Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

week Commencing 26 June 2017

Monday 26 June 2017.

Attended a celebration of Stockton Sixth Form College Film and TV Students work at the Arc, Dovecote Street, Stockton.

It was at the request of Paul Wheatcroft (TV & Film PRIOR Pursgrove and Stockton Sixth Form College) to attend the Stockton Sixth Form College Media Showcase at the ARC cinema in Dovecote Street Stockton.

It was a real privilege for us to attend the show, which was a two hour celebration of the work of Six Form College Film and TV students and to understand more of how productions are formulated. The event is a showcase of the work of students on the BTEC Cert and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma courses in Film and Television Production. The programme covered a wide range of television and film genres, including news, entertainment and factual programming, soap opera, horror, teenage rites of passage and film noir, and is rated BBFC 15.

Students formed their own production companies and worked with professional agencies and clients in order to have the most vocational-relevant experience possible. The show provided them with the opportunity to screen their work to an audience of professionals, family, friends, and VIP’s. It was also the forum for the announcement of the Student of The Year which carries a prize of a week’s work experience at the ARC.

This year two of their films were entered into the Royal Television Society Awards which took place at Sunderland University and one of the students had also been shortlisted for the BTEC Student of the Year award. Students will graduate to the Northern Film School, Edinburgh Napier University, York St John and close partners the University of Teesside among many others.


Paul Gaverns – Chair of Governors, with first year media student winner Georgia Smith

At the end of the two hour show we assisted in presenting awards to first and second year Students of the Year, the major prize of which was a week- long work experience at the ARC. Callum Richardson, last year’s winner is still working at the ARC as are other students.


Paul Gavens, Chair of Governors with second year media student winner Chloe Row.

A good evening’s entertainment, the students were brilliant and their work was superb. We thanked the students and staff for their terrific production and wished them all good luck for the future.


Wednesday 28 June 2017

Attended Ash Trees Academy Celebrations event at Bowes Road Billingham


Tea party - with children at Ash Trees Academy.


We were met by a warm welcome from the Head of the Academy Wendy Coates, teaching staff and pupils. It was wonderful to be part of the end of term tea party celebrations with them all at Ash Trees Academy.

Ash Trees is a primary aged special academy based in Billingham and serving the Stockton borough area, it provides a wide range of services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families. These include services supporting care, development and education. The head of the academy noted that they have around 150 pupils who experience severe learning difficulties which include profound and complex medical needs and young people with autism. The vision of the academy is to provide an individual approach to learning in a nurturing environment that enables all to achieve.

The pupils asked me to tell them a little bit about our special role as Mayor and Mayoress of Stockton. I informed them that the office of Mayor is given to the longest serving councillor each year. 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, and I promote our town and borough as a great place to live and work.

I am the Queens representative for the borough, so I get the privilege of welcoming any important visitors who come here and represent the borough at any special events across the North East of England.

A big part of my role is to support local charities, and to support all the different communities that we have in our borough such as school communities like at Ash Tree’s. So it was fantastic to be able to go and see the pupils on their special day.

The tea party went really well and we struck up some good conversations with friends we made there. After a jolly good time the children gave us high fives and thanked us for coming to the celebrations and talking to them.


Immersive Room – for students to relax

As part of the afternoon session we visited Site 2 of Ash Trees Academy on Rievaulx Road.

We were introduced to some lovely children, again with profound and multiple learning difficulties and severe leaning difficulties and autism. We were enthralled by the wonderful way the teachers captured the imagination of the children, who were well look after and had a happy contented disposition. One of the rooms had been adapted into an immersive room so that children could play and invent with a relaxed atmosphere. We could have stayed there all day and done a spot of meditation.

Top marks to all who fulfilled the pupil’s dreams, giving them the opportunity to become better role models in future years.

We thanked them all for the tremendous work they were achieving at the academy and left knowing that the academy was in safe and secure hands.


Wednesday 28 June 2017

Attended the Mayor of Hartlepool Welcome Dinner at the Rifty Community Building, Masefield Road, Hartlepool


Paul beck Mayor of Hartlepool acknowledging his charities



Entertainment – Simon Carter 

Attended the Welcome Dinner for the New Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool at the Rifty Community Building in Hartlepool.

We were warmly welcomed by the Mayor and Mayoress of Hartlepool Councillor Paul Beck and Mary Beck giving thanks to the support given during their inauguration. The Welcome Dinner was also to support Paul’s charities those being Macmillan Cancer Support and the Rifty Youth Project. He talked with passion about his charities and worthwhile causes.

A local singer in the mode of Frank Sinatra provided the entertainment that had flair and style with a perfect voice; I almost thought he was Frank.

A good time had by all as we really enjoyed the evening and thanked Paul and Mary for everything. 


Thursday 29 June 2017

Attended the Tilery Primary School’s Annual History event at 10 Cliffport Court, Stockton


Centurion in battle dress 



Are these teachers or Romans

Attended Tilery Primary School Annual History Evening at St Ann’s Terrace Portrack Stockton. This was based around the theme of Famous People and the children gave presentations of their work that they had created throughout the year.

We met up with the Chair of Governors Liz Miller who gave us a tour of the school before settling down to our seats for the performances of performances. Just before settling down to enjoy the enactments I was whisked up to say a few words to the children on some interesting famous Stockton folk.

It was wonderful to be at Tilery Primary School at the annual History evening and I was looking forward to hearing all about the famous people in history that the pupils had learnt about. I was especially interested in pupil’s presentations as our borough has produced a lot of famous people. One of those was Ivy Close who won the Daily Mirror’s Most beautiful Woman in the World competition in the early 1900’s and became a famous film star staring in lots of silent movies.

There was Jimmy James and Eli Woods who were comedians in the 20th century. During modern day times there were TV and Film personalities such as Richard Griffiths – Pie in the Sky and The word cup winners of West Auckland. Stephen Tomkinson – Wild at Heart, and is now in a new play called The Red Lion, set in a semi-professional Northern League football club. We could go on as there are a whole host of famous historical figures from the borough - Brass Crosby, John Walker, Thomas Sheraton the furniture designer and Will Hay – who made a huge difference to the world that we live in.

It is very important that we celebrate the work of these famous people, so we do not forget the contribution that they made to the world. That’s why it was so good to be at this historical event, and hopefully we could learn lots of interesting facts from the presentations.


Roman soldiers guarding the school gates.

The show of all shows started with the world surrounded by Dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures then evolved throughout the years through different historic stages to Roman times then images created of Grace Darling the heroic shipwreck life saver through to modern times. I do believe we have some budding young talent in the making, especially the little girl who gave an impromptu singing performance without script or request, just got on the stage when no one was looking and delivered a tune so eloquent and very well performed, eat your heart out Simon Cowell.   

I thanked not only the staff who organised the event, but also family members and all the pupils who worked so hard throughout the year on this project. The delivery of the programme was tremendously enjoyable and the pupils gave an outstanding performance, again well done to you all.


Friday 30 June 2017

Attended the Durham University Summer Congregation at Durham Cathedral


Senior University staff gathering before the procession.

Attended the 2017 Durham University Summer Congregation at Durham Cathedral at 2pm with the Mayor of Durham and Consort and Senior University Staff.

The ceremony attended was for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health in Geography, Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, and the congregation was a gathering of members and friends of the University to witness and celebrate the achievements of Durham Graduates.


With the Mayor of Durham in our fine Robes. 



 Durham Cathedral’s beautiful stained glass windows.

After the procession into the Cathedral we were escorted to our seats, once the Presiding Officer was formally ordained, the congregation were seated then formalities began. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, gave an opening address indicating that they are committed to ensuring the students are well taught, challenged and nurtured during their time at Durham. They are taught directly by some of the world’s leading researchers in their fields, who are at the forefront of developments in the area, and can therefore apply their latest research to their teaching.


Today’s graduates have had opportunities to learn from and work with these inspiring researchers as well as participating in, and leading their college communities. The staff encourage the students to develop qualities such as leadership, open-mindedness, curiosity and social responsibility and to do so by participating and excelling in sport, the arts; music and outreach work at college and university level. Graduated students will be starting a new phase in their life, taking their skills and friendships they have gained out into the world, and we now look forward to seeing what they will achieve.


Senior University Staff at the graduation                            


Chancellor shaking hands with graduates

The Graduates were presented to the Chancellor of the University to shake hands and to be congratulated for their achievements. The Chancellor Sir Thomas Allen a County Durham Man from Seaham Harbour is the University’s 12TH Chancellor whose musical talent began with the Welsh National Opera and has won world acclaim for the many roles he has made his own, including Billy Budd, Pelleas, Eugiune Onegin, Ulisse and Beckmaster. Sir Thomas said as a County Durham boy he was extremely proud and honoured to be appointed as Chancellor of Durham University.

A special contribution award was bestowed on Professor Jane Macnoughton on behalf of the Phase 1 Medicine Programme at Queens Campus in Stockton. The award recognises and celebrates the contribution the programme has made to Durham and Newcastle Universities and to medical education in the Tees region.

On completion of the awards and closing ceremony the Congregation and Staff Procession lead the way out of the Cathedral on to Palace Green, followed by graduates and their guests into glorious sunshine with great applause. Well done to all the students in securing their degrees.


Sunday 2 July 2017

Attended the EID Fusion Festival – EID in the Park at Ropner Park, Stockton


With Charlie and Brian Scrafton at the Eid celebrations in the park.

Attended the wonderful Eid Fusion Festival on a warm sunny day in Ropner Park, Stockton.

This is the fourth year the festival has been here, in the beautiful setting of Ropner Park, and organised by the Friends of the Park along with the Community Welfare Trust and Stockton Council.

We met up with Brian Scrafton and Charlie, organisers of the festival who escorted us around the event.

Most of you will know that Eid marks the end of Ramadan, and it is therefore fitting that these celebrations included the fantastic food that was available. I tried the beef curry; it was delicious, congratulations to the cooks for the well prepared cuisine.

There were many things to do in the day such as live music and entertainment, disco, children’s activities, bouncy castle, assault course, crafts marquee, food marquee, and many more. There were charity organisations on display such as Daisy Chain which works with families affected by Autism, Dementia friendly organisation and others. There were also Love Art workshops from Norton. Cleveland Connect, operated by the Cleveland Police working in partnership with other relevant community safety organisations, was on hand giving opportunities to join Neighbourhood Watch or other local watch schemes.

The Army were in attendance- the Royal Regiment of Artillery, and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers who were looking for new members. We had an interesting conversation with an officer who was developing water project schemes in Africa using solar power energy to drive motors from shipment containers to bring water to the surface around villages with very little means of support. It sounds a good idea if the investment is available.


With volunteers



 Climbing wall enjoyed by many youngsters



Adrien Moule – Artist

One interesting activity was the presence of Adrian Moule a community worker and artist who lead the formation of a Mandala. Mandalas are complex abstract designs usually in the form of a circle with patterns evolved by using coloured sand or grain on cloth.

In this case the design was based around the river Tees and lots of children joined in to create images around the river banks with towns, churches, factories, communities and homes. At the end of the afternoon photographs were taken then the cloth lifted and the pattern disappeared. There is no permanent display only memories, that is the way with Mandalas, ready for the next artistic impression.


Crazy Colin entertaining little ones 



The curries were excellent


Families and friends united in celebration

It was great to see the whole community coming together to celebrate this special occasion. There was some wonderful entertainment and plenty of stalls to take in and enjoy.

undefinedLooking around the craft stalls with purchases by the Mayoress.

Another attraction which caught my eye were the team of craftsmen developing sculptures from wood and were looking for more volunteers to join them at St Cuthberts Church Hall on Billingham Green, anyone willing to have a go contact Vince O’Donnell 07845751555.

After listening with some interest to the Haji Ameer Qawwali Band I congratulated Friends of Ropner Park and Community Welfare Trust for putting on such a fantastic event over the last few years; and I wished them well as they continue to build on community friendships and the success of the Eid Fusion Festival In the years to come.