Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Week Commencing 21 November 2016

21 November 2016

Attended NIFCO Apprentice Graduation event, at NIFCO, Stockton. This was hosted by Mike Matthews MBE, the Managing Director. It was pleasing to see the graduation of these seven apprentices to fully fledged Purchasing, Logistics, Process and Maintenance Engineering and also Toolmaking status. These apprentices have shown an unfaltering commitment and a genuine focus to succeed. Well done, and a great deal of credit goes to NIFCO in their continuing enthusiasm and commitment to keep the apprentice scheme a success.


22 November 2016

Attended Stuart Corbridge’s, The Vice Chancellor of Durham University, residence for a formal dinner. This gave other distinguished guests and I a chance to explore what the University has in store for not only Durham but the Queens Campus, Stockton. From what was discussed about the proposal for the Queens Campus re alignment, it seemed really positive.


23 November 2016


Tour of North Tees Hospital, where I was met by Paul Garvin, Trust Chairman, I was escorted on a tour of the Endoscopy Unit for the screening diagnostic and screening for bowel cancer. I was given very informative talks by Catherine Wojik, Anne Waller, Joan Lattaway and Professor Rutter, we then discussed advanced endoscopy therapy/research, finishing up with a presentation by Consultant Surgeon Mr Anil Agarwal. I did this tour as an insight to the causes, prevention and ultimate treatment of bowel cancer as this is one of my charities. Bowel cancer is responsible for 41,000 of cancers with an estimated over 16,000 cases resulting in death; this is a staggering figure considering it is preventable and curable. If only more people would get to know the signs and symptoms a lot of deaths and radical treatment could be prevented. We know there is a stigma attached when referring to the bowel area of our bodies, however we have to forgo this stigma and check for the most important signs and symptoms, SO PLEASE CHECK YOU COULD BE GLAD YOU DID!

For further information and advice please contact  or .

As I have mentioned, if you wish to donate to the Mayors Charity Fund please email [email protected].


I attended the Mayor of South Tyneside’s Mediterranean Charity Night in South Shields. Met with other dignitaries of the area again and extolled the virtues of Stockton as an up and coming business area and the amount of first class events we stage. Didn’t win on the raffle again!


24 November 2016


I hosted the visit of the Lord Lieutenant of Durham Sue Snowdon’s tour of the borough, she together with her husband Keith had a welcoming lunch at the Town hall, we then visited Country Valley Foods at Billingham. This is an up and coming company that deals with meat products slicing and curing different meats to a high quality, we were taken all around the various parts of the operation including the deep freeze area. I have to admit it was a very interesting tour, and have to admit even the outside 7 degrees temperature seemed hot compared to what temperature we had been walking around in, must admit also the Mayoress looked a picture in her hair net, white wellingtons and white coat. They also have a crockery shop that is open to the public and well worth a visit. Thank you to Edward and James Munro (managing directors) for showing us around. We then had a short visit to the Globe Theatre and viewed the work already carried out and the enormity of the task of fully restoring the whole building.

We then visited the popular and expanding Enterprise Arcade on the High Street, what an eclectic array of units, we were treated to sweet making by the confectionary stall holder. Then on to the Georgian Theatre/Courtyard Hotel and a visit to the Christmas market.


We then attended the Town Hall where we were honoured and privileged to present ‘Citizen of Honour ‘ Certificates to two very special men, George Shields and the Ronald Veitch. Sadly Ronald passed away a few days ago however his brother, Sid and son, Geoff attended in his honour. Both men had been recognised by the French Government and awarded their highest accolade the ‘Legion of Honour’ for their courageous actions in the D-Day landings. It was really a great honour to present these certificates as a mark of the courage shown by our own.


We were then driven along the High Street in an open top vintage car to the stage and singing Christmas tree. We went on stage and were interviewed by Lisa McCormack and were entertained by the Wild cats of Kilkenny. We then switched on the lights, what a fabulous spectacle, especially for the fantastic turn out that filled the High Street!


25 November 2016


I attended Teesside High School Speech Day, Eaglescliffe. Students were given their trophies and certificates for a wide and varied selection of academic, musical and sporting attainments.

The standard shown was extremely high with every student gaining an accolade; we were the treated to a speech by Mike McGrother (of the Wild Cats of Kilkenny). In his own and inimitable way he told of his back ground tracing it back to Ireland. He actually walked from his ancestors place of birth to his home in Stockton retracing the journey his forefathers had taken, he then finished up by giving his reason why we should all be Hero’s and ”Infant Hercules’s’’’. Mike then sang a song dedicated to Finley Cooper who tragically died at the age of two and his father Colin has set up a charity in his name under the banner of Dragonfly. Thank you to all the staff and pupils at the school for an enjoyable day.


I attended the Chair of North Yorkshires dinner commemorating the centenary of the end of the Battle of the Somme, which was held in Ripon. We were sat with Lord and Lady Kirkhope (Lord Kirkhope had made his maiden speech in the House of Lords Last week) and Lady Masham. Again as you would expect I championed the Stockton area and I think I got some enthusiastic feedback, yippee won a plant on the raffle. We had a thoroughly enjoyable night thanks again to the Chair of North Yorkshire Val Arnold.


26 November 2016


Attended Thornaby Town Centre and met up with Paul Joyce chairman of Boundary 500, this is a group of about 160 today who travel in convoy all over the area raising money for charity, so far they have raised a staggering £650,000, absolutely fantastic!. I, the Mayoress and other dignitaries travelled on an open top bus behind the main motorcycle convoy, what a good start, I neglected to see that a tree was overhanging and got hit smack on my head by a branch! (no damage caused to the branch). We travelled through Thornaby up to and along Stockton High Street, along the Wilderness Road and through Middlesbrough town centre. Then along A66 to South Bank, Eston then Redcar High Street, finishing at Kirkleatham. What an experience ,there were crowds out lining the route cheering and supporting the riders on, I have to admit to being somewhat wind swept and cold, but it was in a good cause, the bacon buns and coffee at the end went down well with everyone. Thanks again to Paul and also Brian Laverick for a great experience and hospitality. Any further information please see -Boundary500 Facebook page.


Attended the Drake bookstore, Silver street, Stockton for their Civilised Saturday as opposed to Black Friday. This is aimed at people attending grabbing a coffee and browsing the books. The author of ‘DUST’, Mark Thompson, was also there signing books. Marks first book has attracted acclaim in some writing quarters and looks to be selling well! We had a relaxing time, which is what it was designed for, thanks to Richard Drake for his hospitality.


Attended Thornaby Bowls Club Presentation night at the Cricket Club, Thornaby, I awarded a big array of trophies out to members, one in particular will need a barrow to take his home.

On talking to members it was obvious that they need to recruit more members in particular the younger element, so any budding bowls people or aspiring wannabe’s please contact the Thornaby Bowls Club. I am actually thinking of joining myself! We were then treated to a solo singer after the bingo and raffle, again never won! Thank you to all the members and especially Brian Lewis for their hospitality, they are going to send a cheque to my office as a donation to my charities, again thank you.