Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

week Commencing 19 June 2017

Monday 19 June 2017

Attended, Hoisting the Armed Forces Flag Raising Ceremony at the Town Hall Stockton High Street


Standard Bearers ready for salute

The Borough showed its support for the members of the armed forces, by raising the Armed Forces Day flag on Monday 19 June 2017.

There was a small parade of dignitaries from the Town Hall to the dais in the High Street next to the Market Cross, including the Lord Lieutenant of Durham Sue Snowdon and Colonel Heron. The public were invited to the service welcoming the launch of the Armed Forces Week and the ceremony to raise the Armed Forces Flag above the Town Hall.

Similar flag raising ceremonies were also taking place throughout the United Kingdom and across the world where ever our Armed Forces are based.


The Lord Lieutenant of Durham Sue Snowdon saying a few words

Once we were at the dais with the Lord Lieutenant of Durham the Standards marched into position in readiness for the ceremony to begin. After welcoming everyone to the ceremony, the Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowden said a few words in praise of the Armed Forces.


Colonel Heron

Colonel Heron introduced the ceremony and said it was an honour to observe British Army Forces Day, as a mark of deep respect for our serving personnel and veterans. This event is a poignant reminder of the things that our service personnel have to deal with, whether that is in conflict, civil protection, or the aftermath of a natural disaster. They undertake their duties with pride and courage and he thanked them all for their outstanding service.

The Standard Bearers were called to attention and presented standards, the order of salute was given and on command the bugler sounded the fanfare. On hearing the fanfare the flag was raised on the Town Hall. Once the flag reached the top of the mast and on completion of the fanfare the standards were recovered and the salute came to an end.

At the end of the ceremony I thanked everyone for turning up and hoped they could make it to the Armed Forces Week of events and activities to honour our Armed Forces – past, present and future, which were taking place in the High Street to the end of the week.


Attended the Opening of the Sculpture Park at Yarm Primary School, Spitalfields, Yarm


Students with their sculpture work

We were delighted to attended Yarm Primary School for the opening of their Sculpture Park. We were greeted by Jill Wood who introduced us to the head boy and head girl of the school and then escorted around the school to view the works of art/sculptures that pupils had created.

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Innovative art work -  Sculptures made out of recycled materials

It was a pleasure to see how creative the students had been in developing their art work around the school grounds and we thanked them all for giving us the opportunity to appreciate their wonderful work. There will obviously be some budding artist in the future.


Tuesday 20 June 2017

Attended the Mayor of Sunderland Summer Tour and Afternoon Tea at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland


Sunderland SAFC Stadium of Light

On behalf of Councillor Doris Macknight the Mayor of the City of Sunderland, we were invited to the Summer Tour of Sunderland SAFC and Cream Tea at the Stadium of Light.

It’s not often that we get to go to prestigious places and it was interesting to have a look around the Stadium of light in Sunderland. The tour was led by knowledgeable guides who took us behind the scenes, including dressing rooms, tunnel, press areas and the pitch itself. There was a lot of memorabilia on display of past trophies, teams and international stars including good old Brian Clough, one of the most prolific goal scorers of his time, especially when he was with Middlesbrough, and who then became a great manager with various clubs throughout England.


Mayor- Doris Macknight presenting raffle prizes



Brian Clough ex Boro player

The event was in support of raising money for the Mayors charities, which are Alzeimer’s Society, Phoenix Unit and Suderland Royal Hospital and Castleton Scouts. Doris thanked everone for their support and the generosity given was much appreciated. The afternoon tea was delicious.


Wednesday 21 June 2017

Hosting the Monthly Citizenship Ceremony in the Town Hall, Stockton

The ceremony was extra special as the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Professor Pali Hungin was also attending.  This month there were nine delegates in total who took part in the Citizenship ceremony and swore the oath of allegiance to our Queen and Country and became British Citizens. The delegates represented Poland, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and Hong Kong.

They gave their loyalty to the United Kingdom and to respect its rights and freedoms. They  will uphold its democratic values, and will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil their duties and obligations as a British citizen.


Attended the Tees Valley School Games at Middlesbrough Sports Village, Alan Peacock Way, Middlesbrough


Podium – winner, second and third

We were delighted to be invited to join over 1000 children and young people who were competing for their district at the 2017 Tees Valley School Games Summer Festival which was held at Middlesbrough Sports Village, Alan Peacock Way in Middlesbrough. It was a two day event, which we were able to join after lunch on the 21 June.

The Festival is a culmination of the intra-school festivals and competitions which have taken place in the districts across the Tees Valley during the 2016-2017 academic year. Over the two days primary school pupils competed in Athletics, Table Tennis, Tennis, TriGolf competitions and secondary school pupils in Cycling, Table Tennis, Tennis, Netball, Panathlon and Volleyball. There was also a Change4Life Festival held on the 22 June; a fun introduction to multiskills activities. All competitions and activities were supported by young Leaders who have been developing their leadership and officiating skills through Leadership Academies.


Table Tennis – participants

After lunch we were rewarded with a grandstand seat to see the 100m races and watched some young hopefuls going through their paces. After each race we presented medals to the winners, and those who came second and third.

The spirit of the games values focus on personal excellence through the competition. This is based on six values of passion, belief, respect, honesty, determination, and teamwork which were developed by young people to identify what the experience of school sport should be built around. 


The Table Tennis Boys wanted to do a Usain but the Mayoress decided on a Mo

We met up with Alan Ransom OBE, ex England player and now coach, and were delighted to take part in Table Tennis with some of the boys but were soundly thrashed. We have some excellent talent coming through Ii all the sport activities taking place for the future, to say the least.


Chaired the meeting of Full Council at the Town Hall Stockton

Chaired the meeting of full Council at the Town Hall, High Street Stockton.

We held a minutes silence for all the people that lost their lives in the incidents at Westminster Bridge, Manchester, London Bridge, Grenfell Tower and the incident near Finsbury Park Mosque. Our thoughts have been and are with the families and friends of all those that have been affected by the tragic events.

I noted that, with other members of the Council, it was a privilege to attend the Annual MJ Achievement Awards in London. Although not the winner, in fact it was won by the City of Wolverhampton Council, it was a fantastic result being named second best Local Authority in the country, an achievement that should be recognised by the people of this borough for the hard work and dedication that our Chief Executive, Neil Schnieder, his team, and Councillors who have contributed to delivering the high standard, quality services and investment in our long term future of the Borough. So from me, well done to everyone involved, and for the future, if the opportunity arises the result could be more favourable.

There was a presentation in relation to the Infinity Bridge Competition which took place in February of this year. The winning photograph was taken by Michelle Williams of Northumberland who wished to present me with a framed copy of her wonderful photograph, which was a pleasant surprise. I was absolutely delighted to accept it and thanked Michelle and well done on behalf myself and the Council for her kind thoughts. The framed photograph is now hanging above the entrance door in the Council’s Offices reception for all to see.

It was noted that David Bond the Director of Law and Democracy was retiring at the end of the month and this was his last council meeting. David had worked at the Council since 1987, giving 30 years of dedicated service to the Council. On behalf of the Council we thanked David for all his help and guidance over the years and presented him with a picture of the Infinity Bridge.


Thursday 22 June 2017

Hosted the Armed Forces Day at Stockton High Street


Residents were invited to join me to mark the Armed Forces Day in Stockton High Street

 The day included displays hosted by serving members and veterans of the Army, Navy and Air Force in the town centre who were offering information to people to find out about the past present and future of the Armed Services. The displays and information stands included a range of military and civilian support organisations, regular Army stands of vehicles and 1 Close Battalion REME, Museums from the Heugh Battery Hartlepool, local Regimental Association information stands, and Army reserve stands from 243 Provo Coy, 201 Field Hospital, 282 MC Sqn and 124 Recovery Coy.


Canadian volunteers.

During the day we had World War 1/World War 2 singer Janie St John entertaining us with her war time melodies, then Rosebrook Primary school choir gave a fabulous performance, followed by Year 5 youngsters from Crooksbarn Primary School providing us with some glorious dance routines, before Soprano Samantha Holden sang ‘White cliffs of Dover’, ‘We’ll meet again’ and many more favourites. Janie and Samantha entertained the crowds on the afternoon too, along with the excellent choir from St Cuthbert Primary School.

 The Vicar of St Michaels and all Angels, Norton and the Mayor’s Chaplain, Reverend Martin Anderson, conducted an Outdoor Service supported by the Salvation Army Band.


School children enjoying the day being shown around the Forces displays.

Rev Martin welcomed everyone to the service and introduced the people present, after which we sang the hymn Praise the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation. Readings were presented by myself, reading Psalm 46, then John 15:9-17 was read by Neil Schneider Chief Executive of Stockton Council. The sermon was delivered by The Rev Martin, followed by hymn O God, Our Help in Ages Past, during the hymn the Standards were collected. A poem was delivered ‘Remember what you Will’ by James Murdoch Ewing, then prayers for the Armed Forces, the Lord’s Prayer, then the National Anthem.

Following this The Blessing was given by The Rev Martin Anderson. Finally we sang the hymn ‘I vow to Thee My Country’, whilst the Standards were collected and then moved off at the service closure during which The Salvation Army Band played on.


Salvation Army Band and Standards on display during the service


With the standards on parade



 Soprano Samantha Holden with friend


Crooksbarn Primary School Dancers.


With army personnel celebrating the day

We would like to thank all those that supported the Armed Forces Week including officers and staff of Stockton Council for arranging the event to its excellence of delivery. It was a superb day had by all. Also wish to mention SSAFA, the armed forces charity who provide lifelong support to those who are serving or who have ever served in the British Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force, and their families, a real professional outfit.


Saturday 24 June 2017

Attended the Re-Launch of the Glebe Community Centre, Hanover Parade, Norton


Opening of the re-launch of the Glebe Community Centre

It was a great pleasure to be invited to the official opening of the re-launch of Norton Glebe Community Centre.  We were warmly greeted by Councillors David and Norma Wilburn and the Norton Glebe Residents Association who formally introduced us to the opening of the event. The self-funded centre provides a friendly base for activities at the heart of the community. An example of the work they do is the children’s art competition that was on display, and enjoyed seeing the entries, which was of a very high standard. The judging for the winners proved to be very difficult, they were all winners in my opinion, such high standards.


Norton Baptist Choir in full flow.


Judging Children’s art entries – difficult to pick out a winner, to me they are all winners.

The Residents association has worked very hard to re-launch the Centre, and while it has been open for almost 40 years, it was great to be there to celebrate a new chapter in the Centre’s life.

During the morning there was a variety of entertainment by the Norton Baptist Choir, a comedian, and a lady who sang the blues giving the ambience of music hall atmosphere which was very pleasing to all.   To celebrate the event, stalls and organisers were present to show how the groups had diversified in promoting awareness of social organisations, such as:

  • Diabetes - Amy and Julie
  • CHA - Mathew
  • Patients group @ Norton Medical Centre, COPD, Asthma etc. – Margaret
  • Slimming World – Amanda
  • Dementia – Lucy
  • More Life, family weight management – Julie
  • Post-Traumatic Stress – Vanessa and Yvonne
  • Norton Baptist Church Community – Jane
  • PCC-Cleveland – Hannah, show racism the red card.
  • SNAPS – Ruth 



Accordion lady – who played with a lot of passion, well done.

We had a great day and enjoyed every minute of it, meeting different groups, charities, entertainers, especially the lady playing the squeeze box at the entrance outside the building, I do love a good tune from the instrument, it was well played so thank you.


Sunday 25 June 2017

Attended the Fire Engine and Vintage Vehicle Show at Preston Park


One of the many new and vintage fire engines on display.

We attended the Fire Engine and Vintage Vehicle Show at Preston Park in Stockton on a warm sunny day and met up with Glen Layfield who gave us a tour of the vehicle displays around the park. The popular Fire Engine and Vintage Vehicle Show is now in its 36th year. There were thrills and spills for all the family to enjoy.

This event is the longest fire engine show in the country and proud to note it is the greatest assembly of preserved fire appliances in the North of England.

The show boasts over 400 exhibits this year and featured a drawn cart from the nineteen hundreds right through to a 2005 Ford Mustang with a great many other vehicles including Rolls Royce Shadow, an E type Jaguar, a Singer 9, and collections of micro cars and Austin Gipsy's


Rare vehicles on display.

During the afternoon there was a full programme of events including performances by the Royal Signals Motor Cycle Display Team, The White Helmets. Unfortunately after 90 years entertaining and thrilling the crowds with their dazzling arena displays, the team performed its final tour. 


The White Helmets – Royal Signals Motor Cycle Display Team

We also visited the many stalls and the craft marquee that were displaying an abundance of artefacts ready for purchase but we settled for a hot dog and a cup of coffee for a brief relaxing moment and take the weight off our feet, it was hot and it was tiring.

There was also the monster truck mayhem in the shape of ‘Swamp Thing’ with huge outsized wheels moving over and around obstacles; you don’t see those on the main roads very often. And of course from the fire service there were the Period Fire Fighting Display, Fireman Sam to the Rescue, Young firefighters, Modern Day Fire Rescue Service, all giving outstanding performances. 

undefined Best Special Fire Service Appliance Award

Once refreshed from the hot dog and coffee, it was a pleasure to present prizes and awards to this year’s winners and thanked the exhibitors who spent their days and nights lovingly restoring, cleaning and polishing the fine vehicles on display. Many of the fire appliances and exhibits have travelled a long way to be at the event, from as far as Kilmarnock in the north to Woodbridge in Suffolk to the south. It is with their continued support that the show has grown to the size it is today.

The event couldn’t take place without the hard work and effort given by the members and families of the Teesside Airport Fire and Rescue who give their time to raise valuable funds for the Fire Fighters Charity who improve the quality of life for serving and retired fire service personnel.

This was another fine summer event produced and delivered by Stockton Borough Council; thanks go to the teams that provided the great attractions and entertainment.


Hosting the Mayors Duck Race at Preston Park


There seemed to be ducks everywhere.

During the Fire Engine and Vintage Vehicle display, we took some free time off to host the Mayors annual duck race in aid of the armed forces charities. This year’s race took place at 1.00pm at the mooring jetty on the River Tees, down from the Hall in Preston Park, where the ducks were launched into the river from the Teesside Princess near the jetty.

Ducks were sponsored for £1 at the Rediscover Shop in the High Street and at the reception counter in the Council’s Municipal Buildings on Church Road. Businesses and individuals also sponsored special larger corporate ducks for £100 a go.


The duck pen – can you see any of yours.

This is always a really fun event that puts a smile on people’s faces while raising money for a great cause, and the first 10 past the finishing line won some really good prizes.

undefined With some sponsors at the jetty, the little lad was given a duck for being brave

All the money raised will be given to the charities set up by the regiments given the Freedom of the Borough, namely the Rifles Care for Casualties, The Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Fund, and One Close Support Regiment REME. My thanks go to all those who supported the race by sponsoring a duck, Teesside Golf Club, Wynyard Hall who provided prizes and the generous sponsors of the corporate ducks, namely:

  •  Albany Office Equipment
  • Baines Jewitt
  • Catalyst
  • Wharton Construction
  • Wynyard Park
  • K Home International
  • Suez
  • Tees Active

It was a brilliant afternoon, although not to plan due to wind movements, the ducks changed course to go up river to Yarm, instead of normally flowing down stream towards Stockton. Quick action intervened and the finishing line was changed to suit. It was a good laugh overall as the river was bathed in brilliant sunshine all afternoon


These were the real ducks not the plastic ones, and none of these were involved in the race