The Mayor and Consort visited our friends Carol Gaskarth and Gail Anderson at the Pioneering Care Partnership in Woodham, Newton Aycliffe, to go round their Christmas Fayre, which is always a memorable event.
The Mayor and Consort were delighted to attend the Stockton Civic Carol Service in Stockton Parish Church. Around 20 schools took part, most of them singing but a few did the readings. The 1% Club game was great fun. The Mayor almost won but fell at the penultimate hurdle.
The Mayor and Consort attended their second Civic Service of the day, invited by Chair Joan Nicholson to County Hall for a Christmas Celebration with Durham County Youth Band and Durham County Youth Choir leading the way. A good number of chains assembled to join in the fun and later on everyone enjoyed turkey buns with stuffing, mince pies and Christmas Cake.
The third event of the day was my Civic Carol Service in St Edmund’s Church, in front of a packed congregation. A number of Mayors assembled to see the combined choirs from our 2 primary schools who sang beautifully. Michael King was the celebrant. The retiring collection was shared between the Church and ‘Feeding Families’
The Mayor and Consort hosted a very successful Coffee Morning in the Parish Hall with Hardwick Primary School Choir providing the musical entertainment. Our MP Paul Howell popped in briefly en route to another engagement and was pleased to see such a bustling community event going on, with so many people enjoying each other’s company.
The Mayor and Consort attended Ferryhill Stage Society’s annual pantomime ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in Mainsforth Community Centre and enjoyed watching the amusing tale unfold, with a great deal oof audience participation. As a former MD of the society, the Mayor was delighted to catch up with and chat to some old friends. It was a splendid evening’s entertainment.
The Mayor and Consort attended a lovely traditional Carol Service of 7 lessons and carols at St Peter’s Church in Redcar, as guests of the Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland. It was the first time the Mayor had been in that church and what a lovely building it is; warm and welcoming.
The Mayor and Consort’s second Carol Service today was in Sunderland Minster as guests of the Mayor of Sunderland. This was also a traditional service but with 9 lessons and carols. This is a familiar building to the Mayor as both of his children (Tim and Ciaran) performed in there in their Durham/Sunderland University days. The Mayor was delighted to see some of last year’s Mayors in the congregation.
The Mayor and Consort popped along to St Cuthbert’s Church in Peterlee for the Peterlee Mayor’s Christmas Carol Service today. Primary and Nursery children from Our Lady of the Rosary School were special guests, along with a number of other Civics. The children’s singing was delightful. Mayor Audrey Laing made everyone welcome, the organist played with great power and verve and the congregational singing was good. The refreshments afterwards were first rate too.
The Mayor and Consort were part of a fantastic Chain Gang Christmas Get Together in the Sunderland Mayor’s Parlour. A quiz, name the dog, whisky shoot and bingo plus a fabulous buffet were all part of the evening. The Mayor won a bottle of wine for a full house in the bingo. Grateful thanks go to Mayor Dorothy and Harry (and Allison) for a splendid night out.
A really enjoyable Civic Carol Service was held in St Hilda’s Church, Hartlepool. The Mayor and Consort attended as invited guests of Mayor Shane Moore. Rev. Steve Edge gave a thought-provoking address, comparing Jesus to Santa Claus and some children from St Hild’s C of E School sang a couple of delightful carols, including ‘Love Shone Down’ by Jo Boyce. The Mayor was pleased to meet up with a plethora of NE Mayors over a cup of coffee and mince pies afterwards and thanked Mayor Shane for hosting an uplifting evening.
The Mayor was delighted to be invited to the Homebryth House Christmas Party, with entertainment from his good friends, The Cardiac Dodgers and a delightful buffet, provided by caterer Sue Clark from Newton Aycliffe. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon and, to top it all, the residents made a very generous donation to the Mayor’s charity appeal.
The Mayor and Consort enjoyed a brilliant night out at Shildon Mayor, Shirley Quinn’s Civic Christmas Dinner, with an excellent 3 course meal and some top class entertainment from The Jersey Tones. The Mayor was delighted to have been asked to attend this event and thanked Shirley profusely for the kind invitation.
The Mayor and Consort attended a lovely Christingle Service in St Edmund’s Church. It was great to hear the bells tolling again, calling the faithful to come and worship. The children helped to construct a Nativity Tableau and made a circle of candles round the church while everyone sang ‘Away in a Manger’.
The Mayor and Consort attended another excellent Civic Carol Service, this time at St Cuthbert’s Church in Darlington as guests of Mayor Jan Cossins. The choir was superb with soaring descants in all the traditional carols and some beautifully controlled singing in ‘Torches’ and ‘The Angel Gabriel’ in particular.
The Mayor’s New Year’s Eve Dance was a great success with Sedgefield’s own Supergroup, ‘Mamma Said’, leading the way. They are a top, local group and lovely people too.
I’m indebted to the small band of helpers who helped me to set up during the afternoon: Walter, Rosemary, Judith, Adam, Tony and Sarah and, of course, Mayor’s Consort Annette. In addition, Elaine and Joyce assisted the Mayor with the games during the evening. (The bar sold out of beer and lager by just after 10 o’clock but the Mayor was able to acquire extra stock for the rest of the evening within 20 minutes, in spite of the local outlets being closed, thanks to his daughter Ciaran.)