Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Week Commencing 10 July 2017

Monday 10 July 2017

I was requested to take part in a film, delivering a message at the Town Hall to welcome ISC Students to Stockton as part of the Students Engagement Programme.

A synopsis of the message was as followsStockton really is a great place to live.

It’s a hive of cultural and leisure activity with year-round festivals and is friendly and open to all. The town has built on its reputation for hosting international calibre events which attract thousands of people all year round, ensuring there are always reasons to visit and stay a while. We know you will enjoy studying and living here.


Attended Shildon’s Mayoress at Home event at Shildon Civic Hall, Shildon

undefined Timothy Hackworth Primary School Choir.


We were delighted to be invited to attend the ‘At Home’ afternoon in the Shildon Civic Hall on the Main Street in Shildon, requested by the Shildon Mayor Mrs Shirley Quinn.

The event was in aid of Shirley’s charities Royal British Legion Shildon Branch, The Sanctuary, and help towards events for older people of the community.

The entertainment was provided by the Timothy Hackworth Primary School Choir. Prior to their concert in the main hall, in a side room, when I asked them what their favourite song was, they without hesitation gave a rendition of Garai pano. To say the least I was overwhelmed, without request they sang for me this beautiful melody with the voice of angels. It was fantastic. Over light refreshments the choir sang various tunes, sea shanties, folk and some traditional themes. For such little ones they could belt out a good tune with ease and perfect harmony, they are a credit to their families, teachers and of course themselves. All the people in the room including VIP’S and civics gave a standing ovation as the concert was excellent and very much appreciated. As a treat, the choir stayed for afternoon tea and we were able to talk with them about their outstanding performance.

undefinedHigh tea at Shildon.

We thanked Shirley for the warm welcome that was given and the excellent entertainment by the children of Timothy Hackworth Primary School, hoping they made adequate support for their charities.


Tuesday 11 July 2017.

Attended the Stockton Borough Council Corporate Induction at Jim Cooke Suite, Stockton Library.

I introduced myself to the new members of staff as it was a real pleasure to meet them all on this day. I always think the best thing in the Council is the staff – they work so hard and there’s a genuinely warm and friendly feel about the place.

I informed them that I’d been the Mayor since April and it’s been quite striking to see at close hand just how much is going on in the Borough. One of the most obvious things that will be noticed is our great all the year round events programme, as there is always something happening.

We’ve got some great events to look forward to this summer such as: the in July cycling event, SIRF in August, Billingham Folklore Festival thereafter, Dragon Boat Race, Rat Race, music events in the High Street, Georgian Theatre, ARC, etc.…. there’s always the Firework display down by the riverside in November to look forward to and it’d be great to see new faces at some of the events! I asked them to bring family and friends for a treat.

I wished them the best of luck in their new role and hoped that they will enjoy working for the Council.


Tuesday 11 July 2017

Attended the Park House Rest Home Celebrations at Richmond Road, Stockton

undefinedCelebrating with Alan Banks

The Mayoress and I went along to the Park House Rest Home at Richmond Road in Stockton to celebrate Alan Banks living at Park House for 25 years.

We were warmly greeted by friendly staff and the residents into the main lounge area were we had a good chat and a cup of tea. The residents informed us what activities they were engaged in and told us little stories about daily life and what everyone was up to.


With wonderful caring staff at Parkside Home.

New and exciting events had been introduced lately such as visiting the venture café within ARC Stockton, High teas served in the dining room on two Fridays each month, pub quizzes and forthcoming events throughout the year such as the FA Cup Final, Elections, Trooping the Colour, Father’s Day, Royal Ascot, Real Bread Week, Dementia Awareness Week, Armchair Aerobics, Musical Therapy, Guitarists, Residents Meetings plus many more throughout the year.  The residents say they have enjoyed and look forward to all the events that take place at the home and gave glowing reports about the wonderful staff that look after them.


With residents and family’s enjoying the high tea celebrations.

The staff always being proactive with the residents are now trying to create memory boxes for all the resident, so if they have something that can invoke any memories from the past for their family members to bring items into the home. The memory boxes would be used in the new Sensory/Reminiscence room during one to one sessions along with other materials present. There will also be red card system in use and put in the memory box so staff are notified that one of the residents need to discuss issues on private matters.

Trials of new food dishes were on offer on Tuesdays such as Salmon Wellington with dill sauce, Chicken Chasseur, Minted Lamb, Gammon and pineapple and many more. Sounds good, think I’ll start coming here for lunch in the future. The staff also ask the residents if they had any preferred choice of dishes they would like to present and would welcome any old recipe books from years gone by, they would love to have them and have a go at cooking the different dishes.

Also to note artist Matt Sewell will be starting to paint a wildlife mural on the wall at the rear of Park House which would be pleasing to the eye and for all to enjoy.

Alan said that he loved the residents and staff and was well cared for and wouldn’t want to be in any other place, it was marvelous.

We thanked the staff and residents for inviting us to home; we enjoyed the whole experience of being with them and wished them well and all the best.


Tuesday 11 July 2017

Attended the opening of The Ivy House, Dovecote Street, Stockton


With staff of The Ivy Close House – cutting the ribbon ceremony

It was with pleasure that we were asked to open The Ivy House in Dovecote Street, Stockton.

The theme of the House was based on Ivy Close who lived in Durham Street in Stockton, near the railway station. Ivy had a fine singing voice and, after her success in photographic competitions, sang at, among other venues, Stockton Castle Theatre. She was a great success in music halls and on the concert circuit, her face appeared on vast numbers of postcards and greeting cards and continued to do so throughout the First World War, when Ivy became a pin-up of the men in the trenches.

In 1908 Ivy Close became the ‘Most beautiful woman in the World’ in a competition delivered by the Daily Mirror to find ‘The Fairest of the Fair’ and went on to become an outstanding star in British, French, American and German silent films.


Ivy Close Motif at the entrance to the house.

I gave a short presentation thanking all who attended the opening of the fantastic new café/bar in the middle of Stockton Town Centre.

Both Scott Weir and Derek Kewley the Directors of Tees Inns have invested significant money in transforming the building from the less desirable state it was in, to a modern, fresh and quality offering. They have received assistance from numerous departments within Stockton Borough Council, to achieve what we can see today. I am sure you would all agree how fantastic it looks.

In the heart of Stockton Town Centre, it complements the fast-emerging night time economy sector, along with other drinking establishments that have recently opened, whilst offering a high quality morning and lunchtime offer with hot drinks, sandwiches, paninis and cakes.

In conclusion we raised our glasses, in my case a cup of coffee, and toasted the opening of The Ivy House and wished its owners and staff every success in the future.


Wednesday 12 July 2017

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

The ceremony was conducted with the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Mark White in attendance.

This month there was only one in total to be inaugurated, this being Lionel Bonnafoux of France who took part in the Citizenship ceremony and swore the oath of allegiance to our Queen and country and became a British Citizen.


Attended the Yorkshire Regiment Beating the Retreat & Cocktail Party at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate

undefined The Band of the Royal Armoured Corps.

At the request of Brigadier Andrew Jackson we attended the Yorkshire Regiments Beating the Retreat at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate.


With North Yorkshire civic guests at Beating the Retreat ceremony in Harrogate.

The origins of the ‘Beating the Retreat’ lies with the original purpose of military music. Today’s battlefield commanders pass orders to their troops using state of the art communication systems; their forebears merely instructed their drummer or trumpeter to beat or sound a particular call. Similarly, before clocks were common and the wristwatch had been invented, drum beating or trumpet calls regulated a soldier’s life in barracks. Retreat started with a signal given by the beat of a drum to order troops to break off fighting as darkness fell. Later, when in camp, it became used to warn outlying troops to withdraw to the confines of the encampment before piquets were set for the night.

undefinedThe salute is taken by Brigadier Andrew Jackson.

Over time ‘Retreat’ has come to signal the end of the working day and the lowering of the unit flag, and the accompanying call is still sounded daily in many units when operational circumstances permit. On special occasions the Corps of Drums play Retreat Marches, written in a ¾ time signature and often adapted from folk tunes, which continue the tradition of the old Drum and Flute Duty.

undefinedAgain with civic guests from as far as Bradford and Leeds.

After the salute was taken by Brigadier Andrew Jackson the band of the Royal Armoured Corps marched off into the sunset, which gave us time for refreshments and have a chat with other dignitaries. We thanked Andrew Jackson for the wonderful evening and hoped that the Yorkshire Regiment continue this tradition of Beating the Retreat for a long time to come.


Friday 14 July 2017

Attended the Seaham at Home at the Town Hall, Stockton Road, Seaham




On behalf of Sonia Foster, Mayor of Seaham we were cordially invited to the Seaham ‘At ‘Home’ event at the Town Hall in Seaham. The event was in aid of Sonia’s charity appeal fund in aid of Local Community Organisations to be distributed at the end of her Mayoral role.

We were entertained by a local singer, who performed with gusto and verve, with most guests enjoying the evening throughout. Unfortunately we were unable to win a raffle ticket prize this time, but glad to know our proceeds were going to good cause.

We thanked Sonia and her Consort for our invitation and wished them well throughout their Mayoral year.


Attended the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham Garden Party 


At Beechburn Farm, County Durham. 

We were invited to the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham Garden Party at Beechburn Farm in County Durham.

It was great venue, meeting up with other civics and dignitaries from the North East discussing various topics at local level, looking at different ideas on community operations within each area. It was a great opportunity for us to talk about how Stockton  are providing great venues throughout the summer months around Stockton’s centre and Riverside, as well as inviting them all to taste any event they wished to come along to. I’m not surprised a number of them said they were determined to come along to Stockton’s events as they remarked that in previous years they had been amazed by the excellent way Stockton produced very professional performances, the best in the North East.  

A very welcoming evening, we and thanked Sue Snowden, Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, for the invitation and especially the delicious canapes provided throughout the evening.


Saturday 15 July 2017

Attended the Piano Recital in aid of the Butterwick Hospice at Stokesley Methodist Church


Jeremy  Playing Chopin  -  Impromptu in Gb

What an exquisite evening we had at the Piano Recital provided by James and Jeremy Chen at Stokesley Methodist Church in aid of the Butterwick Hospice.

The programme for the evening;-

Jeremy played -

Prelude and Fugue in Bb major, book 1 by Bach.

Sonata in A minor, K310 by Mozart.

Impromptu in Gb by Chopin

Sonatine by Ravel.


James played -

Prelude and Fugue in C sharp major, book 1. By Bach.

Sonata in C, Op.2 No.3 by Beethoven

Ballade in F, Op 38 by Chopin

Sonata No.3 in A Minor, Op.28 by Prokofiev


Butterwick Hospice aims to improve the quality of life for those who have a progressive life limiting illness and those close to them, offering positive support for every challenge that they may encounter during their illness, and to see death as part of life’s journey. The concert’s aim is to raise money for the Butterwick Hospice which was a brilliant contribution by the Chen brothers.

Martin Griffiths who lost a family member to a debilitating illness talked about his family’s experiences going through the process of illness. He said that without the help and support Butterwick Hospice provided he would not be in this better place today without it, he was really in a dark place and had difficulty in getting out of it. Butterwick Hospice provided the sanctuary he needed to come to terms with the situation and move on. He also went on to say that Butterwick Hospice is a registered charity like all children’s hospices, which relies on public support. So by just attending the concert we were supporting a fantastic charity that makes a big difference to peoples lives.

undefinedWith the Chen family, James, Jeremy and mum Cheryl and Martin Griffiths.

We thanked Cheryl, James and Jeremy for providing the wonderful entertainment on the evening, and also thanked them on behalf of Butterwick for their fantastic continued support. Thanking those who worked behind the scenes, Stokesley Methodist Church and the people who gave their invaluable time, patience, dedication and care to those who are less fortunate.


Sunday 16 July 2017

Attended Stockton Cycling Festival Grand Prix, Ride Stockton at Riverside Road, Stockton

undefinedReady to start the Stockton Grand Prix Ride

Attended the fun packed Family Festival weekend at the Stockton Riverside which was crammed full of brilliant family activities that everyone could watch or join in and enjoy the moment. The aim of the event is to inspire and engage through the delivery of high level elite cycling events, to bring people into the town centre, and raising the profile of Stockton and the Borough.

The events village on the riverside was brimming with exiting things to do for family and friends. There were free fun cycling activities plus a free climbing wall to explore and a crazy golf area. There were plenty of refreshment stalls with a good selection of food and drinks provided for all tastes, cycling theme traders were in abundance to give advice and top tips on selecting the most appropriate cycle of choice. There was face painting for youngsters although we found a few mums daubed in paint, probably coaxed by their children, or was it just the style of make up these days.

The village provided the Stockton Ride Registration Tent for all riders and a free bike parking area. It also hosted he podiums for the winners of the Stockton individual events and was a hub of activity throughout the day.

undefined Ride Stockton Registration Team

The programme for the day started with Youth Racing from 9.00am with riders from all ages and ability having the opportunity to race around the closed road circuit challenging some of the same tracks that the professional riders used as part of the Stockton Grand Prix race.

Around 12.00noon Ride Stockton family fun ride got underway, an open event for families of all abilities and every kind of bikes. The route looped around Stockton High Street and Stockton Riverside and everyone was welcome to take part whatever their age. The riders started on the opposite side of the road to the professional riders in the Stockton Grand Prix event which also started at around 12.00noon.

After awarding prizes to the winners of the Youth Races at 11.00am, I was privileged to start the Stockton Grand Prix event at around 12.00noon. The UK’s best riders departed from the Stockton Riverside adjacent to the jam packed event site. The route then headed out of town where riders completed 10 laps of the main race circuit through leafy villages of Thorpe Thewles, Carlton, Redmarshall, Whitton, and Thorpe Leazes returning for a gripping conclusion with six lap circuit through the Riverside and Teesdale.

The event is part of the British Cycling HSBC UK Grand Prix Series and was filmed and broadcast on British Eurosport.

undefinedWhat a tight finish of the Stockton Grand Prix Ride

undefinedExtreme Bike Battle Competition

We presented awards to the winner of the Extreme bike battle competition at around 2.30pm. For the kids: don’t try this at home!

undefinedPresenting the Stockton Grand Prix Winner

When the riders returned from their Stockton Grand Prix jaunt, some more exhausted than others, we presented flowers and champagne to the overall winner, second and third placed riders, and the overall winner received a winner’s plaque as just rewards. The fun then started with the popping of the champagne. We had to run for cover not to be immersed in the holy water, but the ladies on the podium didn’t make it as they got soaked.


With Fred the Ted doing MacMillan charity work.

The day was fantastic and enjoyed by crowd breaking numbers. Another first class exciting event provided by Stockton Borough Council. We wish to thank everyone who took part in organising this event from Reuben Kench downwards for the amazing way it was produced, once again bringing another fantastic International event to Stockton’s arena. 


Sunday 16 July 2017

Attended the opening of Egglescliffe Village Fete at Egglescliffe Village Green

undefinedOpening Eaglescliffe & Egglescliffe Village Fete

It was a pleasure that we were invited to Eaglescliffe and Egglescliffe Village Fete and thanked John Fletcher for requesting us to attend and open the fete.

One of the joys of being Mayor of the Borough is seeing so much of the voluntary work and meeting the scores of people who put in time and effort for their community. This was no exception as we could see the tremendous amount of work and effort put in to develop and promote this event.

undefinedMet up with Darth Vader and his gang, they go beyond where nobody should go

undefinedWith Alderman John Fletcher and Chairman of Egglescliffe & Eaglescliffe Council

The afternoon’s event was laid on for the community’s enjoyment by the Parish Council, Egglescliffe & Eaglescliffe Council. Apart from the clerk, who is part time, who has put in a lot of effort to make the afternoon a success, everyone else with the council puts in their time unpaid. The same is true of other local groups who have worked to make this afternoon happen, including Egglescliffe Area Residents Association, Eaglescliffe Parish Hall Association and Eaglescliffe Parish Church Mothers Union.

undefinedFamily and friends relaxing and enjoying the festivities.

Egglescliffe village green was bathed in glorious sunshine all day giving a superb summer festival enjoyed by a great number of residents. There were lots of stalls around the green, some third sector some commercial with plenty of refreshment bases to replenish energies after some of the sports activities taking place.

There were also lots of entertainment on stage, some musical and some sports of not to too serious nature, but there were Darth Vader and his gang doing there star wars stuff with people taking photographs, selfies and the like, whilst a man with the long legs was entertaining the children with his juggling act.


Daddy Long Legs the Juggler

This annual event has become so popular since HM Diamond Jubilee that it should be prominent on the Egglescliffe calendar for every year thereafter. Due to time constraints we had a few moments to go around the stalls and talk to the helpers and purchase a few artifacts for keepsake. They were a great bunch of people and wished them well for the rest of the day and for the future.

As we were due back for presentations at the Stockton Grand Prix event we said our adieus to the residents and John Fletcher and again thanking him for making us feel welcome and having great time at the event.