Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Week Commencing 3 April 2017

5 April 2017 From humble beginnings at 36 Mitre Street, Parkfield, Stockton…

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On the 5 April 2017 it was a privilege and great honour to represent the Borough of Stockton on Tees as the Mayor.

Laraine and I will do our utmost to support Stockton Borough during the Mayoral year and to carry out our civic duties to the best of our ability.

I thanked the members of the Council for my appointment, particular thanks to Councillors, Bill Woodhead MBE and Ben Houchen for their kind words, in support of my nomination, it was much appreciated.

I thanked Council officers for the tremendous support they gave us during our term of office as Deputy Mayor and Mayoress and especially our drivers who kept us entertained with their expertise throughout the year, nothing was too much trouble, an excellent professional team.

On the day we were privileged with the support of Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant, Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Civic, and Honoured Guests, Members and Officers of the Council, young people, friends and family.

It is a day we shall never forget, and enjoyed the moment to the days end.

Just a bit about who we are and what we are about. I am a Stocktonian married to Laraine for over 47 years.

I was born in the Parkfield area of Stockton and attended Bowesfield Lane School for Boys. My first role in employment was as junior assistant in the Stockton Education Office in Dovecot Street.

My desire at the time was to become an Engineer therefore I left my post to commit myself to further Education at Constantine College where through due process eventually qualified as a Chartered Engineer. In the 80’s times got a bit tough and someone said get on your bike and to seek better opportunities, so I DID. I worked in the manufacturing, construction, and power related industries for over 45 years. The last 20 of those years was employed as Project Manager on assignments in Europe, Middle East, Singapore, South East Asia and New Zealand. 

In 2005 I was privileged to become a councillor, representing the Fairfield Ward. One can say that I’ve gone the full circle of my career, starting and finishing with Stockton Council. 

These days my hobbies are divided between, tennis, bowls, reading and walking, with some golf when time allows. With other colleagues we run a tennis club in Billingham who play in the Cleveland Tennis League, and try to encourage the development of junior tennis within the area. 

Laraine my wife was born in Thornaby and educated at the St Patricks school on Lanehouse Road, developed her private secretarial skills with local Construction companies and also spent time in the Architects department in Stockton Council. She eventually sought the solace of a greater adventure in her life, assisting me in some remote and desolate places of the world, which was much appreciated. Apart from living an ex pat’s life she spent time in the provinces of Sarawak and Kalimantan in Borneo and Singapore, doing voluntary work with handicapped children. She also helped with voluntary work in Mount Elisabeth’s Hospital and took time out to write articles for the British Association magazine in Singapore. At present she is assisting with voluntary work in University Hospital of North Tees, Stockton. 

Our Chaplain for the year will be Reverend Martin Anderson who will guide us through faith events and we thank him for coming on board. Our chosen three main charities for the year will be:  Motor Neuron Disease Association, Cleveland Alzheimer’s Residential Centre and  Meningitis Now, we also wish to promote a number of smaller local charities that struggle to get support. I think it is important for you to know something about our proposed charities and the people who will help us to fulfil our goals. 

Our First Charity is Cleveland Alzheimer’s Residential Care Centre Ltd

Throughout Stockton Borough there are over 2000 people who are affected by some form of Dementia and the figure is increasing year by year.

The most common of these are Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Dementia, which are created due to problems with the blood supply to the brain and build-up of plaques which disrupts how the nerve cells work which eventually the cells could die.

With our charity work would give us the opportunity to make sure Stockton is at the forefront of helping people affected by Dementia and their families to ensure services continue to be in a place so people can find their way around safely, access their familiar local facilities and maintain their social networks. 

Our Second Charity is Meningitis Now.

There is a misconception that Meningitis is a thing of the past.

The facts are:-

Meningitis can affect anyone. It is the inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord and can be caused by different organisms, including bacteria and viruses. 

There are about 500,000 people living in the UK who have had Meningitis. I don’t know the exact number in Stockton who have contacted this disease but more help needs to be done to provide the necessary vaccines especially to all children under the age of 2.

Every year thousands more lives are impacted, one in 10 who contact bacterial Meningitis lose their life and one in three are left with lifelong disability.

Bacterial Meningitis kills more under –five year olds than any other infectious disease in the UK – but it can affect anyone at any age, at any time. The disease can kill within hours and for those who survive, the aftermath can be devastating and lifelong.

Our charity work will help to make a difference to people facing the impact of Meningitis whilst helping to meet the challenges ahead and build the future for individuals and families. 

Our third charity is Motor Neurons Disease Association

Motor Neurone Disease is a progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. This means messages gradually stop reaching muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting.

Unfortunately as of yet there is no cure for this disease but research is ongoing.

It kills six people per day in the UK, this is just under 2200 per year and in recent years there is evidence to suggest the incidence of MND is increasing.

It kills a third within a year and more than half within two years of diagnosis, we are personally aware of this since Laraine lost two cousins to this horrible disease.

MND can affect any adult at any age but most people diagnosed with the disease are over the age of 40, with the highest incidence occurring between the ages of 50 to 70.

Our campaign is to raise funds and awareness so the needs of people with MND and everyone who cares for them, are recognised and addressed by the wider society. Until there is a cure for MND what matters most is that people living with the disease receive the right care in the right place at the right time. 

That been said about our proposed charities, we would welcome your support on any of the events that take place throughout the year in order to have positive inroads in making lives a lot easier for others. 

After the Annual Meeting we met with the carers of Wellburn House in Fairfield and presented them with flower arrangements as they deserve recognition for the dedicated work they do in helping and comforting the elderly in the home.

 

Thursday 6 April 2017 Attended the High Sherriff of Durham Awards at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham

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We were delighted to be invited to the High Sheriff of Durham award ceremony which took place at Bowes Museum. The event was to recognise Community and Voluntary groups from across the region that have been nominated for a special award to celebrate their outstanding achievements. The award scheme has been running for over 20 years in partnership with the High Sheriff, formerly known as the Shrievalty awards. County Durham Community Foundation, with the support of Sir James Knott Trust, provides grants that make a genuine difference to the lives of local people. They are dedicated to helping communities and encourage useful and beneficial pursuits for young people, supporting them to be upstanding citizens, creating opportunities and tackling issues of the disadvantaged but need the support of others to continue their work with local communities and individuals around the area. This is a worthwhile cause and hope it continues for a lot more years to come. We were also entertained by the CreamTea Youth Folk Band, formed in 2012 as part of the music at the Heart of Teesdale project, and gave an outstanding performance.

 

Friday 7 April 2017 Attended Hetton Town Council, Mayor’s Charity Brass Band Concert, at the Hetton Centre

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We were entertained by a group of expert musicians led by Musical Director Alan Seymour and guest performers to a special Brass Band Concert which was held in aid of Mayor David Wallace’s chosen charities, all performers donated their services for this occasion. The evening was very special and different and I’m sure everyone in attendance enjoyed this unique and enjoyable event.

 

Saturday 8 April 2017 Attended the Opening of the Fairytail Dress Shop in the Enterprise Arcade, High Street, Stockton

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We were welcomed by Alice Crallan, her daughter, son and partner at her Fairytail Dress, shop which is a wonderful addition to unit 10 of the Enterprise Arcade in Stockton Town centre. It was a pleasure to open the shop and meet Alice who is taking the opportunity to promote her business selling pre-loved prom and wedding dresses. All the dresses are under £100 and therefore will help people have a fairytail experience at an affordable price. I’m sure she will do well and we  wish her all the best for the future. 

Whilst mooching around the Enterprise Arcade we looked at several other businesses trading in the building such as Eyebrows, What a Mug, Shakes Ice cream, Homecut Designs, Carolyn’s Creations & Gifts and Just Believe.

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Met with talented artist Julia Powell of Just Believe, with her husband and son, Jason and Joseph, they showed us many of her works including cards crafted for all occasions and also produces paintings which can be customised to suit individual requests. Her work is unique and well worth a visit if you are looking for something different.

 

Sunday 9 April 2017 Attended the re-opening of Billingham Bowling Club at John Whitehead Park, Billingham

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We were delighted to officially open this fantastic bowling green and I’m sure that it is going to be well used and enjoyed by a great number of people. The new synthetic green is the first bowling surface in the Tees Valley and allows people to bowl 7 days a week 52 weeks of the year, weather permitting.

There’s been a bowling club in John Whitehead Park for over 64 years when the men’s section was created; this was followed by the ladies section some years later. This bowling club and their members are by nature very competitive but also very social. I can personally acknowledge this; since I bowl out of Ropner Park on a Thursday, the rivalry between both clubs have always been competitive and friendly. The bowls club owe a big debt of gratitude to Sports England for their financial assistance, alongside a grant from Impetus. Mike Dixon also mentioned the invaluable help afforded by Stockton Borough Council, both financial and in project management. Mike also thanked all the other people who were involved with this project to its ultimate conclusion.