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Friday 27 May

A busy week began with my regular early catch up with Managing Director Julie Danks and Deputy Leader Councillor Jim Beall to discuss the week ahead and any ongoing issues.

This was followed by my regular portfolio briefing via Microsoft teams with Shona Duncan, Head of Education, Employment and Skills at Tees Valley Combined Authority.

Later I met with Garry Cummings, the Council's Director of Finance, Development and Business Services, for my monthly town centre update.

Tuesday began with a General Licensing Committee meeting.

Later I joined Julie Danks for an introductory meeting with Jane Earl who has recently taken the helm of the board of the Thirteen Housing Group.

I then travelled to South Shields for a meeting of the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) Governance Review Task and Finish Group. NEPO works in partnership with the twelve North East Local Authorities to secure quality services and goods which are good value for money.

The Council's Annual General Meeting took place on Wednesday at the Forum Theatre, where I was pleased to formally install the new Mayor, Councillor Ross Patterson, and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Jim Beall. Former long-serving councillors Paul Baker, Kathryn Nelson and the late Julia Cherrett were all conferred as Aldermen at the AGM.

Yesterday saw the first of this week's catch ups with ward councillors, with two more today. These regular updates are a useful way to share and understand any issues in their patches and wider Borough.

The monthly Tees Valley Leaders' meeting then took place in the afternoon.

Today I will join those attending a special memorial event at Thornaby Town Hall to mark the 47th anniversary of Britain's worst coach crash at Dibbles Bridge in North Yorkshire. A new stone memorial has been installed outside the Town Hall and a new plaque is due to be unveiled today, inscribed with the names of the 33 day trippers from Thornaby who died in the terrible accident in May 1975.

This weekend I am looking forward to spending time with my family.

Next week's working week is a short one due to the special four day Bank Holiday weekend to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. I know thousands of people young and old will be joining in the celebrations across the Borough, and it's good to see lots of street parties are planned.

On Thursday June 2 I will join the Mayor-Elect, Councillor Ross Patterson, and other guests for the lighting of a beacon at Stockton Town Hall, one of more than 1,500 beacons that will be lit throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories to commence the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

On the Saturday I'm looking forward to joining the Big Jubilee Lunch at the Barrage. Then I will be attending a special Platinum Jubilee service at Durham Cathedral.

I wish everyone a wonderful Platinum Jubilee weekend!