Welly Walkers put best foot forward for RNLI

Staff at The Seaton Lane Inn put their best foot forward - together - to raise over £300 to fund kit for The Royal National Lifeboat Institute’s volunteer crew members. 

Taking inspiration from the kit they were fundraising for, The Seaton Lane Inn’s Debbie Brown, Joanne Curtis, Keeley Mathewson and chef Jennifer Malkin wore their wellington boots for a three-mile, three-legged welly walk from the inn on Seaton Lane to the George Elmy lifeboat at East Durham Heritage and Lifeboat Centre. 

Debbie Brown of The Seaton Lane Inn said: “It was surprisingly hard work - the last time any of us had done three-legged walking was in the school ground! But we had a laugh and it was amazing to know we’ve raised so much money for the RNLI and the fantastic work it does to save lives at sea. As we are such a short distance from Durham’s heritage coast, we felt it was important to do our bit to raise funds for such a relevant charity.

“We would like to thank everyone who supported us in our walk - and to the staff at Seaham Marina and East Durham Heritage and Lifeboat Centre who gave us such a warm welcome when we arrived.” 
As well as raising funds through the welly walk, The Seaton Lane Inn has become a ‘Betty’s Jar’ pick up and drop off point, where customers can pick up small recycled jars called Betty’s 5p pots to fill with loose change and return these to the inns to be emptied, helping towards the cause.

The RNLI’s community fundraising manager for the North East Gill King said: Our crews rely on lifesaving kit, like their yellow wellies, lifejackets and helmets, when they go out in all weathers to save lives at sea. We are thrilled that The Seaton Lane Inn is helping to raise money for the RNLI and thank them for their support.”


The Inn Collection Group gives it some welly for The RNLI

The Inn Collection Group is supporting The RNLI

The Inn Collection Group is helping to raise funds that will buy vital kit for RNLI volunteer crews by supporting the charity’s annual national fundraising campaign across its inns.

The inn’s seven inns span the North East coastline or are close to inland waterways, like Durham city’s The Kingslodge Inn and are getting behind the charity with sponsored events, pop up RNLI shops and acting as ‘Betty’s Jar’ pick up and drop off points, where customers can take small recycled jars called Betty’s 5p pots to fill with loose change to help towards the cause.

A vital piece of kit the inns are fundraising for are yellow wellies. And staff at The Seaton Lane Inn are taking inspiration from this by taking part in a three-legged welly race. 

Duos from the inn will hop, skip and jump the three-miles from the inn on Seaton Lane to Seaham’s Lifeboat Museum wearing their welly boots on Saturday June 10. 

Debbie Brown of The Seaton Lane Inn said: “We jumped at the chance to support the RNLI and the fantastic work it does to save lives at sea. As we are such a short distance from Durham’s heritage coast, we felt it was important to do our bit to raise funds for such a relevant charity – and have a laugh at the same time.”

Debbie will be leading the three-legged teams from The Seaton Lane Inn as they make their way to Seaham Lifeboat at East Durham and Coastal Heritage centre. 

Both The Seaton Lane Inn and The Kingslodge Inn have become ‘Betty’s Jar’ pick up and drop off points, where customers can pick up small recycled jars called Betty’s 5p pots to fill with loose change and return these to the inns to be emptied, helping towards the cause.

Leanne Jeffrey, general manager at The Kingslodge Inn said: “The RNLI is an excellent charity and we are proud to be able to support them with the Betty’s jars campaign. We’re recycling and relabeling our own jam jars for the cause so they become mini-collection pots that are helping to save lives.”

Sean Donkin, operations director at The Inn Collection Group said: “We are delighted to be supporting The RNLI across our pubs which are all close to the coast and waterways. The RNLI does a superb and courageous job to save lives at sea and we hope to be able to help raise funds that will provide vital kit for their crew men and women.” 

The RNLI’s community fundraising manager for the North East Gill King said: Our crews rely on lifesaving kit, like their yellow wellies, lifejackets and helmets, when they go out in all weathers to save lives at sea. We are thrilled that The Inn Collection Group is helping to raise money for the RNLI and thank them for their support."

Other Inn Collection Group pubs supporting The RNLI include Northumberland-based The Lindisfarne Inn at Beal, The Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses, The Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick and The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth and The King’s Head Inn at Newton under Roseberry. 



The Commissioners Quay Inn wins Prestigious Property Award

The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth

The Commissioners Quay Inn in Blyth has won Commercial Development of the Year at last week’s prestigious Insider Media Property Awards ceremony.

The Insider North East Property Awards 2017 celebrate the remarkable achievements of the region's developments. Following the establishment of eight regional property awards dinners in the UK’s biggest cities outside of London over the last 20 years, the North East Property Awards 2017 recognize the most successful companies and projects over the previous 12 months.

The Commissioners Quay Inn was developed on the waterfront at Blyth to create a leisure venue for people to enjoy. The judges felt this was a true place-making development, turning a derelict site in an area of social deprivation into a space that the community can be proud. They also concluded that there was significant risk in this development that required strong leadership and decision-making.

The Commissioners Quay Inn was developed by Arch, and is operated by The Inn Collection Group. The jewel in the crown of Blyth’s impressive harbour development, the sleek Inn makes the most of every inch of its water’s edge location. Overlooking the River Blyth towards the sea, this vibrant and welcoming venue provides home made food and drink as well as providing much-needed bed and breakfast accommodation facility for tourists and corporate visitors to Blyth. A destination in its own right, The Commissioners Quay Inn really is the place to eat, drink, sleep and explore from.

Jacqui Kell, chief executive of Arch said: “Congratulations must go to the whole team that were involved in the development of the building for their vision and commitment in making The Commissioners Quay Inn the outstanding success it is today and a facility for Blyth and the surrounding community to be proud of. The facilities are second to none and as the second phase in the regeneration of the quayside area we are setting the quality bar extremely high. I am delighted that The Commissioners Quay Inn has won this.”

Keith Liddell, The Inn Collection Group chief executive said: We are absolutely delighted that The Commissioners Quay Inn has lifted the title for such a prestigious award. The service we provide to residents and visitors are first class, but to be able to say we are doing this from an award-winning building is even more special”. 

Daniel steps up to take ‘quay’ role at Blyth inn helm

Daniel Evans general manager of new pub with rooms in Northumberland The Commissioners Quay Inn

Northumberland’s newest pub The Commissioners Quay Inn has appointed Daniel Evans as its new general manager.

Daniel has stepped up to take the helm of the £4.5m waterfront pub with rooms at Blyth, where he has been assistant manager since its July opening.

Daniel, who hails from Blyth, brings a wealth of customer service, event management and hospitality experience to The Commissioners Quay Inn, which is part of multi-award winning hospitality operators The Inn Collection Group’s estate.

The Inn Collection Group operations director Sean Donkin said: “We are delighted that Daniel has risen through the ranks with the Group to become general manager at The Commissioners Quay Inn. Daniel impressed with his proven track record for implementing strategic business initiatives and with his inbuilt enthusiasm for the role.

“The Inn Collection Group prides itself on delivering a tremendous experience for all our customers, whether they are dining or staying with us and Daniel shares our customer-first vision.

“The Commissioners Quay Inn has enjoyed unprecedented performance in its first three quarters’ trading. We are confident Daniel will build upon this and take the inn towards further growth and exceptional customer service in its exciting new chapter.

Father-of-three Daniel said: “I am very proud to be stepping into the lead at The Commissioners Quay Inn. One of our most powerful assets is our people. Continued investment in staff training, confidence and progression is key for me, and I am looking forward to working with our 60-strong team to bring about further staff training, up skilling and development.

“My team are an integral part in how we deliver on customer expectation, so everyone who walks through our doors - whether they are eating, drinking or staying with us - enjoys a totally individualised experience and returns and recommends us.”

The 40-bedroom Commissioners Quay Inn, located on redeveloped land along Blyth’s Quay Road, is open 365 days a year, serving homemade food and drinks from breakfast through to 9pm.

The expanding Inn Collection Group, a finalist in the prestigious Publican Awards Best Accommodation Operator category, is the largest private bedroom provider in Northumberland with more than 200 bedrooms across its North East estate.

Its portfolio in Northumberland includes The Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses, The Lindisfarne Inn at Beal and The Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick. The estate includes The Seaton Lane Inn near Sunderland, The King’s Head Inn at Newton under Roseberry and The Kingslodge Inn in Durham city centre.

Built by Arch, The Northumberland Development Company, The Commissioners Quay Inn is spread across four floors with superb coastal views from its quayside location. It fills a proven gap in the market for quality and affordable accommodation in the area.





The Bamburgh Castle Inn staff become dementia friends

Staff from The Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses have been learning how to make their inn more dementia friendly by taking part in special awareness raising sessions with The Alzheimer’s Society. 

Staff from the seaside inn took part in training to gain a better understanding of how dementia can affect people, so they can give a warm welcome to all customers, including people with dementia. 

General manager Nicola Austin said: “We give everyone who walks through our doors a very warm welcome, whether they are in a wheelchair, have hearing or sight impairments – or  people with dementia. 

“With the numbers of people living with dementia rising, it’s so important that our team understand what dementia is and how they can play a part in making a difference to people who are living with it. 

“We learned there are so many small things we can do that can make such a difference to people with dementia – and their carers and family members - to make them feel welcome and at ease. 

“Many of our staff, customers and their families have been touched by the effects of loved ones living with dementia and we want to do our bit to make sure each and every person who comes through our doors enjoys a warm welcome and excellent service.”

Helen Williams, Northumberland manager for The Alzheimer’s Society, led the session at The Bamburgh Castle Inn.

She said: “Nationally, we aim to have four million dementia friends by 2020, to raise awareness of the needs of people living with dementia. 

“Often when people are diagnosed, one of first things they stop doing is things they like to do, like going out to the pub and they retreat. 

“The aim of bringing this to businesses is that it makes them more aware of the needs of customers coming in, and people feel confident to still go out with their family and community, and it reduces feelings of isolation.

“People will know which pubs they can go into and be supported. The group at The Bamburgh Castle Inn were young and incredibly keen - they were able to say they were already supporting the needs of regular customers living with dementia.”

The Bamburgh Castle is the latest inn within the award-winning Inn Collection Group (ICG) to go through training as part of the group’s efforts to make each of its seven pub premises friendly, inclusive and accessible to everyone. 

The Inn Collection Group’s Operations Director Sean Donkin, said: “We already have plenty of visible accessibility facilities for people with different physical needs across our pubs. But we felt it was important to make sure we are trained and able to help people with dementia and those with accessibility needs you can’t see so easily, to make them feel welcome and at ease.”

The Inn Collection Group goes the extra mile to welcome walkers

Self guided walking breaks in Northumberland North of England with The Inn Collection Group Roseberry Topping beach coast sea

With hostelries in some of the country’s best walking bases, pub operator The Inn Collection Group is lacing up its boots to go a step further for walkers.

The Group has paired up with top self-guided walking publisher to offer a range of walking packages at a handpicked selection of its award-winning inns in picture-postcard locations.

The group’s new ‘Walk-Inn’ breaks include easy-to-follow, self-guided walks, key meals and accommodation in well-loved destinations like the Northumberland coast, Cheviot Hills, Cleveland and the North York Moors.

Great for walkers of all levels including families, relaxed ramblers and serious yompers, the breaks include Walking-Books’ self-guided packs, each containing 20 classic walks around your chosen pub.

Also included is a hearty, two-course dinner for you to walk off, plus a comfy room at the inn of your choice to bed down in and, of course, a full English breakfast to fuel you up for the day ahead. Packages also include a welcome drink on arrival plus a picnic to enjoy while on the go.

Sean Donkin, operations director at The Inn Collection Group said: “We are proud to have pubs with rooms in some of the very best walking destinations in the country, with easy access to the Northumberland coast, Cheviot Hills, the North York Moors and more.

“ We have always attracted walkers thanks to our great locations and warm welcome. We wanted to go a step further to encourage people to come and experience the incredible coast, hill and countryside paths around our inns with inclusive breaks that also serve as walking guides helping them make the most of their stay.”

Walking Books director Mike Law said: “We’re delighted to have teamed up with The Inn Collection Group and applaud their efforts to make walking accessible to as many people as possible. I hope that together we can inspire people of all walking abilities to head out and enjoy the fantastic scenery around their inns on foot.

“Walking Books guides are completely different to anything you will see in the shops. Our aim when deciding to publish our guides is to make them as user-friendly as possible so we decided on our concept of putting the walks on handy, durable, weather-proof walking cards with a unique combination of concise, easy-to-follow routes local information and professional mapping. To complete our pack we added a useful user guide and decided to provide a custom made map-case for the walking card which meant the walker had everything they needed for their walk on an A5 weather-proof card that could be carried conveniently around the neck or in a jacket pocket.”

The Inn Collection Group Walk-Inn breaks are available at the following Northumberland inns:

The Lindisfarne Inn at Beal, the nearest mainland inn to Holy Island

The Bamburgh Castle Inn, which overlooks the harbour and Farne Islands in the fishing village of Seahouses

The Hog’s Head Inn, Alnwick, close to Alnwick Castle and Garden

The Commissioners Quay Inn, Blyth

And in Cleveland / North Yorkshire,The King’s Head Inn, Newton-under-Roseberry beneath iconic Roseberry Topping


  • A single night Walk-Inn break starts from less than £90 per person (based on two people sharing)

The Kingslodge Inn on Milbut’s front row for sponsor support

Inn Collection Group Six Nations Kingslodge Inn women rugby Milbut Durham University

As rugby fever grips with fans on tenterhooks wondering if England can clinch the Six Nations Grand Slam, The Kingslodge Inn has been proudly supporting The Durham University colleges Van Mildert and Josephine Butler’s Women’s Rugby Football Club, Combined Milbut as their shirt sponsor.

Flass Vale pub The Kingslodge Inn’s lions and logo graced the distinctive black, red and gold team shirts of the Combined Milbut players who have finished second in Durham University's Intra-University Premiership comprising of teams from all 16 of the University's colleges. 

General manager of The Kingslodge Inn on Waddington Street, Leanne Jeffrey said: “We would like to congratulate all the players, coaches and supporters of Milbut for a great league result. We jumped at the chance to become the shirt sponsors of Milbut and to be able to support such a great team of sportswomen and their connections.

“They have had a phenomenal season which is testament to their hard work training and some gutsy performances on the pitch. Well done ladies! We look forward to welcoming you into The Kingslodge Inn for some well deserved celebratory drinks soon!” 

Claudia MacDonald, corporate and social secretary of Combined Milbut said: “We have absolutely loved having The Kingslodge Inn as our sponsor, the additional investment in the team has allowed us to increase our professionalism, and improve our facilities for training. 

“Milbut only lost one game and completed the season in second place in the league and were winners of the Floodlit Cup. Five of our first-years, who had previously never played rugby before, have also progressed through to University level, an achievement we are very proud of.

“We hope that Milbut will continue to provide a stepping stone into higher level rugby, and an environment within which players can be introduced to the fantastic game of rugby, and given the right support to develop as a player. 

“We cannot thank The Kingslodge enough for their support of our team and hope this will continue next season."

Granny Knows Best - The Inn Collection Group and Abbeyfield celebrate British Pie Week

British Pie Week The Kingslodge Inn Abbeyfield

Granny Knows Best
The Inn Collection Group and Abbeyfield celebrate British Pie Week

Grandma is said to always know best, and The Inn Collection Group is setting out to prove the adage with the launch of a competition to track down the perfect pie.

The Kingslodge Inn and The Seaton Lane Inn, both in County Durham, have teamed up with older people’s charity, The Abbeyfield Society, to hunt out the most traditional and imaginative recipes in celebration of British Pie Week taking place between March 6-12.

Grandparents, older people and Abbeyfield residents are being asked to play their part in the quest to search out the tastiest time-honoured and home-grown pie recipes.

From formulations unique to the North East to sweet and savoury classics, it is hoped the over-65s will get behind what promises to be a delicious celebration of culinary know-how and British food heritage, that’s also set to raise funds for the national Abbeyfield charity.

The star recipe as judged by The Kingslodge and The Seaton Lane’s expert team of chefs, will not only be championed as a British Pie Week special on both the inns’ home-cooked menus, but see money raised from sales going direct to Abbeyfield to help support its work to ease loneliness in older people.

The victor will win a three-course meal for two at either The Kingslodge Inn in historic Durham City or The Seaton Lane Inn in the village of Seaton, just minutes from the county’s dramatic heritage coast.

The competition is part of a wider Granny Knows Best campaign being rolled out nationally by Abbeyfield, honouring the older generations’ culinary expertise and excellence.

The Kingslodge Inn general manager, Leanne Jeffrey, said: “When it comes to pies, it really is true that granny knows best. We’re hoping people will get in touch with us with recipes that will take diners back to the flavours and textures they remember from childhood.”

Paul Brown, general manager at The Seaton Lane Inn, added: “We’re looking for recipes for pies made the traditional way, using traditional techniques and ingredients – whether they’re sweet or savoury – and with that extra dollop of love that goes into a recipe that’s been passed down and eaten by generations.

“We’re looking forward to linking up with Abbeyfield for the project and we’re excited to see what our senior cooks come up with to share with diners.”

This will be the second time The Inn Collection Group – which owns The Kingslodge and The Seaton Lane – has joined forces to support Abbeyfield, after throwing  a free three-course festive meal to over 80 older people living alone, as part of the charity’s Companionship at Christmas campaign to bring food and friendship to isolated older people.

Abbeyfield’s divisional director for the north Teresa Parker said: “This is a fantastic chance to revive once-loved pie recipes, celebrate all that’s good about North East food and drink, bring people together, and get Abbeyfield residents and older members of our communities cooking and hopefully having lots of fun with family and friends.

 “Pies are as quintessentially British as fish and chips and roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and we want to celebrate everything that is good about the sort of old-fashioned, homely cooking that has brought families together for generations.

“Even better, this competition won’t just raise awareness about our proud culinary heritage, but much needed funds for Abbeyfield so we can continue to ensure that people’s golden years are among the happiest of their lives.” 

Teresa added: “We’re delighted with the support we’re receiving from both The Kingslodge Inn and The Seaton Lane Inn, and their recognition of the input older people have in society. Projects like this help to get older people out into the community, which enriches their lives. It also reminds them that they are wanted and needed, and still have an important role to play.

“We’re looking forward to practising the recipes in our kitchens here at Abbeyfield before they are submitted – and of course feasting on the results.”

If you are aged 65 and over you can submit your pie recipe in person to either The Kingslodge Inn on Waddington Street, Durham or The Seaton Inn on Seaton Lane in Seaton; by email to or or by post, addressed to Leanne Jeffreys, The Kingslodge Inn, Waddington Street, Flass Vale, Durham City, DH1 4BG or Paul Brown, The Seaton Inn, Seaton Lane, Seaton, Co Durham SR7 0LP.

The closing date for entries is Thursday March 2.



The King's Head Inn backs veteran’s gruelling Everest-height climb of Topping for critically injured local girl

The Kings Head Inn Newton under Roseberry Maisie Welsh Roseberry Topping Chris Hames

The King’s Head Inn is backing a serving Army Captain who is set to climb iconic landmark Roseberry Topping 30 times in 24 hours – the equivalent to scaling Everest on February 25 and 26 - to raise funds for an 11-year-old girl critically injured in a riding accident.

The King’s Head Inn in Newton under Roseberry is providing round-the-clock refreshments and accommodation for Gulf war, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Capt Christopher Hames who is raising funds for local girl, Maisie Welsh. Maisie was left blind in one eye and sustained life-changing facial injuries following the accident three months ago and now needs years of painful, reconstructive facial surgery.

The challenge will see Chris take on a climb higher than Everest summit from its base camp as he ascends and descends the famous ‘Matterhorn of the North’. The challenge will take place over difficult, rocky terrain during night and day, covering a minimum of 56-miles and 17,010 feet of climb and descent. Everest summit from base camp is 11,377 feet. 

Admitting this will be one of the toughest physical challenges he has faced, Chris, 46, a serving officer with The Royal Army Physical Training Corps, said: “I’ve had some pretty epic challenges over my 29-years in the Army, but this will be up there as being one of the toughest. It will be worth every step to raise funds to support Maisie and her family who have had their lives turned upside down.

“Just days before the accident I saw Maisie play football with my daughter. It goes to show how quickly things can change for any of us. Everything has changed for her and her family and support is needed in so many ways. Maisie is fully aware of the extent of her injuries and with a huge amount of help is slowly coming to terms with them. She is a fighter but she still has to undergo so much throughout the rest of her life.”

The King’s Head Inn, part of The Inn Collection Group, will also be serving up a two-course special ‘Meals for Maisie’ throughout the weekend from Friday to Sunday night, with £1 from every special meal sold going to the Chris fundraising appeal. The pub is staging a raffle and will be running fundraising activities. 

General manager Chris Moor said: “As a father myself my heart goes out to Maisie and her family. We are in absolute awe of Chris’s challenge and are delighted to be able to support him and assist in raising much-needed funds for Maisie and her family at such a difficult time.

“We’re hoping for a great turnout of support from people to come and use us a base to cheer Chris on and to help raise as much money as we can for such a remarkable young lady as Maisie.”

Maisie’s father Adam Welsh said: “It’s a very special thing that Chris is doing for Maisie and we can’t thank him enough and to The King’s Head Inn for their support. It has been a very difficult time for our family and the fact that people are prepared to go to such lengths to support us is appreciated by us all.”

Chris’s 24-hour Moving Mountains for Maisie begins on Saturday February 25 at 1200 hrs from the gate to Roseberry Topping.  Meals for Maisie and fundraising activities will take place at The King’s Head Inn from Friday February 24 onwards.

·      Donations to the challenge can be made at