Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Week Commencing 22 January 2018

Friday 25 January 2018

Attended the Student Voice Inauguration Ceremony at North Shore Academy, Talbot Street, Stockton on Tees.


North Shore Academy

We were formally invited to the Student Voice President Inauguration ceremony. This event announced the winner from the campaigning student who became the first president of student voice at North Shore Academy.

Student Voice of the North Shore Academy is extremely important to them, out of 8 applicants 4 were chosen to apply for the position of President and undertake the campaign and election process. The students had already received leadership training from staff mentors and senior leaders in the academy. These four students delivered speeches to the entire academy and led their own campaign over two days. I am told the entire process had been an engaging and exciting way to teach the students the value of free speech and democracy.

Jen Zaheer, Assistant Principal, welcomed everyone to the Academy for this very special event and announced formal introductions of the four candidates, the Executive Principal Mr Michael Robinson, the Mayor and Mayoress of Stockton, and Jim Beall, cabinet member of SBC.

Michael Robinson said that the whole school was extremely proud of their students bringing them into the 21st century, engaging in presidential campaigns and elections and moving the academy forward for representation of the students.

As a guest speaker it was with delight to be at this special ceremony for the announcement of the Academy’s Student Voice President, and to speak to the students. Talking to the assembly, I said it was my understanding this was the first time North Shore had held a President election and hoped the students enjoyed taking part and learning about the democratic process, the importance of voting and how much that matters in making their voice heard.

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

The role of Student President is very similar as they will be representing all of the students who attend the academy, raising issues on their behalf, and make changes across the academy where they see fit.  The four candidates have worked very hard all week to campaign for their vote, and I understand there had been a fantastic response, and my final words wished each candidate the best of luck in the judicial process of selection.

The announcement of the successful candidate for president was then made and the choice for President was Leona McMaster with Miran Zada, Leroy Turner and Libby Hutchinson becoming Vice Presidents.

The three Vice Presidents made formal speeches accepting the final outcome of the election and congratulated the new president in her new role and promised to support the President during her term of office. That’s democracy.  Leona, the new Student Voice President, replied, thanking the other three candidates for their complimentary remarks and a well fought campaign, noting that she was looking forward to working with them to address a variety of ideas and topics which have an impact on the students in the academy.  

We all retired to the buttery for a cup of tea and were able to talk openly with the successful students about their new roles and what they were looking forward to.

We thanked the Principal and Assistant Principal of the Academy for the privilege to be in attendance and meeting very bright, polite and forthright students, we wished them the very best for the future of the Academy.


Friday 25 January 2018

Attended the Unsung Heroes celebration at Lartington Hall, Barnard Castle, Co Durham


With Allison at the gates of Lartington Hall 



 Lartington Hall Chapel

It was a privilege to be invited by the High Sheriff of County Durham, Caroline Peacock to the The High Sheriff’s Hero celebration’s, at Lartington Hall, near Barnard Castle.


Northumberland Pipers



Caroline Peacock – Address

In the course of the year Caroline Has been meeting many impressive people and visiting many hard working voluntary and community organisations that are doing wonderful work.

The idea of this occasion is simply for Caroline to tell us about and meet some of the impressive people and organisations who have brightened up the Sheriff’s year. Some of the people we met are working in areas which have serious concerns for many years, fragile people whose dysfunctional home situations or relationships failures put them in despair. Many turn to drugs and alcohol for support and their isolation only escalates as a result, and all too often they also get in trouble with the law. We met many volunteers who are working with absolute passion and dedication to give support. They look for no recognition and their work is often not even known by the public at large, but this was a moment to celebrate and thank them.


Allison with husband Mark in the main drawing room, before the ceremony

One such hero that we personally know is Allison Watson-Shields who does fabulous work with older people, especially with Alzheimer’s Care,

Dementia Young at Heart, working with special needs people and those who have learning disabilities, Young at Heart Dementia Café and park art events. Not only but also provides Live Well Dementia classes in Thornaby, Billingham and Stockton, has launched The Hand in Care web site as a one-stop shop for information service users, carers and professionals alike. She has taken on board Falls Prevention exercise classes and also a Zumba class for the golden oldies at Grays Road in Stockton, as she is qualified as a Zumba fitness instructor.

Allison was trained as a Dementia Friend Champion in Nottingham and became a Join Dementia Ambassador to try to promote involvement in research projects to people living with dementia, carers and general public.

She has studied in Health and Social Care and awarded a BSc (Hons) and is currently studying for her MSc in Dementia Study which will take another three years to complete. She has been presented with several awards, not that she was expecting anything, and the last was the Mayors annual achievement award in 2017.

For the future, Allison would like to develop the In Our Shoes Carers Support Group to provide a Carers education and training programme to better understand Dementia and how the disease changes the person they care for, and train more people to deliver ‘Golden Zumba’ at a more community based setting in the Borough and increase the frequency of the falls prevention exercise classes.

For a young person her achievements have been remarkable in such a short time, due to her dedication, enthusiasm and drive she has accomplished monumental objectives. To us she is a true hero and well respected for it. 


Lartington Hall Chapel


Sunday 28 January 2018

Attended the Butterwick Hospice Annual Thanksgiving Service at Greens Lane Methodist Church, Green Lane, Hartburn, Stockton on Tees.


Greens Lane Methodist Church – Hartburn, Stockton

It was with great pleasure to be invited to the Annual Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving at Greens Lane Methodist Church in Hartburn, Stockton.

Butterwick provide care for terminally ill adults and children, their aim is to improve quality of life for those who have a progressive life limiting illness and those close to them and to offer positive support for every challenge they may encounter during their illness and to see death as part of life’s journey.

We were warmly welcomed into the church by our host for the day Sharon Wilson, also in attendance were civics from Darlington and Redcar. Prior to the service, we listened to the Billingham Silver Band led by Mr Vaughan Evans which gave us a soothing interlude before settling down.

The service started with the Butterwick Hospice Remembrance Books being carried to the alter, whilst we all sang the hymn ‘Let us with a Gladsome Mind’. 


Cantabile Choir

We were greeted by the Reverend Christine Hey, Minister of Greens Lane Methodist Church and opening prayers followed.  The first reading, Isaiah 40 verses 28-31 was delivered by Dr David Carr. Second reading Psalm 139 verses: 7-12 was delivered by Val Storey then we sang Hymn ‘O God, our help in ages past’. The third reading, Mathew 6 Verses 25-34 was delivered by Paula Wood, then we had the pleasure of listening to the Cantabile Choir, performing ‘Be thou My Vision’ and ‘This is the Day’. Very soothing.

Intercession Prayers followed with - Nurses Prayers: read by Val Storey, Kath Murphy, Hazel Saunders, Millie Bruce, Amanda Kirton and Judith Hunter.

Following this we sang ‘Amazing Grace’, then the Chair of Darlington and District Methodist Church the Reverend Ruth Gee delivered her address.

Hartburn Junior School Choir produced a glorious rendition of The Beach Boys song ‘God only Knows’, followed by ‘Glorious’ a David Archuleta piece.

They were superbly sung by the children and credit must go to the music teacher for developing such good songsters.

 The Blessing was delivered by the Reverend Christine Hey, and finally completing the service, the congregation sang ‘All People That on Earth Do Dwell’.


Billingham Silver Band

Sharron Wilson, organiser of the service in Memory of Mary Butterwick, Trustees, CEO, Staff and Volunteers of the Butterwick Hospice gave a huge thanks’ to all who attended and those that that were unable to attend but who give their service to the Hospice. They also thanked the Civics, representatives and the entire congregation for their invaluable support in sharing the Thanksgiving service.

We thanked Sharron for the invitation as it was a joy being present and listening to those magical appropriate words. We wished The Butterwick Hospice the best of luck and to continue their positive direction in the future.