TestTown 3D Moments

Four young entrepreneurs competed last weekend to be crowned Middlesbrough TestTown winners and receive £500 and a place in a national final. The idea of TestTowns is to breathe new life into the nation’s high streets help young businesses test out their ideas by utilising empty shop units.

Today I am profiling one of the competing young businesses in the scheme, supported by Middlesbrough Council and Middlesbrough College that offered budding entrepreneurs aged 16-30 business mentoring and an opportunity to road test their ideas in town centre premises.

Earlier this year the charity Carnegie UK Trust announced that Middlesbrough had been chosen as one of seven towns and cities nationally to take part in the TestTown initiative.

I chatted with Moments in 3D – A portable, fast 3D printing business producing portraits and bespoke models. They traded in Hill Street Centre last weekend and have an office in central Middlesbrough. One of only two of the businesses that are locally based.

Q:Please tell me a little bit about your business and what you are doing with the 3D printer.

A: Moments in 3D: we’ve got 3D technology helping us to make a miniature or sculptures of people. We take a few seconds using the 3D scanner and scan the person and then we use softwares to edit it and get it perfectly done for the print. We use 3D printers to actually print the person with all the full colours and all the details. So that’s it.

We could turn up to peoples venues, like a wedding. Scan the bride with all the details, the make up and the ring and everything else and then it only takes up to a few hours to print it out. We could actually hand it over on the wedding day so they could pop it on their cake. Or if they wanted it a bit bigger it would take a week to deliver it in a bigger size.

Q: So what you are saying you could make miniatures of the bride and bridegroom and they could be sitting on top of their own wedding cake.

A: If they wanted to for the day certainly or if not if they wanted a bigger version it will take a week to deliver it over to them.

We have lots of samples to see today. We are active. Moments is predominantly taking 3D technology to peoples doorstep but we have other products that do 2D designing 3D designs and 3D printing so we are pretty active in the 3D world.

Q: How long have you been operating?

A: We are a start up business so we started early this year, operating from central Middlesbrough, we have only been going 3 or 4 months at this moment. So it is not that long. This opportunity doing a TestTown is fantastic for us to get to see what the public’s reaction would be towards our products and obviously get some sales going through.

Q: Have you had much response today in this unit?

A: We have had loads of sales so far. Well over £100 already. It is a great opportunity that they have given us to see what people’s reaction is in this busy shopping mall. Obviously all the support has been absolutely great.

Q: How useful were the seminars you had before hand?

A: Yes we have had some classes before to just get ourselves prepared. Obviously you come into a shop it is not that easy. You need to know the legality etc and we have been to classes for it. They have trained us up. All this help from the TestTown people has been really great but so has the support been from the local people. The council has been great and so have the management of the Hill Street Centre.

Q: 3D printers have been in the news a lot lately with all the possibilities they are opening up in the medical world etc. A lot of us will not have seen this application. Just to see you holding a model of yourself shows the possibilities.

A: Absolutely. What we do is take this technology to people’s houses. 3D technology is at the moment mainly used in engineering applications. But there is a massive gap here and we can actually sell this to the public.

Not only selling it but this is moving forward from having a picture on your mantelpiece to having a miniature of yourself on your mantelpiece. So it is just like moving forward. It is what I would like to call physical photography. That is what we call our packages at weddings and family events.

Can I just say check our website www.momentsin3d.co.uk and check our facebook page again momentsin3d and we have a youtube channel as well.



Record Holder Runner Offers Tips To Swift-Tees

One of the region’s top runners and the holder of the Middlesbrough Tees Pride 10k record offered tips and words of encouragement to local runners yesterday evening.

Martin Scaife won the inaugural Middlesbrough 10k Road Race in 2005 in a time of 29m 36s, a record that still stands.

And the Darlington athlete is keen to help others get into the sport which continues to grow with a string of popular events across Middlesbrough and the wider Tees area.

Martin joined in training with the popular Swift-Tees running group in Hemlington this week ahead of the 5k Riverside Run on Sunday, June 1.

The group meets at the Habinteg Community Centre at 6pm every Wednesday evening. Last night Martin ran alongside runners offering one to one advice and encouragement during interval training around the banks of Hemlington Lake.

Martin, manages running specialists Sweatshop up in the Metro Centre, Gateshead, who are providing this year’s 5k race numbers. Not surprisingly he was also a font of knowledge with regard to the right clothes and running shoes to train in.

He said: “It was a great feeling to win the very first Middlesbrough 10k, and it’s now established as one of the best races of its kind in the region.

“But these events are for everyone taking part, and it’s a great achievement for everyone who completes the course, regardless of their time.”

Ahead of last night’s training session Martin said:

“I’m looking forward to meeting the Swift-Tees runners and helping them to achieve their own goals and hopefully enjoy a great event.”

Swift-Tees founder Rosanne Lightfoot said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our runners – we can’t wait to rub shoulders with and learn from an athlete like Martin.”

Boro’s Riverside Stadium is once again the start and finish point of the 5k Riverside Run and 2k Fun Run.

The popular route takes runners past many of the town’s most iconic land marks including the Transporter Bridge, Middlesbrough College, the Middlehaven Dock Clock and Temenos.

The race is also the ideal springboard to get in shape for the ever-popular Middlesbrough Tees Pride 10k Road Race which returns for its 10th edition on Sunday, August 31.

After training at Swift-Tees I just managed to summon enough energy to record a brief chat with Martin about his thoughts on the running group, preparations for the Middlesbrough 10k and running in general.

Q: How did you enjoy the Swift-Tees training?

MS: Oh yes fantastic. It is just brilliant to see everyone out in the community enjoying it. I think the best thing is that it is all ages. Everyone is really spurring each other on and giving everyone else loads of support. It was an absolute pleasure to come down today.

Q: How does it feel 9 years on that you are still the record holder of the Middlesbrough 10k. Does it make you proud?

MS: Yes I am a local lad, I always have been. I have either worked in Middlesbrough or have been around in Middlesbrough a lot of my life. I used to run for Mandale when I was a kid. I am still very proud of holding the record. But it is there to be beaten. I would probably like to see Matty Hines have a go at it, a young lad coming through. I would be quite happy to see him take it.

Q: It was 2005 when you won in the record time and now we have a lot more runs in the area. Are you pleased to see how many events there are and how well they are supported.

MS: I think running is on a massive boom. I think the percentage for increase of runners is actually 74% of people who are competing in events or are running now. A lot of people have actually thrown away their gym passes and decided to put their running shoes on and go out and run. These events are cropping up all over. I am talking to a lady tomorrow who is doing a kaleidoscope run through a hospice up at Newcastle and you have to wear all white and people through paint over you, it is like a fountain of different colours. There are all sorts going on. There are Zombie runs where zombies chase after you. And the rat race of course. So it is adventure racing and running. It is absolutely fantastic. I think there is a massive running boom at the moment and it is great.

Q: From what you are saying and what we see through Swift-tees is that running is everyone. Is that correct?

MS: It is for everyone yes. And basically that is the philosophy I solidly believe in that it is for everyone. And it is great to see young, old, all different types of people out there and enjoying running.

Q: If people are thinking of running the Middlesbrough 10k on 31st August are they still in time to start training? What your advice be?

MS: Yes, they have got time to start it but you should build it up in 10% increases every two weeks. Even jogging and walking to initially to start with. There is loads of information out on the internet on training etc. If anyone is stuck I’m up in the Metro Centre Sweat Shop. If anyone wants to call in and bat any ideas about what they want to do, either nutrition wise or training wise.

Q: Somebody reading this might be inspired to have a pop at your Middlesbrough 10k record.

MS: Well hopefully. Yes it is there to be taken. It would be good to see. I think Teesside on the whole is a real hotbed for running at the moment. I think it is fantastic to see. It is what the region needs and the area needs and people like Swift-tees are really promoting it as well which is fanatastic.

For further information, training plans and to sign up for the Runmiddlesbrough 2014 races, visit www.runmiddlesbrough.com

As part of its Improving Health Together mission, NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is sponsoring both the 5k Riverside Run and the 2k Fun Run on Sunday, June 1.


Patrick Monahan Cake Charmer Comes Home

TV funnyman Patrick Monahan is looking forward to coming home to Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt on Saturday 17 May. Patrick will be bringing his cake charming tour into home territory.

I caught up with Patrick as he charmed the cakes in the Olde Young Teahouse, Middlesbrough. There was only one topic to start our conversation with.

Q: Cake!

PM: Cake! I’m going to do this interview eating cake. (And he did munching away throughout)

Q: Cake any time of the day?

PM: Exactly, five times a day. You have got to get your five a day. If you can put fruit in that is even better. Cherry, lemon cake, carrot cake as well. That is where we are going wrong. Encourage kids to eat cake that has got fruit in and then all you do is slowly as they get used to it take away a bit of the cake and leave the fruit. Then eventually you will just put the carrot on the plate and they will think that it is a carrot cake.

Q: That is a good idea. It could be a football diet as well. They have all these dieticians these days.

PM: I know that is ridiculous. Do you remember that Brazilian footballer, Socrates? Do you remember when he would turn up and be eating like turkey drum sticks and then he would play amazing on the pitch. Then at half time he would go and have a fag and then he’d be having a pint and then he would come back out and dribble around eleven of the players. He was amazing.

And then you think of the players now and they are all like looked after like babies. But to be fair they do live longer. Poor Socrates I think he died when he was about 40.

Q: There is that. Oh and you mention Socrates and it is the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

PM: Yeah wow that should be amazing. How many Boro players will be playing?

Q: Well the keeper, Dimi Konstantopoulos might get in the Greece squad.

He is the bottle top keeper, did you see that incident?

PM: No, what happened?

Q: You think of strange things that happen on a football pitch, you don’t get too many dogs anymore but the ball landed on a stray bottle top on the pitch and bounced over Dimi’s leg and was knocked into the empty net.

PM: No. I do remember the inflatable at Sunderland v Liverpool and the ball deflected into the goal. But how did it bounce off a bottle top? We have got to make sure this summer that no drinks have bottle tops.

Q: Maybe that is why they take them off you at matches? But they don’t remove the keepers do they?

PM: Oh no. They do the same in concerts. You are not allowed to leave the top on but someone said it was to stop people putting something in it and making it heavy and throwing it at the performer. But I am thinking whose going to pay all that money for a ticket to throw a bottle.

So you have to be careful and my prediction for the World Cup in Brazil is to take plenty of sun lotion but they need to let you keep the bottle top or it will make a mess of your clothes and luggage.

I would say it is going to be good. You look at the Premier and Championship this year and they have been amazing. It has been such a great year for football. But the problem is whether English players can play together as a team when they come to the World Cup. They are too busy worrying about their girlfriends shopping. They are going, why did I bring the Wag here to Brazil? Although saying that Brazil is not going to be somewhere like Italy with designer shops.

Q: But they could be promenading up and down the beach at Rio?

PM: Exactly. Keep an eye on them.

Q: Maybe that is why England are playing in the middle of the Amazon.

PM: Oh yes and I know the games are going to be late as well. I tell you what that is going to be quite funny for us doing a concert. Because when a World Cup is on we are always so used to people turning up hammered to the gigs as they have just been watching the world cup match at four o’clock in the afternoon.

Or sometimes it is just about the same time. Do you remember when England played Portugal and it was about 7.30pm kick off? And they moved the comedy show so we had to start after the football match. Which is ridiculous because if England lose you have got to do a show to a load of people who are just dead upset. And that’s exactly what happened as we got beat and so there was all these people just sat there so miserable and upset. And you have got to get them happy again and you can’t. Because as a comedian as well it is topical, so you have got to talk about what has been happening.

But this year I think it is quite a good thing because the matches are so late people could still come and see the show. Come and have a drink and see the comedy show and then go and watch the football match.

Q: People are probably looking for something to do to keep them going to the late kick off.

PM: Exactly. Perfect.

But it was funny though last World Cup and I was on tour as I am now and I did a load of dates in June. You could tell England were playing because you would turn up to a theatre and literally 98% of the audience were women.

There was one show and it was in a little theatre and I was worried who is going to come out they are all watching the football. It was packed full of women. There were just two blokes in there and a hundred women. One was a son who had brought his mum out and he was going to watch the football when he went back and his mum wasn’t interested. And the only other bloke in the whole theatre was a Scottish bloke who was married to an English women. He loved it and wasn’t bothered. This was down south. That is the only plus side for a comedian during the World Cup is that you are going to get an audience that really just want to see comedy. Everyone else, the rest of us are just watching football aren’t we?

Q: Yes.

PM: I think the best way to do it is to put on the show first and then we can all watch the match straight after. We did that one year, I think it was at Cheltenham and it was lovely. The match was kicking off in the afternoon about 4 or 5 o’clock and we did the comedy show about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. It was fantastic just so nice. It was a bit like the old days, how it used to be. Do you remember how people would come in, dressed up and have something to eat, see a comedy show then eyes down for bingo? Lovely.

Q: The last time we spoke, which was about January. We said that when you come to do your show May 17th Boro could be awash with play off fever. Sadly not to be.

PM: But you have got to look at the positives this year. When I saw them on Boxing Day there was such a big improvement. I loved Mowbray, don’t get me wrong. I thought Mowbray was a great manager as well. But in terms of Boro, Boxing Day they were so good but there were also so many great individuals, Emmanuel Ledesma etc. It is was the first time in the couple of seasons where I thought you could see Boro in the Premier. Now that was almost like a Premier team.

Q: Did you like the way the team was organised as well?

PM: Yeah I thought they had just got the gel right. I think this year it would have been great if they had got in the play offs or gone up but I think the thing is you have to build it, don’t you? Because if they go up you don’t want that problem again of where they are struggling to stay up. Whereas if they build it next year and go up as Champions. I think they could easily win the league next year. If you go up as Champions you have more chance of finishing in mid table in the Premier League the year after. So it is just building.

Q: So, perhaps everyone should come to your show in May.

PM: Come to the show Saturday May 17th and we can sing some Boro songs in the interval. Craig Hignett usually comes along with his missus.

Q: He is the Boro assistant manager now.

PM: Yeah. I forgot about that. He was at Hartlepool wasn’t he? And come over from there. He has done well. That is the way to do it. Build up, build up, build up. Great stuff. He has played for the club, he’s gone off to Hartlepool and I think it won’t be long in a few years time before we see Hignett as manager for Boro. Imagine that. Fanastic. A little scouser in charge of Boro.

Patrick Monahan: Cake Charmer. Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt. Saturday 17 May. Age: 12+. Doors: 7.15pm. Show: 8pm. Tickets: £14 / £12. Box Office: 01642 729 729 or www.middlesbroughtownhallonline.co.uk

Photos Tracy Hyman at Olde Young Tea Shop


TestTown Middlesbrough 2014

TestTown 2014 banner

Middlesbrough is proud to be participating in TestTown 2014, a competition run by Carnegie UK Trust, which aims to revitalise high streets by bringing empty retail units back into use, as well as offering young people the skills to start up their own businesses.

Middlesbrough is one of seven towns to host a regional final, along with Coleraine, Rhyl, Kirkintilloch, Bury St Edmunds, Manchester and Perth. Nationwide, over 400 young entrepreneurs aged 16-30 applied to be part of TestTown and of those, 35 were shortlisted, with five to attend each TestTown local heat.

In Middlesbrough, the competition runs from May 19 – May 25, with Friday 23 and Saturday 24 being the days when participants will be trading in the town centre, so come on down to see what it’s all about!

The businesses taking part will be:

Moments in 3D – A 3D printing business producing portraits and bespoke models.
Unit 22-23 Hill Street Shopping Centre.
Major London 5 – A bespoke fashion business, making and selling printed urbanwear for men and women.
Unit 22-23 Hill Street Shopping Centre.
Fusion Designs – A new popup home interior design and accessories studio and shop, targeted at younger consumers.
43 Dundas Street.
Bubble CreativiTea – A business selling traditional Bubble Tea from Taiwan, with everything in the café including furniture being up for sale.
Unit 31 Dundas Arcade.
Yummy Ads – An advertising company selling space on branded coffee cups and tray covers, and paying schools and colleges for using them in-house.
Dundas Arcade, Dundas Street.

At the end of the week, one business will be crowned the winner, receiving £500 and a place in the grand final taking place in Cambridge in October 2014. The winner of the grand final will claim £10,000 in startup funding, as well as specialist support from Carnegie UK Trust and their partners. Most excitingly, they will also win the once in a lifetime opportunity to trade on Oxford Street (London) for a month.

The TestTown Project aims to utilise some of the 50,000 vacant shop units in town centres across the country, as well as offering a new opportunity to 16-30 year olds who may find themselves without the means to start up their own business. During the 2013 pilot TestTown project, sales over of £10,000 were taken during the grand final and footfall in the trading streets doubled.

TestTown is a Carnegie UK Trust project, supported locally by Middlesbrough Council and Middlesbrough College, in association with Dundas Arcade and Hillstreet Centre/NewRiver Retail.

Useful links
Carnegie UK Trust
TestTown 2014


Fairy Dell Pathway To The Past

For me what makes Fairy Dell stand out from the many Boro beck valleys is its history. Oh and the name as well. A highlight of Middlesbrough Local History Month will be next week’s archaeological dig to uncover more of the history of this ancient wooded valley. Recently possible mediaeval pathways bisecting this south Middlesbrough green sward have been uncovered. Also every Thursday (excepting next week while the dig is on) this month Fairy Dell Friend Jim Rogers is leading a walk to reveal some of the history of this fascinating little valley.

This Thursday morning I joined the walkers at the Gunnergate Lane entrance to the modern landscaped Fairy Dell Park. But we quickly dived back into the mediaeval past as Jim pointed out the hollow way burrowing its way down through the mixed woodland to Marton West Back many feet below.

This green U shaped dip shows the classic shape of a mediaeval pathway that has worn down through the landscape either side. Perhaps once this lane or trod, as they were locally termed led between the settlements of Marton and disserted mediaeval village, Newham and Hemlington beyond. It could have been a predecessor to the present Gunnergate Lane.

Now cleared of the masking vegetation Tees Archaeology will lead volunteers in digging a slice across the pathway to look for sign posts to its antiquity and usage. It should be fascinating, please do go along and have a look or join the dig, from 10am onwards all next week.

Jim Rogers secretary of the thriving band of volunteers that is Friends of Fairy Dell won a major Heritage Lottery Award to develop the Pathways to the Past project and open up this green finger to the communities that live all around in Coulby Newham and Marton and beyond.

The Friends of Fairy Dell are guardians of this valley and work with the council and other agents to maintain and reinvigorate the environment. Jim was able to point out how they are building natural barriers between the wooded valley and the parkland by traditional methods. Bending the stems of bushes to breaking point looks brutal but they re shoot and form a green fence that has been a tried and tested method for centuries. Such a hedge would probably have once prevented the animals farmed in the fields of Newham, Tollesby and further north in Coulby from escaping and trampling down into the wooded valley of Marton West Beck.

Walking further along the top of the valley we came across a magnificent oak tree that has probably stood guarding this spot since James Cook was a boy learning his letters on Marton Grange Farm a couple of sling shots away on the other side of the valley.

The tree trunk splits into three great branches so showing signs of pollarding for use of its timber, perhaps for shipbuilding. Another interesting link to the future Captain Cook who sailed the oceans of the world in a Whitby collier.

Down in the valley itself there is plenty of history as well as natural history. Victorian drainage channels and cascades were once a feature of the landscaping for Middlesbrough ironmaster and founding father John Vaughan’s Gunnergate Hall. This magnificent pile once stood high above the valley. Another towering eminence was an ornate water tower demolished in my lifetime but an iron bridge remains, painted green, its construction reminds you immediately of the girders of the two great Tees bridges of Middlesbrough.

In Victorian times there were two lakes in the woods joined by a cascade and with rockeries of sometimes exotic vegetation. In more recent times, further landscaping of the lakes has taken place and sculptures in iron and carved wood peak out either side of the well maintained paths.

The Friends have a continual and tireless task of picking up litter carelessly discarded by thoughtless abusers of this woodland haven. Their efforts are appreciated by the wildlife, two herons were quietly feeding in between the reed beds of the lake, whilst a squirrel scurried up a tree. The Friends have been joined by other volunteers to do battle against the silting of the lakes. The maintenance was also applauded by a gentleman on a motorbility scooter able to trek along the boardwalks and gravel footpaths that now unlock this valley for all the public to enjoy.

We returned towards Gunnergate Lane past what my grandma once told me locals had referred to as Primrose Valley. In the early part of the 20th century this was a destination for school and Sunday school trips. In fact unless my memory is playing me tricks I’m pretty sure my class once walked here from CaptainCookSchool, Marton.

I do recall when Gunnergate Lane went through the ford before the road was re-routed over and embankment in the 1970s. I’m sure it was a struggle for my dad’s green Hillman Minx to climb the steep bank after pushing through the ford. This stretch of road is again hollowed deep into the terrain and will be investigated for evidence of its mediaeval origins next week.

Anyway, please do get along to this fascinating history trail through the wonderfully named Fairy Dell. Once a Victorian play park and before that a mediaeval parish boundary, crisscrossed by pathways.

The next Fairy Dell walk is on Thursday 22 May – and then 29th May – meet at 10am inside the main Gunnergate Lane entrance to FairyDellPark. There is parking space in the lay-by opposite the Gate. There are surprisingly steep paths and steps. So good shoes are an idea and also note there are no toilets in the wood and there are gaps between trees where the rain can get at you so dress accordingly I would say.

Our walk lasted a couple of hours but the walk is never far from exits so earlier escape routes are always open but I doubt you will want to take an exit from this fascinating historical walking tour.

Tees Archaeology will begin their investigations on Monday, marking out the trenches. The main digging in anger should start on Tuesday morning. Go along any way next week from 10am with or without a trowel and help unearth some of Middlesbrough’s hidden past.

Further details are posted on The Friends of Fairy Dell website: