Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Week Commencing 15 January 2018

Monday 15 January 2018

Attended the Mayor of Sunderland’s Charity Curry Night at The Sagorika Restaurant, 3 Queens Parade, Seaburn, Sunderland


Mayor and Mayoress of Hartlepool Paul and Mary Beck with the Mayor of Hetton Town Council

We were warmly welcomed by the Mayor and Consort of Sunderland, Councillor Doris MacNight and Keith MacNight to their Charity evening at the Sagorika Indian Restaurant in Seaburn Sunderland. The charity appeal was in aid of their charity projects.

We had a three course Indian meal starting with Bhuna Chicken on Puri, followed by Chicken Tikka Sizzler with various rice’s, then fruit salad and ice cream, finishing with Coffee and fresh cream. The meal was delicious and very well presented.

To support the charity appeal we contributed to the Tombola and raffle but unfortunately we were not so lucky in winning any prizes. 


Mayor and Consort of North Tyneside, Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside and the Mayor and Consort of Wooler, Northumberland

The appeal raised somewhere in the region of £500 on the night which is a good contribution to the community projects. It was good to meet up with the Civics once again after the Christmas break and exchange news of their holiday activities.

We thanked Doris for a very pleasant evening and encouragement in her activities with her charity work.


Wednesday 17 January 2018

Hosted the Citizenship Ceremony at the Town Hall, High Street, Stockton

Once again we had the pleasure to welcome people from different parts of the world for this important ceremony. We also had the pleasure of the company of Deputy Lord Lieutenant Maura Regan who also presided over proceedings.  

This month there were 12 guests out of which 7 took part in the ceremony and swore the oath of allegiance to our Queen and Country and became British Citizens. The 7 delegates came from 6 different countries:

  • India
  • Greece
  • Mexico
  • Zimbabwe
  • China


Interview with Nathan Cornfield for a book about Mayors of Stockton from 1996 to 2018

We met Nathan Cornfield at the Town Hall in Stockton for a lengthy session to discuss the role and activities of the Mayor in the year 2017/2018. Nathan has been asked to produce a Mayoral book about the Mayors of Stockton from 1996 to 2018, and the last to be interviewed was myself being the Mayor of Stockton ending in 2018.

I gave him an overview of my past experience from schooldays, education, through my working career, and up to present day activities, indicating my present role as a Ward Councillor for Fairfield, noting my Mayoral duties and experiences throughout the Mayoral year. I am told the book should be completed by the end of the year, to be published and distributed for all to read. As I jokingly said to Nathan, ‘ It won’t be a spy thriller then’, nope he said historical memoirs.

At that I thanked Nathan for his time and patience and hoped that the book was to become a success, Nathan replied, likewise.


Thursday 18 January 2018

Attended the Mayor of Hartlepool’s Charity Burns Night at Masefield Community Building, Masefield Road, Rift House, Hartlepool

Burns Night is a great occasion generally celebrated around the 25 January when many dinners dedicated to his memory are held all over the world. The ritual of the Burns Supper was started by close friends of Robert Burns a few years after his death and the format remains largely unchanged today, beginning with the chairman of the Supper inviting the assembled company to welcome the Haggis. The poem ‘To a Haggis’ is recited and the haggis is then toasted with a glass of whisky.



Mr Frank Bonner master of ceremonies piping everyone into the dining room

It was real pleasure to be invited by Paul and Mary Beck, Mayor and Mayoress of Harlepool to an evening celebrating Burns Night and raising proceeds towards the Mayors Charities, the Macmillan Cancer Support and the Rifty Youth Club. 

To start the proceedings, we were piped into the main dining area by the master of ceremonies Mr Frank Bonner, where we enjoyed refreshments on arrival. The Mayor, Councillor Paul Beck welcomed all to the evenings celebrations and hoped we all have a jolly good time. Councillor Allan Barclay Deputy Mayor of Hartlepool delivered the Selkirk grace, after which the piper Frank Bonner played the bagpipes whilst escorting Councillor Akers Belcher, who arrived carrying the Haggis, around the room.

After laying the Haggis to rest, Frank Bonner gave an address to the Haggis in his native tongue, then produced a sharp blade and started slashing through the poor wee thing as a ritual blessing. Dinner was then served with cream of vegetable soup followed by Chicken breast stuffed with Haggis, wrapped with whiskey gravy and neeps and tatties. The dessert was shortbread served with chocolate chip ice cream, followed by Tea/Coffee and after eight mints. Delicious.

Then the Mayor Paul beck gave a toast to ‘The Lasses’; Councillor Susan Nelson replied with a toast on behalf of ‘The Lasses’ to the Laddies, this was followed by ‘The Royal Toast’ delivered by Honorary Freeman, Sir Ron Norman. Frank Bonner delivered his address ‘The Immortal Memory’ on the life and times of Robert Burns, the best loved Scottish Poet. One of the most important literary tasks he began, was his songs for the Scots Music Museum. Burns contributed to over 300 songs, many of his own compositions, and others based on older verses. Burns will never be forgotten, as his poems and songs are still as popular in Scotland as they were when first written.

We also gave a rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

After the formalities we were entertained by The Seatoners a lady trio group singing various melodies from throughout the British Isles, they were very chirpy and cheerful and their harmonics were sweet sounding to the ear, which was very enjoyable. 

Paul Beck gave a vote of thanks to everyone who came to the Burns Night and those who donated to his charity appeal. We in turn thanked Paul and Mary for a most welcoming evening and hoped that the night’s contributions delivered just rewards for his selective charities.


Carrying of the Haggis



Frank Bonner ‘Address to the Haggis’



The Mayor of Hetton waiting for his Haggis


With the Seatoners who provided the entertainment


Friday 19 January 2018

Attended the Mayor and Mayoress of Hetton Town Council’s Annual Burns Night Supper at The Hetton Centre, Hetton Le Hole



Carrying the Haggis

The second part of the burns Night Trilogy this week, took place at The Hetton Centre, where we were invited by the Hetton Town Mayor and Mayoress Councillor David Wallace and Glenis Wallace to celebrate Burns Night, whilst raising funds for their chosen annual charities. The order of the event started with piping the VIP’S and honoured guests into the main hall, where we were escorted to our tables.

The bill of fare for the themed menu was scotch broth followed by neeps and tatties with Raspberry Cranachan (Raspberries with cream laced with whiskey and oats), tea/coffee and complimentary Whiskey for toasting.

Prior to the meal Mr Kevin Reilly master of ceremonies addressed the Haggis and gave a toast to Robbie Burns. I was given the grand order of carrying the haggis into the main hall and played my part in the celebrations, by watching over the butchering of the haggis. Wearing a bib, as I didn’t want any of the haggises blood to affect my suit, so I was told, I stood back whilst Kevin brutally cut open the haggis, then he gave a dissertation on Robbie Burns life and written works.


Address to the Haggis

Robbie Burns was the son of a farmer, born in a cottage built by his father, in Alloway, Ayr. This cottage is now a museum, dedicated to Burns. As a boy he always loved stories of the supernatural, told to him by an old widow, he turned many of these stories into poems. After his death of his father in 1784, Burns inherited the farm but by 1786 he was in terrible financial difficulties: the farm was not successful and he had made two women pregnant.

Burns decided to emigrate to Jamaica, so to raise the money required for this journey he published the poems in Scottish Dialect in 1786, which was an immediate success. He was persuaded not to leave Scotland by Dr Thomas Blacklock and in 1787 an Edinburgh edition of the poems was published.


Entertainers of Scottish folk music –‘Houghton le Spring Band’

After the meal we had Heads and Tails fund raising game and raffle presentation to support Dave Wallace the Mayor of Hetton’s chosen charities. The final part of the celebrations, The Loyal Toast – The Queen, was delivered by David Wallace before the dancing started. 

It was another great night of celebration and collective donations were warmly welcomed by the Mayor of Hetton. David thanked everyone who attended and supported their community charities. We thanked David and his wife Glenis, for the invitation to this great occasion, and also thanked the staff for providing an excellent bill of fare and superb entertainment on the evening.  


Mayoress with piper and Kevin Reilly the Master of Ceremonies


Saturday 20 January 2018

Attended the Mayor of Peterlee’s Charity Burns Night at Shotton Hall Banqueting Suites, Shotton Hall, Old Shotton, Peterlee

Robert Burns is the best loved Scottish poet, admired not only for his verse and great love songs, but also for his character, his high spirits, kirk-defying, and hard drinking! He came to fame as a poet when he was 27 years old, and his lifestyle of wine, women and song made him famous all over Scotland.

It was a pleasure to be invited by the Mayor of Peterlee, Councillor Mrs Mary Cartwright, to the third part of the week’s Burns Night trilogy at the banqueting suits in Shotton Hall. The running order for the night started with piping the guests into the main hall, were we were welcomed by Ian Morris, Chairman of ceremonies and the Mayor of Peterlee Mary Cartwright. Once settled, the Selkirk Grace was delivered by Ian Morris, then the first meal course was served, followed by piping in the Haggis. Ian Morris gave the address to the Haggis which was then followed by toasting the Haggis.


Mayoress of Peterlee, Mary Cartwright welcoming everyone to the Burns Night

The Haggis was served with neeps and tatties with a lot of whisky for toasting purposes only, wink, wink. Before deserts, the Immortal memory of  Robert Burns was delivered by Scott Meikle. Robert Burns married Jean Armour in 1788, she had been one of the many women during his early life. A very forgiving wife, she accepted and took responsibility for all Burns children, legitimate and illegitimate alike. 

At this time he wrote, in just one day, his most famous long poem, ‘Tam O’Shanter’. Tam O’Shanter is the story of a man who disturbed coven witches in the kirk at Alloway and had to flee for his life on Meg, his old grey mare. The fastest witch, Cutty Sark (cutty sark means short petticoat) nearly catches him by the River Doon, but the running water makes her powerless and though she manages to grasp Megs tail, Tam escapes over the bridge.

Burns died aged 37 of rheumatic fever which he contracted after falling asleep at the roadside, after a vigorous drinking session, in pouring rain. Burns also had 12 children by 9 women and the last of his children was actually born during his funeral.


Piping the Haggis


Address and toast to the Haggis



Moves of a fine Scottish Reel 

After dessert served, there was a Toast to the Lasses by Myke Cattell, and the reply to the Laddies was delivered by Mary Cartwright. Then followed the dancing of Scottish reels and all that, exhausting.

We thanked Mary for the splendid Burns Night and wished her well in her Mayoral role and charity work in her term of office, also thanking the staff for all their hard work in producing an excellent event.