Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Town and Gown

Yesterday morning the engineer came bright and early to fix the phone line so I was back to normal very quickly. I also managed to get the tree people to come and trim back the shrubbery in our front garden so we now can see much more of the individual plants and also the path round them. Flushed with success I followed it up with some filing of papers and disposal of long out of date ones.
Yesterday evening was the Civic Dinner for the 175th anniversary of the founding of Durham University. Because the University now has a thriving campus at Stockton (Queens Campus) we have been very much part of this year of celebration. I was privileged to attend the University Dinner in March deputising for the Mayor's Consort, but I was invited to this one as leader of the Liberal Democrat Group. The evening started with a formal welcome from the present Mayor and then members of the University School of Medicine talked about their approach to medicine which involves understanding how chronic illnesses affect the daily life of the sufferer and their family and friends, how the local community works and how deprivation of one sort or another affects people. There's a lot of emphasis on getting involved in the community by doing voluntary work and in depth studies of particular patients. It was extremely interesting and is quite different from the traditional approach to medical courses. As a result they attract students who believe that doctors should be part of the community they serve. There were some leaflets put out but unfortunately by the end of the evening we were having coffee in a different room and I forgot to go back and collect one.
The dinner itself was excellent and was followed by a speech from the Leader of Stockton Council, Ken Lupton. Ken didn't try to follow on with a lecture about Stockton Council - wisely deciding that the University team would be a hard act to follow. He chose instead to entertain us with tales of his life as a Football Referee. Although I'm not a football fan he was entertaining and it's always good to see another side to someone. From the laughs around the room I think everyone enjoyed listening.

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