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January 2020

My first Mayoral engagement of 2020 was the Durham University Winter Congregation, where we congratulated those that had graduated from the university this year. Attending these services are always a joy, celebrating the success of the students hard work.

I often receive invitations to attend different shows and performances, and was especially pleased to attend Full Circle’s performance of In the Middle of Our Street.  Full Circle is a local learning disabled-led theatre company who celebrated their 10th anniversary and the show explored what adulthood and independence means to them. What a fabulous performance!  

I joined representatives from Catalyst and Stockton-on-Tees CCG at the Heart Support anniversary celebration.  The group offers a brilliant service in not only supporting those with a heart condition, but also working to dispel loneliness in our community. The group offers exercise classes for residents of the Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool areas who are affected by a heart condition, and also holds various social events for its members such as quizzes and race nights. It was a pleasure to celebrate their hard work and I am looking forward to seeing what they achieve over the coming year.

Mayor with others at heart support event

Hadrian Park Care Home invited me to open their new bar and I was delighted to accept. The facilities at Hadrian Park are a testament to the dedication and hard work of the team to ensuring that there are great spaces where residents can socialise.  The team listened to residents wishes for a bar area and made it a reality.  The bar looks wonderful and I am sure that it will be well used, bringing much pleasure to all the residents and visitors. 

The 4th Infantry Brigade & Headquarters North East invited me to their Army Engagement Group’s “Your Army” presentation which explained how they train and prepare for operations world-wide and some of the challenges they face today.

As always, I continue to support my fellow civic from across the North East by attending their events. Sedgefield’s Dance for Dementia, Spennymoor’s Civic Dinner, and Hartlepools and Ferryhill’s Charity Burns Night were all enjoyable occasions.

The end of January saw in the Chinese New Year, which this year is the Year of the Rat. We were invited to celebrate with the Tees Valley Chinese Community Centre. There were speeches and musical performance and what looked like a wonderful feast, however we were unable to stay for the food as we had another engagement to get to – the Butterwick Hospice’s Annual Thanksgiving Service at Greens Lane Methodist Church. This was a very special service, reflecting on the work of its inspirational founder and Freeman of the Borough Mary Butterwick, and all those who continue to work at the hospice to carry out her vision.

Nationwide have been a fixture of Stockton High Street for 40 years and I was delighted to join them at their birthday celebrations.

Mayor Hall in Nationwide branch with birthday decorations and staff

Yarm Luncheon Club meets once a fortnight to provide not only meals but a social event for those over 65. Set up and run by volunteers for the last 15 years, it is the social highlight for many who attend. I therefore felt very privileged to attend the club at the end of the month to thank the founders, Diane and Cath, for their hard work and dedication.

All in all January had been another busy month!


Mayors Ball

On Friday 7 February I hosted a charity Dinner Dance at Wynyard Hall’s Grand Marquee to raise funds for my nominated charities. It is the biggest event in my fundraising calendar, with nearly 440 people attending on the night from all over the North East including my fellow Civics, businesses, partners, and council members. It was a fantastic evening with delicious food, fabulous entertainment from The Jerseys who travelled all the way from Blackpool to pack the dance floor, and some wonderful lots that guests bid for in the live auction and silent auction. My guests also had opportunities to win hundreds of prizes on the tombola, raffle and envelope draw!

All the prizes were donated by local businesses, fellow councillors, and staff, so a big thank you goes to everyone who contributed.