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Mayor's Blog July 2009

Photograph of Councillor John Sullivan, Civic Mayor of Tameside

Mayoral Blog 2009/10


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 27 July 2009

Engagements this week started on Monday morning when I attended the Tameside Racial Equality Council Annual General Meeting. The event was held in the new conference room on the first floor of Ashton Market Hall. As Civic Mayor, I was invited to become Honorary President of TREC for the coming year, a position which I was pleased to accept.

From here, I headed over to Denton Town Hall to attend a celebration in honour of former footballer and journalist Jimmy Armfield OBE. Jimmy was born in Denton and went on to Captain England in the 1962 World Cup. He made more than 600 appearances for Blackpool and is now one of the most respected voices on BBC Radio Five Live. I was pleased to be able to meet Jimmy and to join the Members of the Denton and Audenshaw District Assembly in honouring a sporting hero and former citizen of this Borough.

There were no Mayoral engagements on Tuesday and Wednesday although I did have business meetings to attend.

On Thursday, I was invited to make presentations to a group of young people who have just completed a 12 week personal development course with the Prince’s Trust. They were a terrific bunch and they had all worked really hard to complete the programme. I was pleased to meet them and to offer my congratulations and best wishes for the future.

On Friday, Francoise and I hosted a visit to Tameside for the Mayors and Mayoresses of Greater Manchester and neighbouring Boroughs. It was an opportunity to be able to ‘showcase’ some of the places of interest in the Borough and I know our guests were most suitably impressed. Our day included a guided tour of Portland Basin Heritage Museum, Setantii Visitor Centre and the Museum of the Manchester Regiment. We also took a short canal boat journey from Ashton to Hyde. It was a lovely day and I’m sure our visitors took away with them some very happy memories of Tameside.

We were able to spend the day at home on Saturday but it was back to work on Sunday when Francoise and I were delighted to be able to support the 40th anniversary celebration at Haughton Green Young People’s Centre. The day was packed full of activities for the whole family to enjoy and the local community came out in droves to support the occasion.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for tuning in.

See you soon.


Week Commencing Monday 20 July 2009

Well after a fantastic mini break in Barcelona it was back to work on Tuesday.

My first engagement of the week was The Big Chat event at Alder Community High School - this was a wonderful celebration of all that’s great for people with learning disabilities in the Borough. It was run as a drop-in style conference throughout the day and was very well attended. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the delegates and the organisers behind the event and I enjoyed a superb drama production by the Chatterbox Theatre Company. It really was a very successful day and my congratulations go to everybody involved.

Later, I hosted a meeting of the Mayor’s Distress Fund Trustees before opening my first Full Council Meeting in my role as Civic Mayor.

On Wednesday afternoon, I attended a Citizenship Ceremony at Dukinfield Town Hall and on Thursday I met with the President of the Jewish Representative Council in Greater Manchester and some of her officers in the Mayor’s Parlour.

Later, Francoise and I welcomed Councillor Jim Fitzpatrick and volunteers from the Hattersley Community Newspaper to the Town Hall. We had a lovely evening and our guests were delighted to have the opportunity to visit the Mayor’s Parlour. It was a pleasure to be able to say thank you and well done to the volunteers and to recognise the valuable work they do.

It was a really big weekend for my home town of Hyde last week. On Friday evening, there was a Dinner at Hyde Town Hall to celebrate the Splendid Weekend event being held in the Park on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July. The meal presented the ideal opportunity for local business people to meet other business and community leaders who are working together to make Hyde a better place to live and work.

Of course on Saturday evening it was the annual ‘Proms in Hyde Park’ event and what another wonderful night it was. The Manchester Camerata Orchestra Link to External Website took centre stage and they were superb. It was a rousing evening of popular classical music and I felt extremely proud to be part of it. I asked the conductor to dedicate his final piece, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture to the late Councillor Martin Wareing in tribute to Martin’s dedication, commitment and hard work in the field of the arts in Greater Manchester.

Just prior to the Proms in the Park, Francoise and I visited Platt Field Park in Manchester for a Summer Mega Mela. This event was first established in 2002 and is the largest and most diverse celebration of South Asian arts and culture in the North West. There was a great atmosphere and we really enjoyed the occasion.

Hyde Park came to life again on Sunday afternoon with a host of live bands including headline acts ‘The Real Thing’ and ‘Hot Chocolate’, unfortunately Francoise and I were unable to attend but I know it was yet another fantastic event.

Instead we headed off to Richmond Park Athletics Stadium in Ashton where we attended the closing ceremony of the Cancer Research UK Relay for Life event. Francoise and I joined the teams on their final lap after a mammoth 24 hours on the track. It was a very moving ceremony particularly as the guests of honour were survivors of cancer. Their presence really brought home to us to the importance of events like Relay for Life and it was an inspiration to see their bravery and determination.

From here, we visited Manchester Cathedral for the Greater Manchester County Royal British Legion Annual Service. Francoise and I joined RBL Members and the other Civic Heads of Greater Manchester to give thanks for the work of The Royal British Legion in this area.

And that brings another week to a close.

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



Week Commencing Monday 13 July 2009

A number of times this week I honestly had to pinch myself to make sure it was really happening.

It all started on Monday as we headed off to London.

Each year the Mayor and Mayoress and their Deputies receive an invitation to attend one of the Royal Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace Link to External Website. We agreed to attend the event on Tuesday 14th July.

As is normal practice, we set off early the day before and had arranged to stay in London overnight.

Knowing that we were in the capital, local MPs Andrew Gwynne Link to External Website and James Purnell kindly invited us to join them for dinner at the Palace of Westminster.

We had a superb evening and following our meal we all sat out on the terrace overlooking the Thames enjoying the warm evening and the spectacular view.

On Tuesday morning we took the opportunity to do some sightseeing in London before returning to the hotel to dress for our appointment with the Queen Link to External Website.

I was both excited and a little nervous at the prospect of meeting the Royal Family Link to External Website and visiting Buckingham Palace. There were lots of people present at the Garden Party, all looking very smart and grand and I felt incredibly privileged to be there. Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to meet Her Majesty The Queen but it was a wonderful experience and a day we shall never forget.

We returned home late on Tuesday evening and then on Thursday, Francoise, Ben and myself flew to Spain for a family mini break in Barcelona Link to External Website. Ben has recently completed his A levels and we wanted to get away for a few days together somewhere special before he sets off to University.

Barcelona is a beautiful city and we had a fantastic couple of days.

The Deputy Mayor kindly stepped in to cover the Mayoral engagements whilst we were away and I know she had a lovely time visiting local schools and attending the ‘In Bloom’ judging and events at St Peter’s RC Church in Stalybridge, Martin Fields in Denton and Etherow Lodge Park in Hollingworth.

The diary is looking quieter now as we enter the summer holidays but we do still have several engagements booked in, so please keep in touch and I hope to see you again next time.

Best wishes.


Week Commencing Monday 6 July 2009

Well what another good week it has been. Francoise and I are really enjoying our Mayoral duties and we would like to thank everybody we have met along the way for their kindness and words of encouragement and support.

On Monday afternoon, we were honoured to welcome to the Mayor’s Parlour the Consul for Italy and the Consul General for Portugal. Francoise and I had met Chiara and Manuel at the recent Italian National Day celebration. We got on like a house on fire and they were really interested to learn more about Tameside, so I thought it would be nice to invite them to the Town Hall to have a look at the Mayor’s Parlour, Council Chamber and of course our award winning museums.

Later, we were delighted to receive Mr John Wood MBE and his lovely family. You may remember that John, who lives in Droylsden, received the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to hairdressing and the community. John famously cut the hair of footballer Georgie Best and more recently has become a champion fundraiser for St Damian’s RC Science College Link to External Website. It was a pleasure to meet John and his family and to offer in person my congratulations on receiving his award.

On Tuesday evening, Francoise and I were invited to join Members of the Dukinfield District Assembly at Dukinfield Town Hall for the town’s annual Senior Citizens Party – and what a good party it was! Everybody had a wonderful time. The atmosphere was brilliant and the entertainment and potato pie went down a storm. My congratulations go the District Assembly and indeed to everybody who helped organise this event for what was a truly memorable occasion.

On Wednesday morning I visited Dukinfield Town Hall once again, but this time for a Healthy Schools Celebration with some of our younger citizens of the Borough. Seventy one Tameside schools have achieved national Healthy School Status. The celebration event provided an opportunity to see and hear about some of the work they have been doing. It showcased activities in a variety of areas such as drug education, emotional literacy, schools’ health events, physical activities, healthy eating initiatives and working with support agencies. I was pleased to be able to support the occasion and to present plaques and certificates to the schools in recognition of their achievements. I was also surprised and delighted when everybody began singing happy birthday to me with great gusto. I thought I had managed to keep the event a big secret until that point!

On Thursday lunchtime, I joined the Executive Leader of the Council at an unveiling ceremony in the foyer of the Council Offices. The Black Knight Sculpture, which was once located in the Arcades Shopping Centre Link to External Website, can now be seen outside the Tourist Information Centre. It is great to see the sculpture back on public view and ready to be enjoyed by the many visitors to the Council Offices.
From here, I headed over to Denton West End Primary School to watch a wonderful performance by the Year 6 pupils. The students will shortly be leaving Denton West End to move on to their new secondary schools. It was a pleasure to be able to support their production and to have the opportunity to wish them well and every happiness for the future.

On Friday, I was delighted to attend the launch event of the new Park Café. The much loved building of Bayley Hall in Hyde Park has been taken over by the Council’s Learning Disability Team and has been transformed into a café as an alternative option to day services. The café will 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. The café will teach catering preparation and service skills ready for employment in the hotel and catering industry. It was heartwarming to see the hall back in use and looking so good and it was wonderful to meet the students and team behind the Park Café and to see their enthusiasm and commitment to this project. I wish them every success – they certainly deserve it.

There were no Mayoral engagements on Saturday so it was nice to spend a quiet day catching up on a few jobs at home.

It was a big day on Sunday, as it was my Mayoral Procession and Civic Service. Thankfully the weather stayed fine and many friends, colleagues and representatives of local organisations came out to support the occasion. We started off with a procession from Hyde Park to St Paul’s RC Church for a Civic Service at 11 o’clock conducted by my Chaplain, Father Denis Maher. As the service came to an end, the parade re-formed and we marched back to Hyde Park where the team at the Park Café served light refreshments. It was a fabulous day and I felt very, very proud. My sincere thanks go to everybody who supported the event and all those people who worked so hard behind the scenes to ensure the occasion ran smoothly. It will be a day my family and I will remember always.

From Hyde Park, we proceeded directly to Gee Cross for the annual Well Dressing where we had a lovely afternoon with the local community and ladies from the WI. The Well Dressing has become a much loved event in the town’s calendar and Francoise and I were delighted to be able to take part.

And that brings another busy week to a close.

On Tuesday we will be attending the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace so I hope you can join me next time to see how we got on.

Bye for now.

Best wishes,



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