Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Week Commencing 19 February 2018

Monday 19 February 2018

Attended the Young at Heart Group at the Glebe Community Centre, Hanover Parade, The Glebe, Stockton


With Wendy and Gillian at the Young at Heart Group, the Glebe.

Met up with Gillian Restall organised of the Young at Heart Group at the Glebe, in Stockton. We were invited to give a talk about our Mayoral role throughout the year and any other subject of choice that the community wished to be informed about. It gave us great pleasure to talk to the people of Norton Baptist Church and give our account of our year in office.

My address began with:

As Mayor I am known as the first citizen of the Borough, This means that I represent everyone who lives in the borough, from young to the oldest. I promote our town and the borough as a great place to live and work.

My role includes representing the Queen at Council meetings and important events, as well as hosting important guests who come to our borough, for example the Lord Lieutenants of Durham and Yorkshire who attend our Armed Forces Day, Remembrance Service, and Carol Services. One of the joys of being Mayor of this Borough is seeing so much of the voluntary and charity work that is supported by people in our community. It really is amazing how much is being carried out by volunteers! 

As well as being the first citizen, we raise money throughout the year for our nominated charities, so I would like to let you know a little about these. Our first charity is Cleveland Alzheimer’s Residential Care. We have chosen this charity as in Stockton there are over 2,000 people affected by some form of Dementia and the figure is increasing year by year. We wish to support the charity to make sure Stockton is at the forefront of helping people with Dementia; ensuring services are in place so they can access familiar local facilities and maintain their social networks.

Our second charity is Meningitis Now, the only charity that is dedicated to fighting Meningitis in the UK. This disease can affect anyone, at any age, at any time and can kill within hours. For those who survive, the aftermath can be devastating and lifelong.

Our third charity is Motor Neurons Disease Association. MND is a progressive disease that attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Messages gradually stop reaching muscles which leads to weakness and wasting. And there is currently no cure for the disease. It kills six people living with the disease per day in the UK. But we want to help those people living with the disease to receive the right care in the right place at the right time.

I also talked about my other role as ward councillor supporting local groups, organisations and individuals, trying to improve their quality of life and providing opportunities that they would not otherwise have.

We had a most enjoyable day meeting and talking to the residents and thanked Gillian for giving us the opportunity to do so.


Laraine talking with some of the residents


Meeting residents of the Young at Heart Group



Wednesday 21 February 2018

Attended the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education Prize-Winners Dinner at Guildhall, City of London


Guild Hall – City of 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, and to the economy, and prosperity of the UK, and is of public benefit in the wider society. The Trust hosted a Reception and Dinner at the Guild Hall in the City of London in honour of the prize-winning institutions. Twenty one universities and colleges were honoured in this round of the scheme and Durham University was recognised in this regard as one of the prize-winning institutions.

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. The University’s Sleep Laboratory originated in 1995 as a small research project and is now an influential part of their Anthropology Department, with current academic and research staff of around twenty. The Laboratory’s key areas of research and research-based information are parent/infant sleep ecology, the night-time care of twin infants, night time care on the post-natal ward – for example the promotion of ‘side-car’ cribs, safer sleep and infant sleep deprivation.

They are an international leader in the field of parent-infant sleep, one of a very few with anthropological sleep facilities and the means to measure sleep physiology. Their ‘Infant Sleep Information Source’ website is well used by the public and highly valued professionally. The work has influenced guidelines for policy and practice and is contributing to infant care and to parents’ quality of life. 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 L 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 interesting, even the Bishop told us a few religious jokes which were most enlightening.

But to the award itself - To everyone in the laboratory team ‘Well done and may they continue their research and promotion of their work’.


Inside the Guild Hall, what a fantastic place


With Neil our Chief Exec.


Friday 23 February 2018

Attended the Mayor of Hetton Annual Civic Dinner at the Chilton Lodge Hotel, Houghton Le Spring

We were invited by the Mayor and Mayoress of Hetton David and Glenis Wallace of Hetton to the Annual Civic Dinner at the Chilton Lodge Hotel in Houghton Le Spring.

There was a four course meal laid on for us and with other civics from around the district we enjoyed a wonderful evening listening to the Boyz a modern day group who sang some great numbers and were easy to take up the beat on the dance floor. We also participated in the raffle draw and table envelop draw, which were held for the Mayors community charities, and we had a little success this time winning some bath salts.

We thanked David and Glenis for a special evening with great company and excellent entertainment. We wished them well for the rest of their Mayoral Year and hoped that they continue promoting and collecting for their charity work for a long time to come.


David Wallace Mayor of Hetton – address


The Boyz Group


Saturday 24 February 2018

Waving off the George Hunter walkers from Easingwold, North Yorkshire


Easingwold, North Yorkshire



With Mike and two other walkers setting out from Easingwold War Memorial


The walk and special ceremony for George Hunter:

‘Just Like George’ is about telling the stories of Stockton on Tees residents of today who ‘like George’, are struggling with post-traumatic stress. It is in the memory of George Hunter that Mike McGrother and friends are walking from Easingwold to Ypres and on to Esquelbecq in France where George is buried. They will carry symbols of his story and lay a tribute on his grave on behalf of his community. We had the pleasure of waving them off on their intrepid journey and wished them well.

George Hunter was born in Stockton in 1891, worked at Anderson’s Foundry in Port Clarence, when he enlisted in the 4 (reserve) Battalion DLI at the end of August 1914. Once trained, Private Hunter was sent with a draft of reinforcements to join ‘D’ Company 2 Battalion DLI France in August 1915, after the battalion had suffered many casualties earlier in the month in heavy fighting at Hooge, near Ypres.

George suffering from ‘shell shock’, ran away from the trenches and the horrors of war in 1916.

He was captured as he was reunited with his wife and children in Easingwold near York and transported back to Ypres. During his trial it was acknowledged that George was suffering from a mental condition and should have been seen by a doctor specialising in mental health. This was dismissed, and most likely as an example to others, George was shot at dawn on the second day of the battle of the Somme.

George, along with 305 other British troops shot for cowardice and desertion, received a posthumous pardon from the Government in 2006. As we move towards the centenary of the end of that horrific war, he represents the hundreds of others whose names and stories need to be remembered.


Mike McGrother at Easingwold War Memorial