On Thursday 19th May 2016 I was elected to be the Mayor of Darlington, with my wife Councillor Doris Jones B.E.M as my Mayoress. This blog is intended as a journal of the engagements carried out by the Mayor and Mayoress with occasional comments.
During his time in office, Brian will carry out approximately 350 civic engagements - in effect, dedicating a year of his life to the Mayoralty. This leaflet [pdf document] outlines the role of the Mayor; his main aims; the charities, organisations and people he is supporting; and how your help and support can make a really huge difference.
The Mayor’s Role – Speeches
The role of the Mayor is to assist you in celebrating and recognising achievements and milestones. As the First Citizen the protocol should be for the Mayor to formally open an event or welcome guests or maybe present awards. Given the numerous and varied events each year we appreciate that every function is unique. Please feel free to contact the Mayor’s Office if you need to discuss arrangements. If the Mayor is asked to speak then background information is always welcome.
- This morning we opened the new branch of the Newcastle Building Society in town. The place was packed with guests and it was good to see the Society’s commitment to Darlington when others are deserting the High Street. A few weeks ago my wife and I had been involved in their Darlington Journey’s project where they had interviewed local people about their memories of the town. My wife was one of those interviewed and they had produced a magnificent book with some wonderful photographs. We were delighted to be presented with a copy and it will be a prized possession from our Mayoral year.
- This evening we were in Durham to witness The Rifles performing the Ceremonial Beating of the Retreat on Palace Green. A fabulous location (as the Chairman of Durham County Council keeps reminding me) and I cannot deny it. A very well rehearsed performance of some tricky and complicated manoeuvres.
- We joined Jane Bradshaw and staff from St Teresa’s Hospice to open their new Super Store on McMullen Road. The store will be selling white goods, furniture, pictures etc. to raise more funds for their valuable work. It’s always a great pleasure to work with Jane and her colleagues.
- This afternoon we were in Hummersknott school visiting members of the Polish community who were celebrating Polish Day. The event was very well attended and very informal. What lovely friendly people who really appreciated having the Mayor and Mayoress present. We’ve never had so many photographs taken at an event.
- It’s not often I’m invited to a Teddy Bears Picnic, but that’s where I am this morning. The Friends of the Denes had organised a picnic and get together in Play Dene. Sadly, the weather was average with a chilly wind and dark clouds threatening rain. Nevertheless there were quite a few who braved the weather, wrapped up and sitting out on rugs and making the most of it.
- Well, less than two weeks to go now, but still a dozen or so engagements to carry out. Where has the year gone??
- A visit to South Tyneside college this evening to join the Mayor and Mayoress for a meal cooked and served by college students. It was really good, very tasty and worthy of a good hotel.
- To North Tyneside today for afternoon tea. The large room was packed with special guests and entertainment was provided by a local school choir. I was trying not to eat at all because of the next engagement.
- Which was a fish and chip supper at Seaton Carew with the Mayor and Mayoress of Hartlepool. As expected, the food was delicious and plenty of it. It’s hardly surprising that my weight keeps creeping up. Serious action required when I step down.
- A further visit to the lovely Princess Alexandra auditorium at Yarm School. It’s a great venue and tonight we were listening to The Band of the Royal Air Force College. A fabulous concert from musicians of the highest calibre. But not only with instruments, their vocalist was also excellent. A first class night organised by the Northern Military Music Group, a small band of volunteers who organise a number of concerts throughout the year.
- A good weekend for music. This morning we were attending the installation of the Mayor of Ripon at the Cathedral. What we didn’t expect was the parade of soldiers and the band from 21 Engineer Regiment. It was a lovely sunny morning and we joined the new Mayor after the service to take the salute at the march past. Well worth getting out of bed for.