very much appreciated.” 

To donate to the charity online through Alex’s challenge, visit

Be the Early Robin - Book Now for an Inn Collection Group Christmas

Christmas party nights Northumberland Durham North Yorkshire Middlesbrough Cleveland

It may be the silly season with sun cream, shorts and sandals still uppermost in people’s minds.

But here at The Inn Collection Group the festive season is already upon us as our thoughts turn to Santa hats, party nights and turkey dinners.

If it seems a tad early to be talking about Christmas, think again.

Before you know it, December will have arrived, and if you haven’t got ahead of the game you could easily find yourself left out in the cold with nowhere to go for your office party, family get together or New Year’s Eve bash.

With the fantastic line-up of festive events on offer this year across our inns throughout Northumberland, County Durham and North Yorkshire, you’ll want to make sure you’re the early Robin that catches the worm.

Operations director Sean Donkin said: “While it may still be summer, now is the time to be thinking about the festive season to avoid the disappointment of losing out on the best Christmas party nights, festive meals and of course where to enjoy Christmas Lunch on the big day itself.

“We have our best ever line up this Christmas of entertainment acts and fantastic festive menus that you, your friends, family and work colleagues deserve at what is the most special time of the year.

“It's all too easy to put off booking with Christmas seeming so far in advance. But as our venues are such popular places to celebrate we recommend booking early to secure the venue and party occasion of your choice. Just drop in to one of our inns, give us a call, or send an email to, so we can make sure you Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas rather than a Silent Night.

“After all…it tis the season to be jolly!”

Full details of entertainment, menus and how to book is available on the Christmas pages of each of our inns.  

Mark brings an army of flavour to The Lindisfarne Inn

Pub food near Holy Island at The Lindisfarne Inn with talented chef Mark Bocking

He’s served in both Gulf wars, cooked for Royalty and the Prime Minister and served up high-end banquets to over 300 guests. 

Now talented Mark Bocking has joined The Lindisfarne Inn at Beal as their new head chef.

It was in the fiery heat of a desert kitchen that Royal Air Force veteran Mark began his kitchen career. He joined the RAF as a chef, and has served in jungle field kitchens in Belize, and fed over 3,000 personnel at a time in Mount Pleasant, an RAF station in the Falkland Islands, where the corridors from one end of the camp to another were over a mile long.

Former Prime Minister John Major dined on Mark's food at Chequers, while Princess Anne was the guest of honour at an RAF banquet where Mark was part of a right-royal kitchen-brigade.

Closer to home, Mark is widely regarded on the local food scene for his stellar cookery. He spent seven years as head chef at The Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel in Embleton and three years as sous chef at the acclaimed Treehouse Restaurant in Alnwick.

Now, he is looking forward to making the kitchen at the award-winning Lindisfarne Inn his own and adding his flair to the food offer there. 

Said Mark: “It is an exciting new chapter for me and a completely different challenge to what I have done before. I’m really looking forward to putting my own stamp on the menu here, which is a lot more technical elements and dishes with a bit of a twist like a chicken panacotta – it’s my version of a chicken and sweetcorn soup. 

“I love the fact the inn uses a lot of seafood – I’ll certainly be keeping that on the menu, but adding in my own touches.”

Mark confesses to having a sweet tooth. “I have always been a dessert person. I like making my own desserts like a chocolate parfait. Everything is homemade – the pastry, the sorbets. It’s how it should be.” 

Look out for Mark’s new menu coming soon to The Lindisfarne Inn, the nearest mainland inn to Holy Island.

The Kingslodge Inn visit is just the job for Hedley College students

A group of disabled young people have had their job-seeking prospects boosted thanks to Durham city pub, The Kingslodge Inn. 

Students from Hedley’s College, part of The Percy Hedley Foundation, were given an insider insight into the hospitality industry during a behind the scenes visit to the Flass Vale pub with rooms.  

The access-all-areas tour gave the 18-25-year-olds - who have multiple learning disabilities, including cerebral palsy and autism - a chance to see how each section of The Kingslodge Inn operates, from housekeeping to check in and from front-of-house to the kitchen and to learn about the range of skills needed to work in the industry.

 The students enjoyed hands-on interaction, taste testing new dishes with sous chef Ashley Taylor and rolling up their sleeves to help prepare rooms with the housekeeping team during the visit organised by The Kingslodge Inn’s general manager, Leanne Jeffrey.

Leanne invited the students to The Kingslodge Inn, part of multi-award winning leisure operators The Inn Collection Group, after learning about the college’s work to help disabled young people boost their job prospects across the region. 

Leanne said: “I absolutely believe in helping young people who are keen and enthusiastic better their chances of entering into the workplace.

“I’m sure we can all remember a time when someone went out of their way to help us along our career journey and I felt it was important to do my bit to help such bright and motivated young people who refuse to be held back by their personal barriers.

“I was really struck by how confident and enthusiastic the students were. They would be an absolute asset in the workplace and we are looking at ways to work further with Percy Hedley to offer work experience and apprenticeships to students from the college.

“The hospitality industry is a particularly good area for disabled people as there are so many different paths you can go down, from housekeeping, to working in the kitchen, waiting, bar work, reception duties, and front of house. 

Dionne Smith is Employment Project Officer at The Percy Hedley Foundation. She works to help employers become more disability confident and organise work placements, visits and workshops to break down any barriers for students and employers. 

She said: “Leanne was really keen to get the students involved. We thought we would start with the visit and then look at the possibility of placements that can be specially tailored for our students. 

“The students were all really keen to find out what roles there were in the pub and its rooms and how they could get involved. 

“All the students approached the visit positively and responded really well. I hope going forward we can build closer ties with The Kingslodge Inn and The Inn Collection Group. It’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone to develop a deeper relation and help bridge the gap for young people with additional needs to go from full-time education into employment.” 

For Curtis Curry, 20, who has Achondroplasia, a form of Dwarfism of the spine, The Kingslodge Inn visit was a course highlight and confirmed he wants to pursue a career in the hospitality sector.

He said: “I loved how big the kitchen was and I like making the food and getting to look round the bedrooms and seeing how big they were. I loved having a turn pushing the trolley and getting the bed linen. I want to get a job here!”