Thursday, October 18, 2007


Last night's council meeting started with a series of award presentations. We try to do these at full council in recognition of the fact that the whole Borough celebrates the achievements, even though sometimes people have already had the presentation somewhere else.
First up was St Michael's RC school from Billingham. Yet again they won the Youth Parliament Debate award. For this they have to establish a mini parliament with government and opposition, then hold a debate and a vote. The whole thing is filmed and sent off for judging. St Michael's consistently produces quality debates for this competition and this year they added to their trophy collection. The cabinet member for Children and Young People had double reason to be happy, as the school is in the ward he represents.
The next group was the Care for Your Area team who won the Northumbria in Bloom and the Britain in Bloom trophies for the borough. Unlike many such things elsewhere, it's a small number of operatives who come along and receive the accolade from the council rather than just the managers. A huge round of applause for them as they carried off the vase and the glass lily.
Just occasionally someone serves as a councillor for a very long time, and this year Joan Wade retired after 24 years on Stockton Council. She came back last night to receive the award of Honorary Alderman of the Borough - well deserved.
The final award was to my very good friend and former leader of our group, Suzanne Fletcher. When Suzanne was mayor last year she worked very hard but we didn't know that there was something called "Mayor of the Year", run by the Co-operative Bank. Suzanne was entered in the competition and came second - a huge achievement. Her certificate was presented last night also, to much applause all round.
After all that, the normal council business of receiving minutes from committees and answering questions on them seemed even more mundane than usual.
Back home, the problems of connecting to the internet had still not resolved themselves so we have our intermittent access and have to make the most of it until we can get it sorted. As the helpline isn't working that could take some time.

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