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Wheatley Hill Mothers’ club seen by millions of people on BBC1’s Countryfile

Wheatley Hill mothers club members Val Walker, Eleanor Carr, Barbara Saxby, Jean Thompson, Dorothy Peacock, Julie Briggs, Shelia Brown, Anne Pattison, Vera Hodgson and Claire Brown gather round the Mountain Ash tree.

Wheatley Hill mothers club members Val Walker, Eleanor Carr, Barbara Saxby, Jean Thompson, Dorothy Peacock, Julie Briggs, Shelia Brown, Anne Pattison, Vera Hodgson and Claire Brown gather round the Mountain Ash tree.

A LONG-ESTABLISHED women’s group was seen by millions of people when it featured on a nature show.

Wheatley Hill Mothers’ Club marks its 65th anniversary this year and it featured in a Mother’s Day section of BBC1’s Countryfile on Sunday.

Easington-born presenter Matt Baker visited members and helped them to plant a commemorative mountain ash tree in the ground of the Greenhills Centre, in Wheatley Hill.

Matt told viewers he was “back on home turf” in County Durham, which is “home to arresting landscapes, a lost world of industry and my mum”.

He said the club had been “faithfully serving the local community since it was founded on the advice of a health visitor in 1949” and that their aim is to promote people’s enjoyment of the area and protect green spaces.

Matt spoke to club chairwoman Dorothy Peacock, saying: “Is it fair to say in the nicest possible way you are a bit of a kind of mums’ mafia?”

Mrs Peacock replied: “Funnily enough, that’s what my brother-in-law calls us.”

Mrs Peacock, 75, told Matt the group had blocked plans for a landfill site in the village, describing how, since the pit closed, the club had been “the driving force behind trying to keep this village going”.

Matt chatted to youngest member Donna Lowther, 28, from Peterlee, and Vera Hodgson, 89, a founder member and current club president, from Thornley, “who never misses a Wednesday night social” at Wheatley Hill Workingmen’s Club.

He also said it had been “an inspiration” to meet the women and wished them a Happy Mother’s Day.

 

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