‘Disappointment and a lot of anxiety’: Hexham on the prospect of Christmas Covid measures

"I do think there is great disappointment and a lot of anxiety around."

That's how Reverend David Glover, the rector of Hexham Abby, described the not-so-festive spirit in Northumberland just five days before Christmas.

He did so because on Monday 20 December, both Boris Johnson and his deputy Dominic Raab refused to rule out imposing stricter Covid rules before the 25th.

For many people and businesses, such uncertainty is putting a downer on festivities.

Tory MP for Bishop Auckland Dehenna Davison has urged her own leadership to reach a decision soon, thus enabling her constituents to make more concrete plans.

We speak with the people of Hexham to gauge the mood there.

Christmas dinner plans

At the Hexham County Hotel, Christmas turkey is still very much on the menu.

General manager Fiona Beck fully intends to be serving a full house of merry diners on Christmas Day, but says concerns over surging Covid cases have posed several challenges.

Twenty percent of bookings have been cancelled over the past couple of weeks, but issue is planning for a Christmas that may not go ahead.

Fiona Beck

"We were feeling really optimistic," she says. "People were really looking forward to us doing Christmas Day for the first time inside. 

"It covers everything from staffing levels to, in particular, fresh food.


No matter what, you'll always find a few last minute shoppers on the high street in the run up to Christmas.

We spoke to a few of them, who expressed their frustration and nervousness.


At Hexham Abby, Reverend Glover is hopeful and prepared for carol singing, nativities and Christmas Day mass to all go ahead with no further restrictions than those outlined in Plan B.

Reverend Glover

"We hope people that come would be social distanced and well protected. So, we hope - we plan - for the worst and hope for the best," he says.

"As it turns out, it looks like it might be the worst. But we should be safe enough to have services if we’re allowed to have them."