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Mayor's Blog April 2010

Photograph of Councillor John Sullivan, Civic Mayor of Tameside

Mayoral Blog

Councillor John B. Sullivan JP, GNSM, LTCL

Welcome to the official Blog of the Civic Mayor of Tameside

A Blog (or a Weblog) is an online journal/diary which is frequently updated with the author's thoughts and comments, and is intended for the general public to view.

Week Commencing Monday 26 April 2010

Hello again.

Well it’s been another busy and wonderfully varied Mayoral week again.

Engagements began on Monday afternoon when I welcomed the School Council from Hurst Knoll Primary School Link to External Website in Ashton to the Town Hall. The children were beautifully behaved and very community spirited and it was a pleasure to meet them and to show them round the Mayor’s Parlour and Council Chamber.

On Monday evening, Francoise and I were invited to join the Lord Mayor of Manchester Link to External Website, her Consort and the other Civic Heads of Greater Manchester for Dinner at Manchester Town Hall Link to External Website. We had a super evening, although we were all very conscious of the fact that this would be one of last engagements we shared altogether as the infamous ‘chain gang’.

On Tuesday afternoon, I visited my old school, The Blue Coat School in Oldham Link to External Website. It brought back many happy memories and it was super to see how the school has developed physically over the years whilst retaining its aura as a great place of learning.

I was particularly grateful to the Deputy Head, Mrs Wolfe who allowed the visit to take place and to students Sarah and Tom for giving up their time to show me around in such an affable manner. They were a credit to the school.

I was filled with a great sense of pride when I saw my name inscribed on the Prizemen’s Board as a former winner of the Governor’s silver medal in 1969 and
I was particularly pleased to be shown around the Music Department as that was where I spent a large proportion of my time when I was a pupil there. There was quite a poignant moment in the old house block too when I visited the middle floor. I spent many hours in there engaged in band rehearsals (on the Lord side) and it was where I ate most of my lunches as my mother, who now is sadly in a residential home and not in the best of health, was a cook supervisor with the School Meals Service.

On Wednesday afternoon, I attended a Citizenship Ceremony at Dukinfield Town Hall and later, Francoise and I had a lovely evening at Wythenshawe Hall Link to External Website, at a reception hosted by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Link to External Website and his Deputy Lieutenants.

On Thursday evening, we were pleased to host the annual Greater Manchester Police Link to External Website Long Service and Gallantry Awards in the Town Hall for Police Officers, Police Staff and Citizens of Tameside. The event was attended by the Chief Constable to celebrate and acknowledge loyal and dedicated service and also acts of bravery and compassion. The evening was made even more special by a rousing performance by the wonderful GMP Band.

On Friday morning, it was with great sadness that Francoise and I attended the funeral of our Honorary Freeman of the Borough and former Mayor of Mossley and of Tameside, Mr JG Brierley. Geoff will always be remembered with great fondness by his friends and colleagues on the Council. He was a lovely person, an excellent Councillor, a true gentleman and a great family man and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Geoff’s family at this difficult time.

We didn’t have any official Mayoral engagements on Saturday but on Sunday we were pleased to visit the annual Mottram Agricultural Show. Despite a significant change in the good weather we have been experiencing of late, the event was well attended and Francoise and I had a great time. It was good to see so many family groups enjoying this traditional event.

As I am just finalising this blog, I have just heard the devastating news that the young soldier killed in Afghanistan on Sunday, has been named as Corporal Harvey Alex Holmes from Hyde. Yet another brave Tamesider has lost his life serving his country, my heart goes out to Harvey’s family and friends at this very sad time.


Week Commencing Monday 19 April 2010

Hello again, thanks for tuning in.

Well it’s been another busy and exciting Mayoral week.

Engagements began on Monday afternoon when I was joined in the Mayor’s Parlour by the staff from The Park Café in Hyde. The Park Café is managed and run by Tameside Learning Disabilities Service. It was set up to give people with learning disabilities the opportunity to improve their chances of getting a job, by working in a busy café and outside catering business, you may have see the team featured on BBC North West News Link to External Website when they first opened the café in the summer of last year.

We had a lovely afternoon and it was great to meet everybody involved and to thank them for their hard work and wonderful efforts.

Later, Francoise and I visited the 7th Hyde Guides, Brownies and Rainbows at St John’s Church Hall to help celebrate the Guides Centenary Year. As always, it was a pleasure to meet the girls and the leaders and to see their enthusiasm and dedication.

On Tuesday afternoon, I hosted the final event in my series of receptions to recognise the hard work and outstanding achievements of Council employees. On this occasion, the Chief Executive and myself, along with Cabinet Members, Councillors Joe Kitchen and Jim Fitzpatrick acknowledged the work of Tameside’s longest serving employees. Each of the guests had worked for the authority for 38 years and over – quite an achievement I’m sure you will agree!

In the evening, Francoise and I welcomed a selection of guests to the Mayor’s Parlour, all of whom have been very supportive and special to us.

On Wednesday morning, I was delighted to be invited to take part in the Annual AGMA Link to External Website Consumer Challenge Quiz hosted by the Tameside Trading Standards Team. This annual competition is for children with moderate learning difficulties and is actively based with a high visual content. Teams from across Greater Manchester participated in the competition and Tameside was represented exceptionally well by a wonderful team of young people from Samuel Laycock School. It was a super morning which was both informative and a great deal of fun!

On Wednesday night, Francoise and I had a lovely evening with the Mottram Guides, Brownies and Rainbows to once again mark the Guides special centenary year.

On Thursday, we had a terrific day in Salford with the Mayor and Mayoress of Salford and the other Civic Heads of Greater Manchester. The event included visits to the Salford Museum & Art Gallery, the Working Class Movement Library Link to External Website, The Lowry Link to External Website and finally a presentation at MediaCity UK Link to External Website in Salford Quays. It was a fabulous day and Francoise and I were grateful to the Mayor and his team for their kind hospitality and excellent tour of the city.

In the evening, we welcomed Mr Terry Lodge JP, Chair of the Tameside Magistrates’ Bench and colleagues to the Mayor’s Parlour.

On Friday, the 23rd April, it was of course St George’s Day and once again the Borough of Tameside celebrated the day of our Patron Saint in style. As the Cross of St George flew proudly from Council buildings across the Borough and the sun shone brightly, Medieval times were brought to life in Ashton Town Centre with street theatre, musical performances by some our local schools and Knights and Squires handing out silk roses.

These fabulous celebrations also marked the culmination of the borough's efforts to petition the government to make St George's Day a public bank holiday.

The event was very well attended and it was heartening to see so many people coming together to acknowledge this special day.

From here, I travelled over to Astley Street in Dukinfield to attend the unveiling of the first brown plaque in Tameside to commemorate the site of the first St Mary’s Church in the town. The ceremony was attended by the Bishop of Shrewsbury who was in the area to conduct a special mass at St Mary’s RC Primary School in celebration of the opening of the new school building. I was delighted to be able to attend the Mass and to have the opportunity to look around the wonderful new school.

On Friday evening, Francoise and I attended a superb production of Beauty and the Beast at the George Lawton Hall at the invitation of Mossley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society Link to External Website. It really was a magical night and my thanks and congratulations go to everybody involved for a truly memorable and professional production.

On Saturday afternoon, we were invited to present the prizes at the Haughton Green Gardening Society and Denton Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society Spring Show. We had the chance to look at the exhibits before the presentations and it was a wonderful show. Francoise and I were just relieved that we didn’t have the difficult task of choosing the winning entries.

Later, we attended a rousing concert by the Brighouse and Rastrick Band Link to External Website at Hyde Town Hall. This event formed part of this year’s Tameside Music Festival and was a superb occasion for all brass band enthusiasts.

To end the week, Francoise and I were invited to join The Boys’ Brigade Link to External Website and The Girls’ Brigade Link to External Website (Manchester and District Battalion) at the beautiful St Ann’s Church in Manchester for their annual Joint Church Parade and Service.

And that brings another week to a close.

Thank you for joining me and I hope to see you again soon.

Best wishes.


Week Commencing Monday 12 April 2010

Hello everyone, thank you for joining me.

Well engagements have certainly picked up again this week following the Easter break.

My first engagement of the week was on Monday afternoon when I welcomed to the Mayor’s Parlour staff from the Hattersley Neighbourhood Partnership. The Neighbourhood Partnership was formed in April 2004, through a merging of the Hattersley Development Trust and Hattersley Neighbourhood Management. Its role is to help coordinate the work of the many partners - residents, mainstream service providers and other agencies involved in a wide range of initiatives designed to improve local services in areas such as health, education, employment, training, community safety and the environment. Councillor Jim Fitzpatrick and I had a lovely afternoon with the team and we were delighted to have this opportunity to show our appreciation and thanks for the wonderful work they do.

On Monday evening, Francoise and I joined the other Civic Heads of Greater Manchester at an event at Prestwich Hebrew Congregation to commemorate Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day).

On Tuesday morning, we travelled over to Bury join the Mayor and Mayoress of Bury for a Civic Tour of the Borough. Although Francoise and I could stay for only part of the day because of the Council Meeting later the same afternoon, we had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed visiting The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the East Lancs Railway Link to External Website.

The Council Meeting at 5pm was my final meeting before I step down as Mayor on the 25th May. It certainly brought home to me just how quickly this year has flown by.

On Wednesday afternoon, I hosted a couple of business meetings in the Mayor’s Parlour and on Thursday, my son Ben and I spent a super day in Trafford at the invitation of the Mayor and Mayoress of Trafford. The day included visits to Daytona Motorsport Link to External Website, Manchester United Football Club Link to External Website, Dunham Massey  and the amazing Chill Factore Link to External Website. It really was a most enjoyable and memorable day and we had a great time.

On Thursday evening, Francoise and I were pleased to visit the St John Ambulance Headquarters in Dukinfield, where we were asked to assist with the presentation of awards to cadets, badgers and adult members. We were surprised and very interested to learn that St John Ambulance is not just about providing first aid, there is so much more and so many opportunities for young people to learn all sorts of skills, thanks to the dedication of the leaders.

On Friday, it was the Mayor of Wigan’s Link to External Website turn to host a Civic Tour and Francoise and I were delighted to be able to take part in the day which included visits to Wigan Parish Church, Astley Colliery Link to External Website and Leigh Sports Village Link to External Website.

Later the same evening, we were invited to join the Freemasons of Ashton, Mossley and Audenshaw for their annual presentation of monies to local charities and good causes. It was a lovely evening and many deserving charities and voluntary organisations received donations, including my very own Mayoral charity! I was thrilled to receive cheques totalling £750 for the Mayor’s charity, which of course is dedicated to helping charities within the Borough of Tameside. My sincere thanks go to the Freemasons for their overwhelming generosity and support and also for the incredible hard work and dedication that they put in all year round to raise money for local charities and good causes.

On Saturday morning, Francoise and I called in at the annual Stroke Awareness Day in Clarendon Square Shopping Centre in Hyde. Each year, the Rotary Club of Hyde Link to External Website host this event in conjunction with the Stroke Association Link to External Website and PCT. Although, it was just a quick bob in on our way to Stalybridge, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting everybody involved and it was obviously a very busy and popular event.

From here, we headed over to Stalybridge Baptist Church to open a Homewatch Link to External Website Awareness Day at the invitation of the RASH Community Forum. Once again, with the lovely bright sunshine, the event was very well attended and provided a wonderful opportunity to highlight the good work of the local Police and Homewatch Team, including the efforts and role within the local community of the Community Crime Fighters.

On Saturday evening, Francoise and I were scheduled to attend the Annual Exhibition of the Ashton-under-Lyne Photographic Society at Hurst Community Centre Link to External Website. Unfortunately, I received a telephone call on Saturday afternoon to say that my mother had fallen and had been rushed to hospital. I extend my sincere apologies to the members of the Photographic Society for cancelling the engagement at such short notice but I also express my heartfelt thanks for their kind understanding and concern. I understand the evening went well and thankfully, although mum had badly broken her hip, she is now recovering after surgery.

There were no engagements on Sunday and therefore that brings another Mayoral week to a close.

I hope to see you again soon.

Best wishes.


Week Commencing Monday 5 April 2010

Hello everyone, thank you for joining me.

It’s been another quiet week following the Easter break.

On Wednesday, Francoise and I, together with the other Civic Heads of Greater Manchester, spent a lovely day with the Mayor and Mayoress of Oldham Link to External Website on a Civic Tour of the Borough. The day began with a tour of the new pioneering Christie Cancer Centre followed by a visit to Oldham Gallery Link to External Website to view ‘Fantastic Mr Ferranti’ - an electrifying exhibition telling the life story of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti. After a delightful lunch at Clough Manor in Denshaw, we boarded a coach once again for a tour of the very picturesque villages of Saddleworth.

On Thursday, we were invited to join historian, Alan Bacon for a fascinating guided tour of Ashton Parish Church. The building dates from the fifteenth century although much of the structure was re-constructed in Victorian times. It boasts some of the best examples of fifteenth century stained glass left in Britain and is truly a beautiful building. Francoise and I are grateful to Alan for the time he spent showing us around.

On Thursday evening, I attended the fourth annual Mayoral Youth Ball at Dukinfield Town Hall. The event had been organised by the Members of the four area Youth Opportunity Fund Grant Panels to celebrate the young people and projects that have been successful in obtaining a grant from the Youth Opportunity Fund Link to External Website.

Initially a two year project, the Government generously gave Tameside £150,000 each year to enable grants to be given to local youth projects. However, based on the success of the project, the Government agreed to fund the programme for a further 3 years.

The panels of young people meet every week for two hours and

  • Assess applications from young peoples groups
  • Undertake training around decision making, every child matters, monetary issues, understanding their community.
  • Host cheque giving ceremonies to successful groups
  • Work on a variety of awards such as OCN Level 2 Grant Giving, V-involved, AQA
  • Attend and give presentations at local community events and district assemblies.

More recently Panel Members have had the opportunity to develop strong partnerships with the Community Safety Unit and the Greater Manchester Police Authority as well as creating links with the Voluntary Sector groups in their localities.

In this financial year, they have successfully allocated £303K to over 90 groups. The variety of grants has been tremendous with groups applying to train for diving qualifications, to create gardens for community members to enjoy, to assist First Stop (a peer mentoring and signposting service), to help theatre groups rehearse and perform plays and to assist young carers in attending a residential camping trip.

Young people received money to organise a huge push cart derby in Hyde Park and Music Festivals in Mossley, Ashton, and Denton over the summer period.

Looked after Young People organised and hosted a celebration event for all looked after children living in Tameside and three young people were offered support to travel to Kenya and Nepal to work with disadvantaged children.

It really is a superb initiative providing unique opportunities for young people in our Borough.

I was very impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of the Panel Members who give up 2 hours of their own time every week to meet with groups and make decisions about funding to enable other youth groups to carry out projects that they otherwise would not be able to do. They are selfless young people who care about young people and their community.

The Panel Members also organised the Ball, from coming up with a theme for the evening, which this year was a Masquerade Ball, to designing tickets, making masks, working with the Town Hall staff to choose the buffet and layout of the room and they even held auditions to choose the performers! It was a fantastic night and it was a pleasure to be part of the event. Well done to everybody involved and especially to Beth, a delightful young lady from Two Trees Sports College who did a wonderful job in generally looking after me throughout the evening and introducing me to her panel colleagues.

And that brings another week to a close.

Thank you for joining me and I hope to see you again soon.

Kind regards.


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