Published on 27.02.2023

Why Alnwick’s ‘special relationship’ is stronger than ever

Much is said about the state of the ‘special relationship’ between the USA and the UK, but here in Alnwick we are lucky that our own ‘special relationship’ between the two countries is stronger than ever.

This was apparent at the recent Shrove Tuesday Football Match where students from St Clouds State University in Minnesota who are based at Alnwick Castle, participated in the historical game and one of them, Nyah Adams, with the teamwork of her fellow students, landed the ball on the riverbank, giving her the right to claim it as a trophy.

Nyah then decided to hand the ball over to local youngsters who had taken part in the game, much to their delight. After the game, four of the American students were presented with awards for good play by the Shrovetide committee.


For Wade Sherman, the university’s Alnwick Resident Coordinator and Director, the fun and games of the Shrovetide football is nothing new – he first experienced it in 1996 when he was a student himself and is proud to say he is now a member of the Shrovetide Committee.

Wade said: “It is now a long-standing tradition that the Shrovetide Committee are invited to our base at the castle for pancakes before the match begins and that’s just one example of the cross-cultural interaction with the people of Alnwick that we value so highly.”

“I’ve now lived half my life in the UK – and in a castle too – how lucky am I!  We call ourselves a ‘castle campus’ and I’m immensely proud of the faculty and the work that the students do, both on their learning journey and within the local community. Our students have helped Alnwick in Bloom, the Lions Bookshop, HospiceCare North Northumberland and now Nyah is working with the Town Council.”

Nyah commented “The students have been welcomed wherever we go in Alnwick and I love the conversations we have with local people. When I first arrived and saw the castle it was just amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it and to be living in a castle is just so special. Our facilities have just been updated and we have a big modern kitchen and communal space – it really is ancient and modern!”

“I’m looking forward to the Coronation of King Charles – luckily, we will still be here as it is just before our semester finishes. I’m going to council meetings to gain an understanding of the work it does and I’m helping to organise a Coronation shop window competition. It’s all great experience for my degree in Mass Communication and Journalism and I love mixing with local people – they are so friendly and have made us feel very welcome.”

Alnwick Town Mayor Geoff Watson is delighted that Nyah wants to be involved with the Council’s Coronation plans; “It will be a memorable experience for us all and it will give Nyah a unique insight into British life. Saint Clouds State University has had a base in Alnwick since 1976 when the Castle ceased to be used as a teacher training college. I value the link between St Clouds and the town, – long may it continue!”