Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Week Commencing 23 October 2017

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Attended the opening of JD Training in Silver Street Stockton


Opening JD Training Solutions

It gave me great pleasure to be at the official opening of JD Training Solution’s new premises.

We heard from the Chief Executive, Neil Schneider about the sign of confidence JD Training has shown in the Borough and as Mayor, and therefore as the first citizen, of the borough I gave a warm welcome to the new premises. It was great to hear about and a business doing well and I hope that there move to Stockton’s Town Centre helps JD Training to be even more prosperous.


JD Training – First aid training room and equipment

JD have been providing training solutions for over 10 years to some of the North East and UK’S biggest companies and organisations and are one of the area’s leading health and safety training and first aid providers. They offer a range of health and safety and first aid training courses for organisations, including accredited qualifications. Their health and safety, first aid consultants/trainers are qualified and experienced with an appropriate background in First Aid, the health and safety industry and many years of experience in delivering engaging first aid and health and safety programs.

They also design and deliver unique health and safety training packages for organisations or individuals, on specific topics such as COSHH, permit and environmental health and safety. Their experienced health and safety consultants are available to help businesses meet their legal obligations in the various areas of health and safety. They also provide a range of services including inspections audits and professional health and safety advice.


With staff of JD Training in Silver Street

Many customers have said JD Training has offered them advice whenever they needed it and have found them professional but always friendly and easy to approach. If you need to get in touch with JD Training, you can contact them at:

Apex House,

Silver Street, Stockton on Tees,

TS18 1SX or

01642 602600

[email protected]

I was therefore delighted to officially open the centre and wished them the very best for the future.


Tuesday 24 October 2017

Attended the Billingham 50th Celebrations at Billingham Town Centre


With the Integrated Care Team – We believe in Potential. A wonderful bunch who do a magnificent job

It was a privilege to be invited to the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the Billingham Forum Complex. We were welcomed by the Forum Manager Roy Broadbent who invited me to talk briefly about the Forum Complex and its history/50th celebrations. 

 I was delighted to welcome everyone in attendance to the 50th birthday celebrations of the Billingham Forum Complex; it is hard to believe that this iconic building is now 50 years old. The Forum, as it commonly known, was originally opened by her Majesty The Queen on 19 October in 1967 and then officially re-opened following a multi-million pound refurbishment by her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex. There are not many buildings in the North East that have warranted or received two formal Royal openings! This is unique. 

I felt honoured to be at the celebrations and to be part of the special occasion. Tees Active, who manage this facility, were holding a special week of activities to mark the centre’s golden anniversary and I encouraged everyone and their families to pop in over those days.

Following lunch there was an opportunity for everyone to trip the light fantastic in the atrium, where Lesley Crawford was holding an afternoon dance class. Also in the atrium there was a 1960’s room depicting a moment it time.

The week long celebrations were fitting, for the Forum Complex is hugely important to local people and home to many sporting clubs. It has also been serving the wider community for five decades and it attracts visitors from far and wide through delivery of its diverse activities, events and performances. I think we can all agree that the Forum Complex has been a huge success and a fantastic contribution to our Borough  -  and long may it continue to serve us.

I shared some interesting facts with everyone about the Forum and the Theatre and pointed out some of the famous personalities that have visited the complex over the years. The Theatre has welcomed performing celebrities from Sir Ian McKellan to Sir David Jason. Other notable stars who have performed at the Forum include: Bruce Forsyth, Wendy Richards, Jimmy Edwards, Eric Sykes, Darren Day, Arthur Lowe, Penelope Keith, Terry Scott Timothy West, Dame Anna Neagle, Roy Chubby Brown, Joe McElderry and many others.

The Ice Rink arena once hosted a tennis competition which included Ilie Nastase. Matt Baked from the BBC’s One Show attended the Forum’s Gymnastics class here. One of the Ice Coaches from the Forum, Andre Lipanov performed as an ice professional in the TV show, Dancing on Ice.

In 2013 the centre was the first venue to be chosen outside of the Tyneside region to host the BBC regional sports personality awards.

Prior to watching  a premier showing of a commissioned film, incorporating a collection of old and new video clips along with some original footage from the 1960’s, I invited Steve Chaytor, Managing Director of Tees Active to say a few words about the film and its production. Steve confirmed that the Bilingham Forum Complex welcomes a million visitors ever year and continues to be a busy, exciting and vibrant place and a much loved facility used by communities, visitors and sporting clubs alike.  

When Steve approached Tees Valley arts to commission the film he wanted to show not only the rich history of the Forum but also how the centre has changed and adopted over the years and how it has become an iconic building not just for the sixties but for the millennium. The film was shown and made us feel nostalgic for the past but it also gave us an optimistic future for the complex.

After a cup of coffee we went down to the atrium and was introduced to Lesley Crawford the dance teacher leading the afternoon dance who put us through our paces. We then relaxed in the 60’s room provided by the volunteers of Preston Park, listening to pop music, Skiffle, Beatles and the like, it was a very enjoyable nostalgic moment.

We also met up with some fantastic carers, who were part of the Integrated Care Team looking after needs people, and were promoting the ‘We believe in Potential project’. We have a lot of admiration for these folk as they are doing a wonderful job. If you wish to contact them  see or Tel 0845 5439911.

We cut the celebration cake and distributed to all visitors within the Forum, and then wished the management of the Forum continued success for the future, may it continue to grow from strength to strength and see local people enjoy these fantastic facilities for many generations to come.

A great day was had by all.


Met a prolific ice skater and her mum – after she skated through an excellent routine

We visited the Ice Arena which is still recognisable from its original  design but during the Forums refurbishment in 2009, the ice arena was rejuvenated with a new ice pad and upgraded spectator area, toilets and skate hire distribution point and changing facilities. On the day we were entertained by a young skater who delivered her routine with ease and grace during an excellent routine.

At the end of the afternoon we thanked everyone for their hard work and commitment in organising such a wonderful event, Billingham Forum is still going strong and gives a lot of value to residents throughout the borough, and may continue to do so.


Met up with some friends in the Atrium


Relaxing in the 60’s room listening to the Beatles




Forum entertainment – children enjoyed his juggling prowess


Wednesday 25 October 2017

Attended the Captain Cook Birthday Commemoration at The Conservative Club, All Saints Church and High Street, Great Ayton


All Saints Church – Great Ayton

At the invitation of Councillor David Hugill, Chairman of Hambleton District Council we attended the birthday celebrations to commemorate the Birth of Captain James Cook in All Saints Church Great Ayton.


Organist in All Saints                                              


All Saints - Chapel

With other civic guests from various districts such as Whitby, Great Ayton, Hambleton District, Redcar and Cleveland and various other guests we firstly attended a service at All Saints Church in Great Ayton. During the service we where welcomed by the Reverend Paul Peverell, Vicar of Great Ayton and Easby. Our first hymn was ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’, followed by Psalm 121 read by Councillor John Fletcher.

A short talk was presented on The Life of Captain Cook by Peter Walker, Trustee of the Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum this was followed by the hymn ‘Hills of the north rejoice’. The Reading  Mathew 14: 22-36 was presented by Councillor Gary Readman, Chairman of the Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum Trust. The Reverend Lisa Quarmby, Minister of Great Ayton Methodist Church delivered an Address, then prayers followed for Explorers, and for the State.

The Lords Prayer was read by all, after which a collection was taken for the maintenance of the ancient  All Saints Church, during which the hymn was sung ‘Now thank we all our God’. The Blessing was delivered by the Reverend Paul Peverellto conclude.

undefined With civics and the Rev at the young Cook statue on Great Ayton High Green – Laying wreaths

We retreated to the Royal Oak Hotel for lunch, good nosh and excellent company


Attended the Funeral of Peter Andrew at the Stockton Parish Church, High Street

Peter Andrew 76 was Stockton on Tees Borough Council’s  Deputy Leader during the 1990’s and served as Mayor in 2000/1. A former civil servant with a keen interest in cricket, Mr Andrew was councillor for the Hardwick ward from 1991 to 2003. He worked very hard for the people of the Borough and cared deeply about the Hardwick ward he represented.  

Our deepest thoughts are with his family.


Attended the Festival of Light and Colour at High Street and the ARC in Dovecote Street, Stockton


Shadow performances in the High Street

Attended the Festival of Light and Colour in Stockton which was inspired by the spirit Diwali.

The free event started at 6.00pm, featured a performance of music and light on the High Street. This followed the story of the great warrior Prince Rama and his beautiful wife Sita told by shadow play. It also featured music by Dhol drummers, Punjabi songs and traditional Hindu Dance. The evening also included a lantern parade from the town centre to the ARC where we enjoyed free traditional Indian food and performances at The Point with food kindly provided by Matty’s Bistro. 

The Shadow performance scenes with recorded soundtrack were as follows:

Scene 1 – Sita and Rama and the Village.

Scene 2 – The kidnap of Sita and the dropping of jewels to lead Rama to her.

Scene 3 – The search for Rama and the meeting with Hanuman the Monkey King.

Scene 4 – The bridge to Ravana’s lair.

Scene 5 – The mighty battle and the death of Ravana

Scene 6 – Light fills the space fountain; lights on the High Street.


Dohl Drummers followed by lantern groups and civic guests and everyone else proceeded to The ARC.


Lights on the High Street

The guests and public followed the Dohl Drummers right into the ARC and eventually through to stage arena for further performances. Mike Mike McGrother welcomed all to the arena stage and introduced Hindu Dancers who performed with expert dance routines which everyone enjoyed.


Hindu Dancers

Following the Dancers a Punjabi song was taught to all in the room by Umaaar who lead the song and music to all present. From this welcoming event, it was a pleasure to see and understand Hindu culture and thanked the people who arranged and organised this excellent celebration, which was also enjoyed by community groups such as Eastern Ravens, Bridges, Snaps and older peoples groups. A very enjoyable evening by all.


Friday 27 October 2017

Attended Emily Thompson’s 100th Birthday Celebrations at Piper Court Care Home, Hardwick, Stockton


With Emily Thompson – 100th birthday celebrations

Emily told me she grew up in London, part in Australia and of course Stockton which she loved as her first home. She was married twice and had one son but unfortunately they are all deceased, she has a granddaughter living in Australia who she still keeps in contact with. 

Emily not only worked as a domestic but also worked in an Aircraft Factory when a lot younger. When asked about her hobbies she still likes reading the local papers, when able likes to play dominoes, is a dab hand at jigsaw puzzles, and used to do a lot of knitting for other people and herself.

She got a little tired at one point but perked up when we both cut her 100th Birthday cake, then had a lovely tea party afterwards.

We gave a toast to Emily for her longevity of life of this remarkable lady and wished her many more birthdays in the future. 


100th Birthday cake for Emil Thompson


Friday 27 October 2017

Attended the Presentation of the French Legion of Honour to Tom Rutter at the Don Bar, Stockton

It was a great privilege and proud to meet Tom Trotter who’s bravery throughout World War two is appreciated immensely. Roger Bannister opened proceedings by saying a few words for Tom.  

Roger said that it was a proud duty for him to carry out, some days are rough and other days are great and said he would crawl over broken glass to honour a Gentle man such as Tom Trotter. The French government are awarding Legion of Honour medals for those men who took part in the D-Day landings and advances after. Our country are proud of men like Tom of Stockton-on-Tees and the town are also proud.

I thanked Roger for his kind words and then talked about Tom’s background and his family. Tom will recall whilst landing on Omaha Beach and part of the airfield construction, dodging enemy fire from German aircraft and seeing how some of his mates were killed right next to him, a very traumatic experience in itself, but what followed in a near death experience, seeing his family looking down on him as he looked up to the sky, I’m convinced they were saying you're not ready to go yet mate. Whilst being present in Luneburg Heath in 1945 as the Treaty was being signed by Field Marshall Montgomery I am sure there was great relief for Tom and everyone else knowing the war was officially over.

But his family meant everything to him, as Tom disobeyed orders by seeking out his sister Ada, who became stationed at Luneburg after being away from the family with the ATS for over 5 years. Without seeing any of them over that period, she was obviously a welcoming sight and therefore Tom stayed longer than he should have and was put on jankers for being late back into barracks. Tom would say it was worth it, seeing his sister after such a long time, and so say all of us.

This day was about recognising the actions of Tom which led the French Government to award him France’s highest military accolade ‘The Legion of Honour’.

As Mayor it was my privilege, on behalf of the residents of the Borough, to honour Tom for his contribution to events which changed the course of history.

In closing I asked everyone to join me in giving a round of applause for our Stockton hero and, Knight of the 'Legion of Honour’.    

undefined Tom giving me his account of his actions during World War 2

We thanked the landlady, Julie, for allowing past, present and family members for the use of the Don Bar for the special occasion. It was a very emotional day for all. 



Tom with family and friends in the Don Bar, Stockton



Friday 27 October 2017

Attended the Hartlepool Mayor’s Charity Civic Dinner at West Hartlepool Rugby Club, Catcote Road, Hartlepool


Mayor Paul Beck – Welcoming speech with the Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowdon

It was with great delight to be invited by Paul Beck to the charity dinner in support of his charities. We were entertained by a live band ‘Young Drifters’ who played and sang soul and rock music throughout the evening. They were an excellent group and livened the evening whilst members danced with energy and verve.

Paul and Mary support their charities with great enthusiasm, all monies raised  go to the  Macmillan Cancer Support and The Rifty Youth Project. There were lots of interesting raffle prizes on offer to be won and the evening was well served with fine fare at the dinner tables which was excellent to say the least.

We thanked Paul and Mary for the tremendous work they are committed to and hoped that they continue their vigilance throughout their Mayoral year, and it was a pleasure to be in attendance at such an event.


The Mayoress with Mayor and Mayoress of Hetton and Consort of North Tyneside


The Mayoress with Mayor and Mayoress of Hetton and Consort of North Tyneside


A lucky winner of the TV prize, presented by Sue Snowdon to the Mayor of Durham


Saturday 28 October 2017

Attended the Launch of Stockton’s Poppy Appeal at Stockton Town Hall


Poppy Day appeal – Outside the Town Hall with sponsors and organisers

At the request of Lin Simpson, it was a great honour to be at the launch of the  2017 Poppy Appeal. The first Poppy Appeal was held in 1921, the founding year of The Royal British Legion, to remember those who served and were killed in the Great War. The funds raised from that first appeal helped World War 1 veterans find employment and housing.

96 years later the Poppy is an iconic symbol Remembrance, worn by millions of people across the country throughout November to remember those Service men and women killed in all conflicts since The Great War. Hundreds of volunteers help to distribute the poppies and funds raised support the vital work that the Royal British Legion carries out for the Armed Forces Community.

I thanked the Stockton and Yarm Branch of the British Legion, who were there on the day to begin the appeal in our area, for all the hard work they do in helping Serving and Ex-Members of the Armed Forces throughout the year. Last year they raised a staggering sum of £89,571.10 which was the highest ever, a testament to the hard work carried out by the organisers and the public who support this great appeal.I hope this year they can raise more than ever to ensure they can continue providing their crucial services. 


With Julie who runs the Don Bar and lone piper playing ‘Flowers of the Forest’


With ex-service members who support the Poppy Appeal throughout the North East

We were welcomed by the Stockton Cadets and Armed Forces Bikers who support the Poppy appeal throughout the North East and it is with pride that I thank everyone for their invaluable contributions. 

Attended the Civic Head of Northumberland County Council Charity Concert at St Mary’s Parish Church, Wooler, Northumberland 


The civic Head of Northumberland County Council Anthony Murray MBE, thanking all who attended his Charity Concert in Wooler Northumberland

Attended an evening of song with the Ashington & District Male Voice Choir through invitation by Councillor Anthony Murray MBE Civic Head of Northumberland County Council. In his opening address Anthony said that traditionally the Civic Head has supported a charity of their choice, raising as much money as they can for that charity. They wanted the money raised to be spent within Northumberland. They know only too well the difficulties faced by families affected by cancer and the help and support they need, so they decided to choose Macmillan Cancer Support, and also support St Mary’s Church Wooler.


Ashington and District Male Voice Choir in full flow

Ashington and District Male Voice Choir was formed in 1916 and gave this concert in support of the Civic Head’s charities. The concert was performed in two halves with the Musical Director Jonathan Shaw and Accompanist with Derek Brett delivering proceedings.

In the first half they sang:

African Prayer by Enoch Sontonga

If I ruled the World by Bricusse/Ornadel

My Lord, What a Mornin - traditional arranged by W, Stickles.

Seventy Six Trombones by Meredith Wilson.

Stout Hearted Men by Oscar Hammerstein III / S. Romberg.

Myfanwy – traditional.

Yard Seam from Hell ‘Em Doon’ by Derick Hobbs.

Morte Christe by Emrys Jones

The Long Day Closes by Henry F. Chorley.


There was a short interval where a collection was made in support of Macmillan Cancer and St Mary’s Church. The second half they sang:

When the Saints go Marching In – traditional.

Softly as I Leave You by Vita & . H.Shaper.

Anthem from Chess by T. Rice.

American Trilogy - traditional.

Sit Down Your’e Rocking the Boat by Frank Loesser.

The Song of the Jolly Roger by C.F. Chudleigh Candish

The Keel Row by W.G. Whittaker

The Water of the Tyne – Northumberland Folj.

Bobby Shafto – English Sea Shanty

With Cat Like Tread by Gilbert and Sullivan.



St Mary’s Church – Wooler

Councillor Anthony Murray MBE gave a closing address with acknowledgements and thanked everyone for their support for the charity concert. We thanked Anthony for the wonderful evening of song and wished him well in his charity work and the rest of his Mayoral role in office. 


Jonathan Shaw conducting the choir


Sunday 29 October 2017

Attended Teesside District Sea Cadets Trafalgar Day Service at the Cenotaph, Linthorpe Road Middlesbrough


Naval cadets lining up ready for the parade

Attended the Teesside District Sea Cadets Trafalgar Day Parade and Service at the Cenotaph in Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, this to commemorate the 212th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, the greatest Naval Victory for HM Royal Navy.  The Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC) encourage children from 10 to 18 years of age to become responsible citizens using the guidelines of the Royal Navy.

Principal guests included  Sir Harry Wilmot Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Mayor and Mayoress Paul and Mary Beck, Mayor and Mayoress of Redcar and Cleveland Karen and Dee King and the Guisborough Town Mayor and Mayoress Dennis and Honour Teasdale and Middlesbrough armed Forces Champion Councillor Linda Lewis.

Prior to the ceremony we had cups of tea to keep us warm at the Albert Park Pavillion, them formed up ready for the parade to the Cenotaph. The Marine Cadets guard received the colours and proceeded us in marching to the Cenotaph, they halted at the South Africa War Memorial to receive the Veterans and Standards.

The VIP’s then inspected the Guard, Standards and Cadet detachment/Platoons prior to the service. The service was conducted by Reverend Ray Morris former Chaplain at Teesside Hospice. The first hymn sung was  ‘Eternal father strong to save’ followed by the Address by Reverend Ray Morris. Nelson’s Prayer – Before the Battle of Trafalgar was read by a cadet from T.S Erimus, ‘May the Great God whom I worship’.

VIP’s then laid wreaths at the Cenotaph in the memory of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson’s Battle of Trafalgar. Prayers were delivered then the National Anthem followed by the Blessing.

The parade returned to the pavilion to ‘Take the Salute’, then fall out the Officers and Guard to take light refreshments in the Pavillion.

Middlesbrough Sea Cadets thanked the following people for taking part in the Teesside District Trafalgar Day Parade and Service, organised to commemorate Admiral Lord Nelson who, although outnumbered and outgunned, defeated the French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar in 1805:

Cleveland Constabulary, Civics of Middlesbrough, Redcar, Guisborough, Stockton and Hartlepool. Tracy and the Staff of Albert Park, Staff of the Dorman Museum, Standard Bearers from Various Ex-Forces organisations and their members, Dignitaries from Teesside, Sea Cadet Staff, Cadets and Volunteers from Teesside district, Cleveland Army Cadet Force Band, The Royal British Legion Bikers, The Evening Gazette and the Northern Echo, County Print for the Printing of the Orders of Service, and everyone else attending the parade and service. A bid thank you to all.

It was a marvelous day, bathed in sunshine although quite cold, it was appropriate and an honour to be part of the celebrations to commemorate The Battle of Trafalgar. 


Wreath laying at the Cenotaph


The march past through Albert Park with final salute


Sunday 29 October 2017

Attended the Stockton and District Table Tennis Junior Tournament, The Pavillion Thornaby


The girls Final


The Boys Final

Met up with Colin Davidson, Chair of the Stockton League to watch the finals in progress and to present prizes to the winners and runners up in the Junior Girls and boys events.

The play was of excellent quality and for juniors to raise such a high standard was unbelievable, the play was so quick at times it was difficult to see where the ball was. I can honestly say the finalists were of such experience that they could be future stars.


Presentation of Girls Finalists and Colin Davidson


Presentation of the Boys Finalists



Mayoress with Jevon Chan and Colin Davidson.

Also met up with a very good friend of mine Jevon Chan who earlier in the year won The Stockton Open Table Tennis Championships. He also plays tennis with me at the Billingham Tennis Club in Whitehead Park, Billingham.  

We thanked Colin Davidson for the invitation and the enjoyment we had throughout, watching the tournament to its conclusion. Earlier David Hutchinson, Tournament Organiser, noted the sponsors, Tees Active Limited, have supported the tournament for many years and without their considerable support they would be unable to run the event in the manner in which they have become accustomed. He also thanked everyone else for supporting and promoting the tournament and hoped to everyone had an enjoyable and successful weekend in Stockton on Tees.