Friday, March 06, 2009

Go Bananas for Fairtrade - Stockton did!

After many headaches, big and small, it all came together at noon today. Stockton went Bananas for Fairtrade. The Town Crier, one of the council's Democratic Services officers, came out to help encourage a crowd to gather. The sun shone, the wind didn't blow, helpers arrived. Curious passers-by learned something of what the Fairtrade premium means to the producers. The balloons looked good in the sun and people bought tickets for the balloon race to help the Mayor's Charities. Just after 12 the countdown to banana distribution started and within 10 minutes we'd distributed and seen eaten 200 Fairtrade bananas, courtesy of ASDA store at Portrack. The skins were duly collected up for composting by Doreen from The Shaw Trust. The balloons were released by the mayor with the help of a member of the events team, who had previously checked with DTV airport that all was well for the release.
Then the giant inflated banana set off on its travels round the Tees Valley. A walk up Stockton High Street to the mayoral car, a short drive to Stockton Station and we were welcomed by Chris Benson of Northern Rail. The banana had its own seat all the way to Hartlepool and had its ticket checked twice. It also had its photograph taken by a young lady whose sister had gone to school today dressed as a banana, much to the despair of her mother who thought it a crazy idea. When a giant banana appeared on the train it was too good an opportunity to be missed for setting her mother's mind at rest that other people were just as crazy!
A successful handover at Hartlepool Station to Cllr Carl Richardson, chair of Hartlepool council, and then it was back to Stockton on the next train.
The Mayor and Mayoress went off to their next engagement and I went to a meeting about children in the care of the local authority. We have a corporate parenting responsibility and this meeting helps to ensure that we fulfil it to the best of our ability.
A busy ward surgery rounded off the day as a councillor but I took the excuse of being very busy for a few days to avoid cooking a meal this evening. Instead I went with my husband to the award-winning restaurant in our ward which features in our Fairtrade Directory. A good way to end Fairtrade Fortnight.