Chris Tomlinson Urges Children to Jump Into Golden Mile

Middlesbrough’s Olympic long jumper Chris Tomlinson hopes that school children can make small steps through the Golden Mile leading to a giant leap in fitness.

British long jump record-holder Chris Tomlinson is encouraging kids in his Middlesbrough hometown to take a leap into regular activity by supporting Tees Valley Leisure’s launch of The Golden Mile.

More than 3,000 children from 10 Middlesbrough primary schools have already signed up to take part in Tees Valley Leisure’s year-long physical activity programme.

London 2012 Olympian Tomlinson visited Park End Primary School, one of those on their marks for the free activity programme, to join pupils in encouraging more to go the Golden Mile.

Wholly funded by Tees Valley Leisure, the Golden Mile sees all young participants encouraged to walk, jog, run or cycle a mile a week, covering 50 miles by the end of 2014.

CT: I’ve been invited down to Park End Primary School to support the Golden Mile Event. It is a great idea. It is basically for young kids to get involved in sport and try to do a mile a week.

Q: The aim is to get 4000 involved in the scheme so that could have a really have a big effect on child health in the area.

CT: Yes obviously it is really important that we try to get as many kids involved as possible. Healthy lifestyle is very important nowadays. When I was growing up nigh on 20 years ago we only had 4 channels on tv and computers weren’t as good as they are nowadays. They took 5 or 10 minutes to load up whereas nowadays you have got hundreds of tv channels, you have got the internet, all the games consoles to compete against. So it is great that schemes like this are brought forward and allow easier access for kids to get healthy.

Q: And get a feel for sport and get into it early.

CT: Yes. We can see sport on lots of different levels really. I think some people only look at the elite level sport but I think it is the wrong thing to do. People get into sport because ultimately they enjoy it and it is good for you. We can’t all necessarily be Olympic champions or go to the World Cup or play for England or whatever but what we can do is we can all enjoy ourselves and exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle and I think that is what we are supporting and that’s a good message to get over.

Q:  To get outside?

CT: It’s not all about this person’s so fast or this person’s so good at this. It’s sport for all really. Just getting out and enjoying exercising. It doesn’t matter where you finish or where you get on it’s that you are doing something that is basically has a positive impact on your life as opposed to a negative.

Q: I don’t know about you Chris but when I was at school, I would walk to school and after school I would play outside but I’m not sure that happens as much now.

CT: No I don’t think it does. For me I would walk to school. I grew up in Middlesbrough and every night we would be kicking a football around. Obviously in summer nights we would be out on the school field playing football and then in the winter we would find some street lights to kick the ball against in a game of wall’y. Tuesday and Thursday nights I would be down at the local athletic’s track, more organised port but on other nights it was really getting out there and riding our bikes around and being healthy young kids.

Q: What are you doing at the moment?

CT: The months of October, November and December are pretty quiet then it kicks off at the end of January with the indoor season. Then it rolls from January and February with the world indoors in the middle March. Then goes to the outdoor season. There are the Europeans and Commonwealths next year. And the Commonwealths are funny really because it hasn’t really been talked about too much but with it being in Glasgow once we get to Easter time next year people will start to talk about it. It obviously won’t be as big as the Olympics in London but I think there will be a fair bit of excitement kicking round the UK for it.

Q: The tickets flew out didn’t they?

CT: No, I think most of the tickets have gone and obviously with the demand for tickets for the Olympic Games it has certainly brought a lot of people into sport. I think people want a piece of the action, the tickets have gone quick and that is good to see.

Photos – Tracy Hyman – excpet fro top photo supplied through Dave Allan Communications


Businesses – Teesside University BOOST Work Experience for Summer 2014

Teesside University’s academic Schools – Health & Social Care, Computing, Social Sciences & Law, Science & Engineering, Arts & Media and Teesside University Business School – are committed to producing highly employable graduates for the benefit of individual graduates and employing organisations.

A crucial element in developing students’ employability is the provision of opportunities for them to access high-quality work experience.

NEPIC has been successfully assisting employers to gain access to graduates and undergraduates through an engagement partnership with Teesside University.

BOOST Work Experience

This six week programme offers opportunities for students at the end of their first or second year to gain practical experience appropriate to the level of the skills they have developed on their degree programmes. So that both students and host organisations gain the maximum benefit from the programme, it is important to allocate the students an individual project, or to provide them with a clear opportunity to contribute to an existing project.

The students’ responsibilities should be designed to ensure that:

  • The project (or their clear contribution) is achievable within the six week time frame, and;
  • The project has measurable outcomes so that their contribution to the organisation can be clearly evaluated

Examples of skills which the students will be encouraged to display during their placement could include:

  • Client Responsiveness
  • Task Management
  • Team Skills
  • Business Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Thinking Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Personal Effectiveness

The recruitment process for these roles is currently underway. If your organisation is interested in hosting a student please complete the Role Specification Form and return to Mark Snell by Friday 7th March 2014.
Please read the Frequently Asked Questions contained within the Programme Information or telephone Mark Snell on 01642 442 572.


Nepic and Teesside University logos


Twitter Networking for Businesses

For those of you on Twitter there are loads of opportunities to get your business noticed. Local networking hours are a great example and can help you make lots of contacts in the area. These include:

  • #Northeasthour – Monday 8-9pm and Tuesday 2-3pm (and follow @NorthEastHour)
  • #Teestime – Wednesday 2-3pm (and follow @Teestime1)
  • #NEFollowers – Thursday 2-3pm (and follow @NEFollowers)
  • #BigUpTV – Thursday 3-4pm (and follow @BigUpTeesValley)
  • #ClevelandHour – Friday 10-11am (and follow @ClevelandHour)

If it’s your first time, say hi and introduce yourself and what you do, where you’re located etc. If it’s not your first time, tweet reminders of the services you offer:

After that, keep interest up with tweets about your products, especially with photos:

It’s very important to help others out if you expect them to help you. Make an effort to retweet and promote others while you’re taking part (it doesn’t have to be everyone, but definitely some). Also, thank people if they retweet you.

Retweeting and connecting with others can help you make great links and help people to find you – for example, Twitter users who are looking for a wedding dress will probably also want a wedding cake, so forming connections with other people relevant to your trade might help you to get noticed.

You can also find national networking hours relevant to your products. A few examples are:

#WeddingHour – Wednesday 9-10pm (and follow @weddinghour)
#HandmadeHour – Wednesday 7:30-9:30pm (and follow @HandmadeHour)

There are others, so it’s a case of hunting for one which suits you – you may just need to search for something relevant to your business, for example ‘vintage hour’ or ‘artists hour’.
Love Middlesbrough (@lovembro) on Twitter has a list of established networking hours and opportunities which you can look through [here], and Helen Armstrong of #Northeasthour has also produced a guide to Twitter networking hours which you can read [here].


The Town Hall 125 Celebration and My Musical Youth

Last week Middlesbrough Town Hall celebrated its 125th birthday. Hopefully Business Development Manager Rob Guest found the right notes to sing a happy birthday song because music has been at the heart of this Grade 2* listed landmark from the very start. I wonder just how many of the citizens of the town have shared musical highlights in the main hall and crypt venues over the years?

Back in 1889 the opening ceremony of Middlesbrough Town Hall was followed by a performance of Handel’s Messiah by 250 members of the Middlesbrough Musical Union in front of an audience of more than 2,200 people. Since then there has been an incredible list of great names from classical and more latterly rock and pop. Amazingly Johann Strauss, Rachmaninoff and Sir Edward Elgar have all appeared on a stage that has also hosted gigs by Oasis, X factor winner James Arthur and Radiohead.

I remember my first ever punk experience seeing The Stranglers on a school night. Support band London were the proper genuine punk thing, bleached spiky hair pogoing and all. The Stranglers were like superstars with punk attitude. Playing all their early anti-hits, Hanging Around, Get a Grip on Yourself etc the town hall experience changed this Nunthorpe Comprehensive schoolboy’s musical horizons for ever.

For my first ever Crypt experience was a remarkable triple bill of The Models, featuring future Adam and the Ants guitarist Marco Pirroni. Then the middle band were John Peel favourites but amazingly one of the last great punk acts to get a record label, Siouxsie and the Banshees. Headliners were New York Dolls legend Johnny Thunders (and the Heartbreakers) playing one of my favourite all time punk albums, LAMF, Chinese Rocks, Born To Lose and all.

Unlike The Stranglers there weren’t that many at this gig. I have always thought it had been shifted down into the Crypt but after googling it others reckon it was still in a half empty Main Hall. My memory of 1977 is maybe not as good as it should be. I do know it was thrilling gig. Punk legends aplenty, the dangerous American Thunders, Souxsie the shock punk costume and all three bands with amazing songs.

Going to the Town Hall has always had that element of theatre about it. When the lights dip you still can feel that adrenaline rush and the whoops of delight from a big crowd all around you.

I remember my first taste of a gig shared by the nation was when The Damned came to town. My mates and me went down to the town hall straight after school and were lucky enough to see support band Penetration attempting to lug in a heavy amp through a side door. “Don’t Dictate” was their big stomping anthem but the band were really charming. There was no compulsion we just had to volunteer to help lift it the big cab up a load of steps. Our reward was an autograph each – Pauline X. A treasured memento for a first experience as a roadie.

The Damned themselves were exceptional. One of the originators of punk. We all had played the single New Rose and Neat Neat Neat to death, hearing them live was a real thrill. Something that would be underlined afterwards when we read a big interview and review of the gig in the following week’s NME. Although I couldn’t help think it was wildly inaccurate. There is nothing ancient about the Crypt as was claimed and singer Dracula like singer Dave Vanian oozed personality and was not put in the shadows by Capt Sensible and the crew. I will never forget the eerie sight of Vanian’s black and white grease painted features. Hmm that was an idea I logged up for later.

If Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers wasn’t in the Crypt then The Only Ones certainly was. Another Girl Another Planet was belted out to a small crowd by an angry singer Peter Perrret who leapt off stage and err,.. belted someone in the face. I had no idea why but I decided it best not to catch his eye.

In 1978 there was a landmark gig for the Town Hall the night when The Clash came to town. Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and co. nearly shook the building to the foundations and brought the house down, literally. What a fantastic night of rock’n’roll. And if I recall rightly the wonderful Slits were in the supporting cast, playing Grapevine and singer Ari Up got so tangled up in her mic lead she actually fell off stage.

I had a seat in the balcony but the tactic in those days was to sneak downstairs into the main hall which was Over 18. You had to be on your feet and pogo up and down on the sprung floor which took such a hammering it nearly went right through. The staff tried to make everyone sit but how on earth could you sit for The Clash?

It wasn’t only the floor but the giant Victorian front doors also took a hammering, they were heaved right off their hinges by the surging crowd after the gig. The hall had to be closed for many months for repairs and a new strengthened floor was fitted.

The other gig that had a great influence on me came later and was in the Crypt where the mighty Split Enz from New Zealand played with their make up, mad big hair, loony tunes and Noel Crombie on spoons. One of the greatest gigs this impressionable youth ever witnessed.

The Town Hall has played a formative role in so many of our musical youths and beyond. I have to admit I wasn’t too cool really, so it wasn’t all punk gigs even in my teenage years. There was the rock’n’roll great Chuck Berry, who asked a bewildered the support band to back him up through his set. There was heavy metal and heavy leather from Judas Priest. Although Coatham Bowl was the more usual heavy metal stronghold. Hawklords featuring half of Hawkwind were definitely not punk on their “Silver Machine.” Then again Lemmy was on that seminal Hawkwind track and he turned up to play an amazing night in the Crypt for the early Motorhead. It was brought to abrupt halt when someone stole a guitar pedal off the stage before the encore. They shut the doors but the thief must have already legged it.

Over the years I have seen so many amazing gigs here, Oasis, Radiohead, Super Furry Animals, right down to the African Express experience in more recent times. I’ve even been lucky enough to play myself in the Crypt, supporting two legendary post punk bands the Buzzcocks (Oh I forget about their Town Hall gig when Pete Shelley appealed for everyone to “stop spitting, it’s getting on my strings.”) and my absolute favourites The Fall. I shall always be thankful to Town Hall manager Pat for ringing me up at the last minute and asking if Shrug would like to fill in for a missing support band. What play open for John Cooper Clarke and Mark E Smith and The Fall? We did not need to think twice.

Middlesbrough Town Hall has been such a big part of my life and forged many of my fondest musical memories I hope it continues for future generations for years to come.


Boro Striker Supports Prize Winning Tees Wheelchair Sports Club

I met Boro forward Lukas Jutkiewicz at Outwood Academy, Acklam. Along with winger Muzzy Carayol he took part in a high tempo wheelchair basketball game, really throwing himself into the match. Afterwards he paused to talk about wheelchair basketball and Boro’s great run of results.

Middlesbrough FC stars Lukas Jutkiewicz and Mustapha Carayol helped a wheelchair sports club celebrate receiving £2,500 from a pioneering charity.

Tees Valley Wheelchair Sports Club will receive £2,500 from Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation after topping a public poll on Boro’s website.

Fly: Lukas how did you enjoy playing wheelchair basketball? 

LJ: Yes it was really good fun. Really competitive as well. You take a fair few bumps and bruises just like on a Saturday. No, I really enjoyed it. All the young guys they were really into it. There was a lot of team work involved and I felt that even if the ball wasn’t in play they were all working hard as a team and really enjoying themselves as well. So all in all I had a really good time.

Fly: Have you played basketball before? 

LJ: Yes I have played basketball but it is very different obviously having to get used to handling the chair as well it takes a lot of out your arms and obviously shooting you get so much of the power from your legs. It is very different. But I played a lot of basketball when I was younger and really enjoyed it. I was looking forward to today and it turned out I had a really good time.

Fly: It is really inclusive. Able bodied athletes also wanting to play. And people that otherwise maybe are not into sport. Ordinary basketball there is an advantage in being tall but everyone is at the same level here. 

LJ: Yes, yes exactly it takes away a lot of that. Obviously there are some people with longer arms..

Fly: Like you.. 

LJ: (laughs) Yes I was using that to my advantage but no it puts people on a level playing field and like you say a lot of able bodied people are keen to get involved as well so it was really nice to see how inclusive it is and the coaches put on a really good sessions.

Fly: Back to the Boro. We are still continuing this really good run. The last home game v Charlton it was a very tense finish but we managed it in the end. 

LJ: Yes. We have certainly played better during the season and not picked up anything. I know I would rather be in the dressing room where you haven’t played so well and won over being in a dressing room where you have played really well and got beaten. So I think we have maybe started to realise what it takes to grind out results, even when you are not playing so well and that is a positive sign. And obviously as you say it is a good run, six games without getting beaten and five of them victories. So hopefully we can continue you it and you never know, start climbing the table and putting a bit of pressure on the people above us.

Fly: Finally I have seen you a couple of times on twitter buying records at a record shop in Stockton. You have just discovered that recently haven’t you?

LJ: Yes I have got a record player and I just put it out there, I didn’t know where was the best place to go and buy records in the north east and straight away people pointed me towards Sound It Out Records in Stockton. I’ve been in a couple of times, they are really friendly people and they have got a good selection. The fella named Stuart in there is a really top guy. He knows his music as well and has looked after me in there. I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve been there plenty of times.

Photos – Tracy Hyman