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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

April 2018

Wednesday 4th April 2018

Attended the Annual General Meeting of Stockton Borough Council and Mayoral Installation at The Forum Theatre Auditorium. Billingham Forum, The Causeway, Billingham.

After formal introductions to all guests I welcomed everyone to the Annual General Meeting of Stockton Borough Council for 2018. After apologies for absence I gave a huge thank you to those that were recognised in this year’s Civic Awards. These are the unsung heroes of Stockton on Tees who have made a positive difference to communities across the Borough. This was to be my final engagement as the Mayor of Stockton, to present winners of each of the categories with their awards at this meeting. Now in its seventh year, the Civic Awards highlight both individuals and groups who set an inspiring example to others through their effort and determination.

Yet again, the quality of nominations across all categories has been exceptional and as a member of the Awards Panel tasked with choosing an overall winner for each of the categories, I can testify to how difficult it was to choose the winners. Due to the high standard of nominations that we had to introduce some joint winners and special awards this year. It was humbling to meet all of those amazing people who do so much to help and support our communities in all manner of ways. We are very lucky to have such a strong community spirit across Stockton on Tees; it is what makes our borough very special. 

It gave me great pleasure to present each in turn with a certificate and their award as a thank you for their achievements. The worthy winners were;

 

Young Persons Award – Savannah Hounsome.

Savannah, 18 provides support and inspiration to look after young people, those leaving care, and fostered young people across the Borough. She has worked hard to raise young people’s views, shaping council services.

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Savannah Hounsome

 

Services to the Community Award – Individual – John Christie.

John who is the landlord of The Golden Smog, the first micro pub in Stockton. John through the efforts of the pub has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity through such events as Teesside Brew Fest and Palegrimage. Recipients have included Teesside Hospice and Great North Air Ambulance, as well as numerous other businesses and events happening in Stockton, and is a proud advocate for the town.

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John Christie

 

Services to the Community Award – Groups/Organisations – Soroptimist International.

The determined group of women work tirelessly together to raise money and support organisations across the Borough including local women’s refuges, homeless projects, dementia awareness groups and The Butterwick Hospice, among others.

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Caroline Allread and Maureen Brown were presented with the award.

 

Services to the Community Award – Groups /Organisations – St Mary’s Advent Calendar Team.

The other joint winner in this category is St Mary’s Advent Calendar Team. They were involved in a real community project involving St Mary’s Church, Norton businesses, school children and teachers, ward councillors and residents, to deliver a new Christmas event. Each day throughout December participating businesses around Norton displayed Advent and residents collected stickers to complete an advent map to be entered into prize draw to win gifts. Over 112 residents completed the trail.

Mary and Mike Rawson were presented with the award.

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Mike and Mary Rawson.

 

Services to the Community Award – Business – Jacobs Engineering.

 Jacobs Engineering is a global technical and management consultancy company who employ around 250 people. In 2017 the company rolled out a detailed placement programme for young people across the Tees Valley which gave students a taste of jobs within the engineering sector, helped build their confidence and taught them new skills.

Mike brown received the award.

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Mike Brown

 

Services to the Community Award – Business – Wilton Engineering Services.

The other joint winner was Wilton Engineering Services who provide a wide range of services for the offshore and offshore energy industries. The company has close ties with the community – encouraging local schools to visit their facility to learn about industry. The company has also raised thousands of pounds for charity, mentored smaller businesses and has even built a reindeer sleigh which makes sure Santa visits Port Clarence every Christmas.

John Price and Caroline Wilton received the award.

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John Price and Caroline Wilton.

 

Health and Wellbeing Award – David Munt.

Dave Munt is a passionate angler and has 50 years promoting this sport as a way to improve health and wellbeing. He is best known for the work he has done to improve access to the sport for vulnerable people or those with disabilities – including coaching looked after children and veterans with complex and mental health needs.

Dave Munt was presented with his award.

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Dave Munt

 

The Green Award – Clarence Horticultural Centre.

In just a few years this group has transformed allotments in Port Clarence from a waste ground into a wonderful, award winning, horticultural centre of excellence. A classroom environment has enabled residents, young and old, to learn about gardening and growing food. Apprentices have been able to gain valuable skills such as building raised beds. The allotments have won the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom level five awards for the last four years.

Deryck and Barry from the team were presented with the award.

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Deryck and Barry

 

Carer / Foster Carer Award – Kathleen Mitchel.

Kathleen has been an approved foster carer with the Council for over 21 years, fostering over 50 children with Stockton, ranging from respite and temporary placements to long-term arrangements. Many of the children have been sibling groups and the young person Kath currently looks after has lived with Kath for over 10 years on a permanent placement. She is now 20 years old and with Kath on a ‘staying put’ arrangement.

Kathleen Mitchel received the award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kathleen Mitchel

 

Carer / Foster Carer Award – Trish and Kenny Leishman

Trisha and Kenny are approved to care for babies and toddlers, and in their 24 years’ service they have successfully moved children on to adoptive placements or back home to their birth parents. They are very empathetic with birth families and work well with birth parents and extended family members, promoting and supporting contact.

Trisha and Kenny were presented with their award.

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Kenny and Trish Leishman.

 

Carer / Foster Carer Award – Sheila Branson.

The panel also recognised Sheila Branson, Sheila has fostered around 20 young people over 23 years as a single carer across a mix of placements from emergency to long-term. Sheila has skills in calming troubled waters, and has a natural ability to soothe and relax teenagers who are facing stressful, volatile situations. Many young people have said that Sheila has helped to transform their lives through her non-judgemental, accepting approach.

Sheila could not be with us on the day but we made sure she received her award.

 

Special Carer Award – Ivy Lee.

The panel also gave a Special Carer / Foster Carer Award to Ivy Lee.

Ivy is seven years old and has shared her parents with numerous children who have not been able to live with their birth families. Ivy is a caring, kind and compassionate young lady who has tried her hardest to be understanding towards the children who have lived with her family. Ivy tried her hardest to be positive and to help the young person, sharing her toys and books, showing them the how to behave and explain the household rules. She is a positive role model in supporting her parents in their fostering role.

Ivy was presented with her special award.

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Ivy lee

 

The Special Business Award this year went to – Chris Musgrave.

This award recognises someone who has a reputation for ‘making things happen’. The media has given Chris a variety of titles including ‘business visionary’, ‘forward thinking entrepreneur and ‘regeneration specialist’.

Back in 2014 Teesside was left stunned when electronics giant Samsung announced the closure of its factories at Wynyard with the loss of over 400 jobs. It was a devastating blow for the region’s economy. But fast forward to today and that initial ‘negative’ has been transformed into a huge positive for the Tees Valley – thanks to the person who is being presented with this ‘Special Business Award’.

The site has become Wynyard Park Ltd, attracting hundreds of millions of pounds in private investment, home to international companies such as Aventador registered on the New York stock exchange-who relocated staff from Geneva, Nortech, Fabricom, Clipper and many others. The business park now employs almost a thousand people in a wide variety of jobs providing great opportunities for local people. It’s unique housing development to enhance the reputation of this area. He has also led on many other successful schemes such as the redevelopment of the Visqueen site in Stockton and assisting Nifco to build their new factories in Eaglescliffe.

He is a great supporter and ambassador for our Borough, contributing to our own economic growth plan and taking what he has learned through his experiences here to help benefit other areas of the country – developing a thriving new science and technology park, called ‘Discovery Park’ at Sandwich, Kent – which was described by the Government Communities Department as ‘one of Europe’s leading science, technology and business enterprise parks’.

He has been a generous and consistent supporter of our mayor’s charities over the last 15 years and is a silent low profile supporter and benefactor of many others in our area. Whilst he may have Hartlepool roots his role and contribution to the regeneration, growth and betterment of our Borough through tough times has been exceptional and therefore on behalf of the Council I was delighted to present this special achievement award to Mr Chris Musgrave of Wynyard Park Ltd.

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Chris Musgrave

 

Business  Awards:

Fifteen of Stockton on Tees oldest businesses were recognised for their contributions to the Borough. The companies, which have a combined age of 1950 years, were commended for their efforts in employing local people and helping put the Borough on the map. It was a privilege to present these awards to such a fantastic group of businesses that have worked so hard for so long. I know there’ll be a lot of the Borough’s residents who have worked for one or more of the companies at some point in their lives and that goes to show how much of a widespread impact they have had on the Borough across the decades. The oldest company to be recognised was Newbys Solicitors. The business, based on Stockton’s Finkle Street, was established in 1725 by Attorney Thomas Raisbeck, who later became the Mayor of Stockton on Tees.

The companies that were recognised:

Newby’s Solicitors – Established 1725.

JB Smith – Established 1832.

Pickerings Lifts – Established 1854.

Stickland and Holt, Yarm – Established 1854.

Jacksons Law Firm – Established 1876.

Harrison Packaging, Thornaby – Established 1882.

M. Arrowsmith Ltd, Stockton – Established 1885.

Francis Brown Engineering, Stockton – Established 1903.

Bains Jewitt, Stockton – Established 1907.

Tomlinson Hall, Billingham – Established 1919.

Amos Swift & Co. Ltd, Stockton – Established 1926.

Lucite International, Billingham – Established 1933.

KW Devereux, Billingham – Established 1937.

Billingham Press, Billingham – Established 1942.

Stockton Castings, Stockton – Established 1947.

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Members of the oldest companies in Stockton receiving their awards.

 

Customer Services Awards – Civic Recognition.

The Customer Service Awards are for Stockton on Tees Borough Council staff who have been a shining example of outstanding customer service.

 

First was the Pride of Stockton Award Winner – Rosanne Eeles (Passenger Assistant).

Rosanne or ‘Nan’ as she is known, works as a passenger assistant in one of the most sensitive and, what can be, highly charged environments within the council providing essential services to some of the most vulnerable client groups, driving day service clients to and from Allensway and the Halcyon centre as a Passenger Assistant.

Rosanne was presented with her award.

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Rosanne Eeles

 

The Team Award Winners – Lanark Close.

Lanark Close provide short breaks for any adult living within the Borough who has an identified learning disability. The service supports and encourages people to access activities within the community but also provides a range of activities within the unit.

Lanark Close members were presented with their award.

 

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Members of Lanark Close

 

The Council Star Employee Award – Philip Hardie (Street Lighting Technician).

Phillip was appointed to the role of Street Lighting Customer Liaison Officer when the Council embarked on a £14 million invest to save scheme 2015. Phillips  willingness to take on new skills, continually develop and test himself, whilst providing the best service he can for the Authority, are just a few reasons why he was chosen as recipient of this year’s Star Employee Award.

Phillip was presented with his award.

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Philip Hardie

 

The Extra Mile Award winner – Katherine McDonagh Libraries and Information Assistant).

Katherine was awarded the Extra Mile Award due to her work at Eaglescliffe Library and the positive impact she had with customers prior to its closure. Katherine is now working in the Stockton Central Library as Libraries and Information Assistant, where she continues with her strong dedication and forward thinking, always bringing new ideas to the table.

Katherine couldn't be with us on the day unfortunately; however we made sure she received her award.

 

Long Service Awards.

I recognised the contribution of the following long serving staff who have achieved 25 years’ service within the local authority by presenting them with a certificate of achievement.

Robert Cowell, Senior Environmental Protection Officer

Mark Freeman, Libraries and Information Service Manager

Judy Trainer, Team Leader (Electoral Services)

Dianne Wright, Technician

 

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Robert, Mark, Judy and Dianne.

 

Appointment of the New Mayor

Following the Mayors Civic Awards the new Mayor for 2018/2019,  Councillor Eileen Johnson was sworn in with Councillor Paul Kirton as the Mayors Consort. After the appointment of the new Mayor, Councillors Mathew Vickers and Lynn Hall gave a vote of thanks to the retiring Mayor for the admirable way in which I had discharged my duties during my term of office, after which I was invited to address the meeting. 

Retiring Mayors Address AGM 2018

The day had arrived to depart with long, warm special memories.

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Delivering my address at the AGM

 

I gave thanks to Mathew and Lynn for their kind words, it was much appreciated. 

Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant, Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Civic Guests, Honoured Guests, Members and Officers of the Council, Ladies and Gentlemen, Young people of the Borough.

What a year we’ve had it’s been absolutely fantastic. We have thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many wonderful, extraordinary and fascinating people during the year, a year that has been filled with so many exciting memories for my wife Laraine and I, visiting some memorable places and attending a wide variety of events and engagements.

We’ve tried to capture our moments to all that has happened in the year attending over 300 events, as can be seen by visiting the Mayors Blog on SBC web page. There has been a multifarious amount of magical moments that has been bestowed on us throughout the year such as:

The privilege of hosting visits from both Lord Lieutenants, High Sheriff and other civic Guests: to receiving delegations from China and Japan, to meeting our wonderful Carers, with their hard work and commitment, making a real difference to children’s lives, visiting schools and meeting so many young children and be able to explain the role of the Mayor and how their voice and future aspirations matter to this Borough, Celebrating the success of so many new and established businesses, engaging with our Forces, and visiting care Homes.

During one of our visits to the relaunching of St Martins Woodside Grange Care Home in Thornaby, that provides support to people with physical, emotional and Health issues. The guest speaker was Simon Weston who sustained horrific injuries during the Falklands War and gave his account of how his body was reconstructed with major surgery, the mental trauma that he went through, the many years of rehabilitation and the wonderful dedicated care that was given by a lot of people to put him on the road to recovery. He paid a special tribute to the caring and nursing staff during hospitalisation and with a cheeky smile gave an account of an incident in an isolation ward after many hours of major surgery. He recalled that he was encased from head to foot in bandages and cushions with wires fix to his body, face and everywhere else and tubes coming out of his nose, mouth and bottom, Michelin man personified and couldn’t move or speak, he could only move his eyes. He noted that behind a glass screen there were a couple of squaddies who were recovering from injuries in another room next to his but were playing with a football. The next thing that happened was the screen smashed to crystals and the ball passed over his head, he was covered in glass. The squaddies ran into the room asked if he was ok, with no reply, pushed the ball under his bed and ran off. The duty nurse who heard the noise came into the room looked at the smashed screen, with crystal glass all over the place, looked up and down the corridors and rooms and then noticed the football under Simons bed and with a serious word said to Simon ‘did you do this’. Simon said she was a lovely carer but not the brightest candle on the Christmas tree.

From my perspective Simon Weston is one of my super heroes, a wonderful man

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With Simon Weston at Woodside Grange Home in Thornaby

 

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With Staff, Opening Willow Gardens Care Home in Norton Road, Norton

 

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Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Emily Thompson at the Piper Court Care Home in Stockton

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Celebrating Dementia Voices at Live Well Dementia Hub in Thornaby with organisers

 

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Dementia Friends at the James Cooke Conference suite, Stockton Borough Council

 

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Celebrating an afternoon at Victoria House Care Home in Stockton – Congratulating a wonderful singer who sang a number of Vera Lynne tunes which was very pleasant

 

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With staff members of the Victoria House Care Home in Stockton

 

 

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Celebrating with the Zumba Group in Grays Road Stockton

 

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With residents at the opening of the Bistro at the Beeches Care Home in Greens Lane Stockton

 

 

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Billingham Forum 50th Celebrations with the Intergrated Care Team  - A wonderful bunch of people

 

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Opened the indoor Garden Café at the Ingleby Barwick Care Home – In the sensory Garden with residents and carers

 

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Celebrating Alan Banks 25 years living at Park House Rest Home in Richmond Road, Stockton

 

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With Hillary Maddren, prolific campaigner at the Motor Neurones Disease Charity event at Cherry Hill Nursery, near Stokesley

 

 

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The gathering of Civics at the Richmond Meet North Yorkshire

 

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Richmond Meet Charity – Dr Rosie Page, the daughter of Alf White the well known Yorkshire Vet, being presented with a cheque for the Herriot Hospice Homecare

 

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Attended the Junction Farm Primary School Assembly in Eaglescliffe – With some of the junior pupils, very intelligent indeed

 

 

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Presented a Civic Dinner for Fujifilm representatives at Preston Hall in Eaglescliffe

 

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Tour of the Borough with The High Sheriffs of Durham and North Yorkshire, Caroline Peacock and Simon Wrightson – At the Porsche Centre in Stockton

 

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We wish

 

 

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Opened the Ivy Close Public House in Stockton

 

 

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Opening of the Nordic Product and Services in Stockton

 

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With traders at the relaunch of the Enterprise Centre – named the Fountain Shopping Mall

 

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Opening the newly named Fountain Shopping Mall in Stockton

 

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Opening of the refurbished George and Dragon Inn, Yarm

 

 

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Cutting the ribbon at the opening of the Boutique at Poppy’s in Stockton

 

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Opening the New Lidl Store in Junction Road, Norton

 

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Opening of All Things Wool in Silver Street Stockton

 

 

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Opening of the Biz Hub Enterprise Centre in Belasis Avenue in Billingham

 

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Opened the new Vision 25 at the Stockton Business Centre in Brunswick Street Stockton – With our friends enjoying the day

We got involved in Mayoral Charity events throughout the region, judged competitions, visited music events, engaged in monthly citizenship, and Stockton events.

 

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The magnificent 7 at the Air Trail Charity Climb for Eastern Ravens - Raring to go

 

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Macmillan Coffee Morning charity appeal – With our Democratic Services Team

 

 

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Air Trail Charity Event – Presentation of a cheque to the Eastern Raverns

 

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Judged the Stockton Borough Council Photograph competition – winning entry from Michelle Williams

 

 

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Mayors Golf Day Charity event – Presentation of the winners cup to Neasham Refrigeration team

 

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Mayors Casino Charity Night – The girls from Coburn Town N/Yorkshire, they know how to party and a very pleasant set of Civics

 

 

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Attended the Sunflower Cognitive Therapies Charity Ball at Wynyard Hall, Stockton. Catherine Burrell, Managing Director of Cognative Therapies belting out a James Bond theme tune

 

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Mayors Charity Duck Race – There seemed to be ducks everywhere

 

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Mayoress with Mrs Valerie Moody MBE Education Liaison Officer for the Showman’s Guild at their annual Charity Luncheon

 

 

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Maise Wright of St Patrick’s School in Thornaby, winner of the book review of the year award

 

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Attended the Stockton Riverside College’s Performance of Oliver at the ARC in Dovecote Street, Stockton – Cast of Oliver

 

 

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Mike McGrother belting out some Bob Dylan tunes at the ARC, with the Invictus Choir

 

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Opened the Bob Dylan Exhibition at the ARC in Stockton with Mike Peters and his wife and Jim Beall

 

 

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Attended the Billinham Coral Society 66 years celebration at St John’s School Hall in Cowpen Lane, Billingham. – With Hauke Scholten leader of the Die Lerchen Youth Choir from Germany, guests of the Society

 

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Attended the Tees Valley Music Services Gala at the Stockton Baptist Tabernacle

 

 

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Attended the Stockton Stage Society’s production of Calamity Jane at the Billingham Forum Theatre – The cast gave a wonderful performance and would live with any West End Show, it was fantastic

 

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Attended the Ingleby Dance School’s performance at ‘Around the World’ at the ARC, Stockton, with the stars of the show

 

 

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With family and friends at the performance of Jersey Boys at the Sunderland Empire at the request of the Mayor of Sunderland Mrs Doris MacNight

 

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Hosted the Monthly Citizenship at the Town Hall in Stockton

 

What more can be said about our drive and passion for Stockton’s events, there was a full calendar of exciting activities happening in the Borough during the year. Whether you were a resident or a visitor there was plenty to choose from. We had Fire Engine and Vintage Vehicle display, to keep the family entertained, sporting events such as the Duathlon, River Rat Race, Dragon Boat Races, Tees Regatta, Cycling Festivals, our annual Stockton International Riverside Festival as well as our very own Stockton by the Sea in the High Street, as one  noted Costa del Stockton, this is a must again for this year as another resident requested, Stockton Firework Display and many more, which compliment other popular event programmes and activities offered by Stockton Council encouraging more people to visit the Borough. Yet again showing our commitment as a forward thinking town.

 

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Attended the Stockton International Riverside Festival – With the band in full flow.

 

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Attended the Tees Regatta  at the Riverside Watersports Centre in Stockton

 

 

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Attended and awarded prizes to the crews at the Tees Regatta, Watersports Centre in Stockton

 

 

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Attended the Billingham International Folklore Festival In Billingham – With fantastic arrangements of music and dance from groups around the world

 

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Stockton International Riverside Festival – Clowns making an impression

 

 

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Stockton’s Fire Engine and Vintage Vehicle Weekend – Always wanted to drive one of their vehicles

 

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Stockton Vintage Weekend – With our support team in Victorian dress

 

 

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Starting the Stockton Duathlon Festival, at the Riverside Stockton

 

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Stockton Duathlon Festival – Competitors ready for the off

 

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Opened the Stockton by the Sea in Stockton High Street – The children and grown-ups had a wonderful time

 

 

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Costa Del Stockton – Giving some advice on sand castle making

 

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Attended the Stockton Cycling Festival Grand Prix event at the Riverside in Stockton – At the start of the race

 

 

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Stockton’s Dragon Boat Race Event – Well rowed by all crews with some tight finishes

 

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Rat Race – Limbering up

 

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Stockton River Rat Race – starting the race in the rain

 

 

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Attended Stockton Borough Firework Display at the Riverside, Stockton

 

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Eid celebrations in Ropner Park Stockton

 

 

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With some of the friends of Ropner Park - EID celebrations

 

 

We attended civic and church services, spending a wonderful day at the Parish Church for the Mayors Sunday with our friend’s family, dignitaries and the wider community, it was amazing. We had 13  carol services, Chaired full council meetings, attended funerals, visited Boys Brigades, scouts, guides, sea cadets, cubs, beavers, brownie events, universities, colleges, including numerous award ceremonies.

 

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Mayors Sunday Service Parade from the Town Hall to the Parish Church in Stockton

 

 

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Sunday Service in the Parish Church grounds – With family and friends

 

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Start of the advent trail outside Norton Library

 

 

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Redcar and Cleveland Carol Service at St Nicholas Church Guisborough – Ings Farm Primary School Choir

 

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St Nicholas Church Guisborough

 

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Parish Church Stockton – Christmas is coming ensemble

 

 

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Girl Guides Carol Service at St Michaels Church Norton - Christmas nativity

 

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Attended the Mayor of Darlington Civic Carol Service at St James the Great Church in Darlington – The choir Exsultet

 

 

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Hartburn Primary School Christmas Carol Service in Hartburn, Stockton

 

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With residents at the Living Proof Community Christmas Carol Service in Stockton

 

 

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Mayors Carol Service at the Parish Church in Stockton – With other Civics

 

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Attended the Boundary 500 Santa Run 2017 from the Pavilion Thornaby to Kirkleatham Hall in Redcar – A Sleigh of Santa’s

 

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Attended the Annual General Meeting of Synthonia Scout Group at Greenwood Road in Billingham

 

 

undefinedStockton Sea Cadets Royal Naval Parade at Thornaby Place in Thornaby – Captain Peter Adams inspecting assembled Sea Cadets

 

 

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Attended the Tees Valley School Games at the Dolphin Centre in Darlington – With the winners of the Wheelchair Basketball Competition

 

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Attended the 10th Anniversary of Catalyst at the Georgian Theatre in Stockton – Presentation of a picture of our Infinity Bridge to Guru Dhasaratha

 

 

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Attended Northfield School Summer Art School ‘Picture This’ Exhibition

 

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Northfield School Art Exhibition - Self portrait of artist and category winner

 

 

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With trainees and their awards at the Management Centre, Teesside Park

 

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Presented GCSE Examination Certificates to students at the Northfield School and Sports College in Billingham – With Head Teacher Craig Walker and students with their awards

 

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Sembcorp 2018 Community Calendar Launch – With prize winners

 

 

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Stockton’s Mind’s Get Set and Go at the Tees Barrage

 

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Trophy winners at the Thornaby Bowling Club annual presentation

 

 

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School Road Safety Quiz Final – St Patrick’s School with their awards

 

 

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Winners of the Best Judged market stall competition at Stockton Market in the High Street.

 

We attended the University awards at the Guild Hall in London.

 

Every two years Her Majesty the Queen approves awards within the honours system to UK universities and colleges, in recognition of work of outstanding excellence which is delivering benefit to education, to the economy, and prosperity of the UK, and is of public benefit in the wider society.  Along with Chancellors, Vice Chancellors, Principals and academic staff of Durham University, we were delighted and honoured to be invited to this prestigious award reception.

For the Award – Durham University are the leading influential research on parent infant sleep, with widely-used public information service. At our table we were in the esteemed company of the Chancellor of Durham University Sir Thomas Boaz Allen the famous Baritone opera singer, Professor Helen Ball leader of the University Sleep Laboratory team, Bishop John Wilson and our Chief Exec Neil Schneider. We had a great evening discussing the award and also our different paths in life which was very interesting, even the Bishop told us a few religious jokes which were most enlightening.

One which I remember he told, was the one which a priest was burying a Traffic Warden. As they were lowering the coffin into the grave a voice sounded, let me out of here, I’m not dead. The priest looked around to see who was commenting but to no avail, so they lowered the coffin a bit further into the grave, when again a voice said let me out of here, I’m not dead. The priest took an intake of breath and said to the coffin I’m sorry your too late all the paperwork’s been done.

Out of the mouths of Bishops.

 

undefined Attended the Queens Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education Prize Winners Dinner at the Guildhall in the City of London

 

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With students at the Teesside University Academic Awards Ceremony

 

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With Civics from South Tyneside at the Queens Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

 

 

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Summer Congregation at Durham Cathedral – Presentation of Degrees to University Students

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Handover Ceremony of Durham University Students to Newcastle University at Queens Campus in Stockton – With year 2 Medicine students, Professors and Doctors

 

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Attended Durham University Study Centre Grand Opening at Queens Campus in Stockton – With students from around the world

 

Attended the Letters Patent Ceremony at the Civic Suite in Middlesbrough Crown Court – Receiving Caroline Peacock High Sheriff of Durham and his honour Judge Justice Bodey and the Venerable Simon Golding.

Another memorable moment was the Mayoresses Day in support of our three main charities. After months of preparation Laraine was delighted to invite over 90 people to her Mayoress at Home Event set inside the magnificent and unique Preston Hall. Many civics were in attendance with friends, colleagues from her Zumba group, and Charity organisers, we also had the pleasure of the High Sheriff of Durham Caroline Peacock and her husband Jonathan in attendance. The day was captivated by the tour of the museum, the two choirs who performed for us and the lovely cream tea which were enjoyed by all. It was a fabulous day and a special gratitude goes to the staff of Preston Hall and Museum for their hard work and dedication in providing this wonderful event.

 

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Mayoress at Home – Preston Hall in Eaglescliffe

 

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Mayoress at Home Event at Preston Hall in Eaglescliffe – Mayoress with Page 2 Choir

 

 

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Tour of Preston Hall – This place has some amazing artefacts

 

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Mayoress at Home event – Applause for the Mayoresses Speech

 

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Mayoress at Home Event – With friends and family

 

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In good company with the Billingham/Stockton Male Voice Choir who performed superbly

 

 

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Mayoress Sunday – Laraine with her Zumba friends

 

One of the most satisfying few days were spent visiting all our Council staff at their office workplace, discussing how they felt about working for SBC and their hopes and aspirations for the future. The conclusion we came to, was that most staff thought that SBC was an excellent employer and that Stockton was a progressive cultural town with a positive bright future that they enjoyed working towards.  At the request of some of the staff, at the same time as our visit, it gave a good opportunity to have a Christmas Raffle Draw. We provided 24 bottles of wine they provided the contributions for our charities. We raised over £1100 during those few days, so it’s well done to all who contributed to the good causes. Again we do have excellent staff working for the council.

Another highlight of our Mayoral year was attending a charity evening at Phoenix House at Catterick Garrison. This centre has specially designed facilities and recovery activities help give our wounded, the guidance and support they need for their recovery and learn how to live a fulfilling life after suffering an injury, trauma or illness.  After an eloquent speech delivered by the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, Simon Wrightson, we spoke to a number of injured servicemen and learnt about their experience in the field of conflict and what the centre had to offer for them, achieving their long term goals and aspirations. Laraine met a guy with a prosthetic right leg who was being rehabilitated.

Now this shows the character of these servicemen, he said to Laraine 'do you want to see my prosthetic leg?', she said ok, so he took it off and gave it her. Then he said 'do you want to see my other leg?', again she said ok, not knowing what was coming next, did he have another removable leg and would we all be sitting on the floor soon. He rolled up his trouser and pointed to a tattoo on his calf of his good left leg with an arrow pointing to his prosthetic right leg with the words above saying ‘One Foot in the Grave’. We all howled in a fit of laughter, these guys were brilliant. The night went so quick and the evening was over in a flash, so we decided unofficially to visit Phoenix House on another day, to be more familiar with the work being done for our injured servicemen. We were not disappointed, we found the unit to be first class, for the care, dedication and attention given to our injured servicemen.

We were given the opportunity to preside alongside the Lord Lieutenant, Deputy Lord Lieutenant’s, at major events, paying respect and to honour our Armed Forces personnel, with events such as the Armed Forces Week, Remembrance Sunday, Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, hosting the Armed Forces Flag ceremony, Yorkshire Retreat Cocktail Party, Garden of Remembrance, ceremonial laying of memorial stones at Thornaby and Stockton Cenotaphs in honour of Sgt Edward Cooper VC, congratulating Tom Trotter on receiving the French Legion of honour at the Dom Bar in Stockton, paying tribute to the 100th Year of remembrance to a local man, Private Taylor, shot in world war 1 and many more.

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At the Garden of Remembrance, Parish Church in Stockton – Mayoress talking to children from St Patrick’s School in Thornaby

 

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Ceremony to Fly the Red Ensign for the Merchant Navy in Sunderland – With the Mayor of Sunderland Doris Macknight and other North East Civics

               

As part of the Armed Forces week we raised much needed funds for the Freedom Regiments with the ‘Mayors Charity Duck Race’ on Preston Park waters on the Tees.  Through this, we presented cheques last September to three forces, Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, The Yorkshire Regiment and The Rifles Regiment. The ducks didn’t behave themselves on the day, due to wind constraints they went in the opposite direction to the finish line, they went upriver instead of downstream and we had to change the finishing line to suit, but all’s well that ends well.

 

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Attended the Teesside District Sea Cadets Trafalgar Day Service in Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough - Laying the Wreath at the Cenotaph 

 

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Armed Forces Day in Stockton High Street

 

 

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Service of Dedication to Edward Cooper VC – With the Lord Lieutenant of Durham Sue Snowdon, unveiling the Memorial Stone

 

 

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Memorial Stone  - Edward Cooper VC

 

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Congratulating Tom Rutter - and getting a closer look - on receiving the French Legion of Honour at the Dom Bar in Stockton

 

 

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With friends and their family at the celebration to mark the 100th Anniversary and the Commemorative service for Private Earnest Taylor who was killed in action at the battle of Passchendaele

 

 

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Attended the Yorkshire Regiment Beating the Retreat and Cocktail Party in Harrogate – Brigadier Andrew Jackson taking the salute

 

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At the pleasure of the Royal British Legion we attended the North East Field of Remembrance at Saltwell Park in Gateshead

 

 

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Army Cadet Force Cocktail Party on the HMS Trincomalee in Hartlepool – being presented with the Army Cadet Force Plaque

 

 

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Attended the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force Tree Planting Ceremony  in Thornaby – With the Mayor of Thornaby Steve Walmsley

 

 

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Attended the Durham Light Infantry Annual Dinner at the Army Reserve Centre , Stockton Road, Middlesbrough – With retired officers of the DLI

 

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Waving off the George Hunter walkers from Easingwold, North Yorkshire – With Mike McGrother and friends.

 

And for those that attended, who could forget the Mayors Ball at Wynyard Hall, a great night and a welcoming appeal for our three main charities.

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Mayors Charity Ball – Entrance with Sue Snowdon, Lord Lieutenant of Durham

 

 

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Mayors Ball at Wynyard Hall, Stockton – With special guests on my table 

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Mayors Ball at Wynyard Hall – Our wonderful support team from Democratic Services

 

Thanks, and gratitude go to the Lord Lieutenant, Deputy Lord Lieutenants and the High Sheriffs of North Yorkshire and Durham who are doing magnificent charity work and giving awards to some of the most deserving people in their counties

 

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Attended the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Mr Barry Dodd’s Annual Charity Lunch at Busby Hall in Carlton.

 

I would like to thank all the Councillors who made it possible for us to be Mayor and Mayoress, and for the support in the Mayoral Year.

Thanks go to my Chaplain the Reverend Martin Anderson for his tremendous support, guiding us through faith events, giving us a wonderful time and religious perception throughout the year. Especially for Martin and his team, for the new inspirational Christmas Advent, opening 24 different Advent windows placed down Norton High Street and the Green. Over 700 residents got involved for this new concept. Excellent activity Martin, may it continue. As noted earlier St Mary’s Advent Calendar Team were recognised with an award for the services to the community.

As you may or may not know, Martin has been known to tell a joke or two during his services, therefore in return for presenting me with a bible at the start of our Mayoral Year I presented Martin with books on the humorous side of religions as he may need to up-skill his collection of jokes to his parishioners.

I would also like to thank Democratic Services, Margaret Waggott and her team, Michelle, Jenna, Nigel, Adele, Stuart, Peter and many others for the tremendous support they gave us during our term of office and especially the drivers John, Brian and Phil who kept us entertained with their expertise throughout the year, nothing was too much trouble, an excellent professional team.

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Our drivers, John, Brian and Phil who came out in all weathers, up at the crack of dawn and gave us great support.

 

Thanks also to Neil our Chief Executive who gave us encouragement and guidance throughout our Mayoral Year and also to Neil and his excellent team who have contributed so much in delivering the high standard, quality service and investment in our long term future of the Borough. We were very proud to tell people that at the Annual MJ Achievement Awards, Stockton was named as the second best Local Authority in the Country, later on in the year.

 

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Progress Tour of the Globe in Stockton – With the construction team

 

 

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Progress Tour of the New Hilton Hotel in Stockton – Discussing the next phase of development of the hotel

 

We were crowned winner of the APSE Award for the Best Service Team of the year – in the Sports, Leisure and Cultural Service category and as recently we were 1 of only 6 Authorities in the country to be nominated for the LGC Council of the Year Award, this out of over 400 Authorities, not winners but a great achievement all the same, which is further recognition of our success as a high performing council. So well done to you all.

 

 

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APSE Award for the best Service Team of the year, Sports, Leisure and Culture 2017

 

 

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Met the LGC Judges at the Municipal Buildings in Stockton

 

 

 

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Even the wheelie bin man was singing

 

Thanks also go to all the other civics in the North East, some who are with us today, Mayors, Mayoresses, consorts who we have met and supported with their charity work throughout the year, we shall never forget their generosity, kindness and friendship that they have shown to us. Thank you so much.

 

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Mad Hatters Tea Party – Charity event at Saltwell Towers in Gatehead, organised by the the Mayor of Gateshead Shona Dillon for her main charities

 

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Royal British Legion Bike Ride at the TA Centre in Coulby Newham – With riders from all over the country who took part

 

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With other Civics at the North Tyneside Charity bash

 

 

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With Cath Davis MBE Chairman of North Tyneside Council at the Mouth of the Tyne Festival Charity bash

 

 

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Shildon’s Mayoress at Home event – With other civics and the Timothy Hackworth School Choir

 

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Celebrating Chinese New Year in Middlesbrough – Residents wearing traditional dress

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Attended the Mayor of Durham’s Charity event at the County Hall

 

Last but not least I would like say a big thank you to Laraine for the inspiration and strength that she gave me throughout the year, and for her love, care, support and all the effort she did for me was really amazing. Thank you so much.

Our chosen charities for this year were: Cleveland Alzheimer’s Residential Care, Meningitis Now, and Motor Neurone Disease Association. I am pleased to announce due to the generosity of so many people we have raised over £18366.60 to be shared equally between the three charities. At this time I invited the representatives of the three charities onto the stage to receive their cheques.

 

 

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Presenting cheques to our nominated charities

 

 

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Promoting the Mayors Charities at North Tees Hospital

 

We also provided aid through our Mayors Charities to help 7 other worthwhile causes giving £250 to the following appeals: Hartburn Scouts, Sea Cadets, Rocsolid, Phillip Greenbank – rugby to South Africa, Meg Wharrier – Scout Jamboree, Remembering Rebecca and JPC Community Farm. 

On top of this we helped to promote Stockton Poppy Day which ultimately helped the British Legion to raise over £6000 in Stockton and Middlesbrough combined.

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The Royal British Legion Christmas Event at Yarm and presentation of Thank You Certificates to the many volunteers

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Poppy Day appeal in Stockton High Street

 

My last charity engagement took place On Sunday 25th March when I took a leap out of an aeroplane and sky dived over County Durham, this on behalf of The Moses Project and Marsh House in Billingham. The Moses Project provides daily support, mentoring and activities for men who have become disengaged from society through circumstances such as unemployment, mental illness, or addiction. Marsh House provides accommodation, round the clock on-site support, shared activities, and learning opportunities for vulnerable women. I raised just over £1000 for these very worthy projects. 

 

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The Sky Dive Charity Event – Gliding over Shotton countryside was an exhilarating feeling

 

In total we helped to raise over £28,000 in the Mayoral year, it was a privilege to do so, and it’s a big thank you to all who generously gave to support and promote the many worthwhile causes. 

Also to note and must be mentioned, well done to our towns football team Stockton Town FC in reaching the final of the FA Vase at Wembley on the 20th  May, a tremendous achievement and congratulations to everyone at the club for their hard work, skill and dedication.

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With the Stockton FC supporters outside Wembley Stadium

 

I would like to thank Eileen and Paul our new Mayor and Consort for their support for stepping in at times when needed during our Mayoral Year. I wish them well and hope they enjoy their year in office as Mayor and Consort as I am sure they will make good First Citizens of the Borough.

 

Finally a footnote from the Mayoress - Laraine

As this is the last Blog note, just a few words on my perspective of the Mayoral Year.

It has been uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable. We have thrown ourselves into every event asked to attend and it has been a privilege and an honour to have represented Stockton Borough. We hope we have done justice to the role of Mayor and Mayoress and again wish Eileen and Paul all the best for their role in the coming year.

Thank you.

 

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