About Us

Up! Community Group is based in lovely Cullercoats, a tiny north-east ex-fishing village dating back to the 16th century. From the seafront, 200 metres from our home, you look out at the big, wide world, and this is our intent with Up! We are outward looking and sincerely hope that, like the passing ships we see every day, many of you will come into port and decide to stay aboard. Up ahoy!

The Team

Bridget Gallagher

Bridget co-founded and co-edits Up! Magazine and also co-runs Up! Community Group. She completed an MA in Creative Writing during Lockdown and is working on her first novel. In addition she enjoys writing poetry and short stories, singing and playing the concertina. Bridget has finally accepted that she is, in fact, a Creative – a word she has eventually come to embrace. She also enjoys creating order out of chaos and looks after the day-to-day management of Up!

Harry Gallagher

Co-editor Harry is a writer living in Cullercoats with several poetry books to his name. He runs the Tyne and Wear stanza of the Poetry Society and is on the poetry editorial team of the online Morning Star. On any given weekday he can be seen wandering around the highways and byways of his home village, pad and pen in hand, musing and dreaming of coffee and cake. The good folk of Cullercoats are thankfully a tolerant bunch.

Penny Blackburn

Penny is originally from Yorkshire but has lived in her adopted home of North Tyneside for over 25 years and is proud to be called an ‘honorary North Easterner’. She teaches young adults in a local FE college and spends her spare time writing, swimming, cross stitching and doing Zumba. She hopes this doesn’t read like a bad dating profile …

Ruth Donnan

Originally from Northern Ireland, Ruth has been a North East resident for over 30 years now. She loves her new home, especially when walking her grandpup Orla (it means Golden Princess) on our amazing beaches, looking for sea glass treasure. In a challenging last few years she was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer just a few days before the pandemic. After the initial shock (it sometimes takes a real shake up to appreciate the important things in life) she decided to try and keep as positive as possible for whatever time she had left. Thanks to the knowledge, skills and support of our beloved NHS she is still here and getting used to living life with cancer and a stoma. It is all possible. She is happy doing the simple things and enjoys time with family and friends, support from Maggies Cancer Centre and is now back to work as an Occupational Therapist in Older People’s Mental Health Service. It’s not always easy but she believes there is always a wee glimmer of positivity in every situation, sometimes you just have to look hard to find it – just like sea glass.

Rob Wylie

Rob came to the North East from that there Yorkshire nearly thirty years ago. He works for the Methodist Church in two part time roles, one on the coast where he has set up a ‘church’ that moves around various local hostilaries! The other a more trad role in the city centre. Rob embraces his Yorkshire roots by supporting Leeds United. He is a bit of a music fan and loves live music and loves a good sing and is involved in Mariners and Marras. Rob also loves a good ale, and can often be found in his favourite pub with his wife, Karen, drinking in The Enigma tap in North Shields.