d-FORMED: A Personal Journey by Kev Howard

d-FORMED is the startling autobiographical exhibition of Kev Howard. It is an incredibly hard hitting yet at the same time sensitive photographic record of the physical challenges and the constant surgical procedures Kev has faced over the years.

kev-howardKev Howard is an instantly recognisable figure, often to be seen clicking away with his camera at local gigs and events. He is surely the only expert didgeridoo player on Teesside and often performs live with his array of instruments. Both skills he has mastered with his mechanical hand. But I had absolutely no idea about the medical history, the painful decisions and indeed pain he has endured to get to this point. To say that the exhibition has been an eye opener would be a gross understatement. But also it underlines once again what a wonderful photographer and a great artist Kev undoubtedly is.

The exhibition starts as we confront a representation of the mask that Kev would have worn as he was anaesthetised before going down to surgery as a young lad. The emotions of fear were gradually superseded as he grew older and more experienced. But it is still a very stark gateway for us to the photo representations of the operations and outcomes as his growing body was realigned.

kev-my-left-footIt isn’t something I have ever really thought about before the decisions as to whether to increase function or even sacrifice a limb. I guess I have a tiny insight in that I was born with an extra digit and have been left with a thumb that only half works but that is absolutely nothing whatsoever compared to Kev growing facing so many physical challenges. These are challenges he still has to live and cope with throughout his life.

I found there was real beauty in the photography. When Kev replaces his limbs with coloured sculptured forms he forces us to think about why we often see beauty as skin deep or not.

kev-howard-formsThe final blood spattered image confronts the present system of appeals people must now leap through for disability benefits and all the trauma people are being put through. After Kev’s exhibition we are better placed to realise the back history and the physical and emotional ordeals some being reassessed for benefits have been through already.

kev-howard-bloodThis is such a brave exhibition for Kev to undertake. He has put his body on the line for surgery and now once again through his lens. It is a powerful statement brilliantly presented. For the viewer you will go on a real journey and I think be much enriched and rewarded for taking it.

D-Formed is displayed until 23 April at Dorman Museum that is open Tuesday to Sunday every week.

Tees Valley Wildlife Trust

wildlife-trustThere were some tough times for Tees Valley Wildlife Trust last year when there vans and valuable equipment were ransacked during a break in. The damage totalled a whopping £1400 in all, a big set back. Middlesbrough FC rallied round to help the trust out with a signed Boro shirt. Development Officer Jenny Hagan contacted me for any advice to do with the signed shirt and I decided a meet up was in order and so set off for their Margrove Park HQ to find out all about their operation. I already knew that the Trust works with children on matchdays in the Generation Red Family Zone of the Riverside, hence the signed shirt. I wanted to know more about this and where and what the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust was about and how we could buy tickets for the prize draw to help make up for the criminal damage

tees-valley-van-damage-1Q: Can you tell us your names for the tape please.

Tees Valley: Amy Carrick River Tees Officer; Jenny Hagan Development Manager

Q: We are from Tees Valley Wildlife Trust one of 47 wildlife trusts in the country, we are second or third smallest.

Jenny: The other two are islands.

We have 9000 members and we have been going since 1979 we used to be Cleveland Nature Trust.

Amy: We have 15 nature reserves spreading from Hartlepool, down to Stockton and Middlesbrough all the way down the coast to Skinningrove and Loftus.

Q: What are your responsibilities in the reserves?

A: We own some of them and then others we manage on long term leases on behalf of other companies eg Coatham Marsh was owned by Tata and we manage it on a longterm lease.

Q: Do you have volunteers helping you to manage the reserves.

J: Yes we have 125 volunteers.

A: They do several things. We have three different groups. Dan, our reserves officer has two groups out doing practical things. Matt has two groups at the moment doing practical things. I have got three groups doing practical things. There are a lot of groups out there doing tree planting, tree cutting, ditch clearing, path making, anything goes, it is all managed by our volunteers. Then there are the admin volunteers as well who help deliver magazines, invoices etc. Then we have surveyors as well, bat surveyors, otter surveyors, water vole surveyors as well. And education volunteers too, mainly retired teachers or people that used to be in the profession will come in and give us a helping hand. So volunteers not just practical but all over the spectrum.

tees-valley-swanQ: So how do you go out and speak to people? Do you go into schools for instance?

A: Yes we do newsletters. They go out to schools where we can offer sessions for a price or free, depending on what projects are going on. We also recruit volunteers via social media and our website. Also by word of mouth as well.

J: We also have a presence at events such as when Middlesbrough College has an event or World Health Day in Middlesbrough last year that was a big event that attracts lots of people.

There are only 20 staff and 125 volunteers, they are regular volunteers as well, not just one off volunteers.

A: Yes, they come out every week or some ad hoc we call them when we need them. A lot of the practical reserve volunteers can come out every week.

J: Most of what we do is depending upon them being there.

A: We would be scuppered without them. It is their skills as well. On my team for example I have got people that can do carpentry, welding, joinery etc. It is stuff that I can only know in limited amounts so it is good to be able to pick their brains. We have some of them designing benches or frames for signs. So it is not just they are going out and doing a path they are actually designing stuff for us as well. That is what my River Tees Rediscovered project is about and Jenny’s mental health projects, it is people that have all these skills and getting them to actually design things and come up with management plans as well, they are heavily involved. Especially with all the cuts in the steel industry we are hoping to leap on that to give those people a chance to show off their skills, get back out there and boost their self esteem.

J: I don’t think they always realise how much they help each other because some of them have amazing skills but really low confidence. And some have amazing communication skills and they are really good at welcoming new people who might be really nervous coming to a group. Especially something like this where they might not have previously gone out doors and it might be in the middle of nowhere. Everyone is the same. We don’t have super skilled volunteers in one group, everyone is the same.

A: It is all inclusive. Jenny and Dan from early on have all pushed the inclusive volunteers, so we don’t have separate groups.

We do work a lot with people with varying mental or physical health issues. We will tailor activities so that everyone is involved.

All the staff have been on courses and have spoken to each other and helped each other out to understand people’s needs a bit more.

J: Matt’s life skills project – we wanted an open approach so anybody can ring me up and say I have been out of work for 3 years, I am really not very confident, I don’t go out any more, I would like to come out and try something. Then at the other end of the scale, it could be someone that might be an in patient at Roseberry Park and come out with a support worker. But the support worker would volunteer as well. So, everyone comes out and pitches in and they all learn a bit from each other and benefit where they probably wouldn’t elsewhere.

We do some pretty strange and wonderful things. We do blacksmithing workshops and drystone wall workshops. There is wildlife gardening. There is green woodwork, decorative things etc. They are all things that we don’t think they would get a chance to do anywhere else.

They come twice a week, a workshop one day then match it up with volunteering once a week. They get to work on a project of their own choice. They go and visit different reserves and they choose a reserve and figure out a way to improve it. They get a John Muir award for doing that. It is a trust up in Scotland that offer free conservation awards for people. That is 12 weeks long, we have 12 people every 12 weeks until June next year.

Q: In Middlesbrough you manage Maze Park don’t you, between Newport and the A19 bridges.

tees-valley-maze-parkA: Yes it has 3 mounds which were the spoil from the building of Teesside Park. We have let nature take its course and then we have managed it. Maze Park is really good for butterflies. It has one of the rarest butterflies in the country or especially in the region, called the grayling. They lay their eggs on the marshalling yards behind and then once they are hatched out they come into Maze Park itself. We have been managing special habitat corridors, to make sure that they have a way in because some butterflies are quite particular in how long they want their grass. There are a lot of different wildflowers in there as well for them. We manage it, we make sure we cut all the meadows and we rake them as well. We make special basking areas for them as well because once they have hatched out they like to basically sunbathe. So all the gravely paths have been increased into proper basking areas so the butterflies can have a sunbathe. They can feed on all the wild flowers and then sunbathe.

Q: That must be a great opportunity to see them as well.

A: Yes, exactly that is how you see them. You keep quiet for a bit and then have a look at the butterflies. So that reserve is brilliant and that is how it is managed for the butterflies and also bees. It is a nice little reserve.

J: Also in Middlesbrough there will be work at Linthorpe Cemetery through the Wild Green Places project which is working with twenty community groups right across the Tees Valley.  Not working on our own sites but Friends sites etc and improving them for wildlife. Doing anything from getting a food hygiene certificate to run an event to doing a bat survey etc.

A: Also Maelor’s Wood in Stainton, there is a rubbings trail designed by kids, where they can rub pictures of ladybirds etc that is new and being launched and opened.

J: This project is working with community groups but not just to get them involved but to build them up so they have the capacity to do things on their own in the future. It is foundation depending on what they need.

A: There are a lot of Friends groups in Middlesbrough from Fairy Dell, Maelor’s Wood to the old Boro Becks project. They are still going and still need volunteers. The small patches around Middlesbrough always need helpers. A lot of them might be run by older people who cannot go out and build a path for example and are now doing more of the management side. They always need people to actually go out, even for a few hours.

Q: The green ribbons in a town are very important aren’t they?

A: Yes definitely because we are losing them all the time. It is again part of what we do in general, saving space for wildlife and working with those Friends groups to keep those little patches open.

Q: You are showing people that there is wildlife even in a town.

A: When you go out and look there is a lot there.

J: We want to go out and do more in the town centre as well, working with younger people as well. We did a great project last year in Middlesbrough with Talent Match, that was with people that had been unemployed or out of training for two years. We worked with a group of guys of which two have apprenticeships with One Planet Pioneers. They did a 12 week programme. They got to do their own project. They made a video with a gopro camera. They stayed over night in the roundhouse on the Nature Reserve in February and they were sponsored. We are hoping to do a repeat of the project again. We got four lovely young people last time.

Q: Tell me about your involvement at the Boro, in the Generation Red Family Zone.

A: Yes, we were there last season and we have been invited back this season. We have had three stalls (at different matches) already this season. Each one has a different theme. The first one this season was birds so we made log bird feeders. You make a lard and seed mixture and put it into a log feeder that has holes drilled in. So the kids get to make their own and take them home and we speak to them about how you can help birds in your garden and what birds we have in the region.

tees-valley-grfzOur second theme was bats, we had our bat officer, Sarah Barry came along. We made loo roll bats. So, they could make their own little bats and then hang them up around the house. We did a bat trail, so the kids followed a sticker collection of different animals the bats eat, like flies and moths for example. Each child had to find the missing sticker, so basically they had to interact with all the other kids and also Roary the Lion and try to get stickers from Roary and the seal and the bee to see if they could get a full collection of stickers for their bat. Once they did that they got a prize from us that contained a banana and a chocolate bar and information about bats. The banana and chocolate was because bats help the pollination of plantations.

Q: Did the kids find the bats exciting or scary?

A: Most found them exciting I think. A lot knew about vampire bats so we dispelling myths that bats don’t just go around sucking your blood. They are actually quite nice animals and they do pollinate a lot of plants. They do eat a lot of midgies.

They do have bats down at the Riverside. You have to go to a late game in about September and you can actually see them fly around the actual stadium and I have seen one actually land on the goal net during a game which is cool. So there are actually bats at the Riverside Stadium which is why we wanted to link it in a bit more. You would normally go out with a bat detector which detects their calls but obviously it is too loud but you can see them flying around. I think they will be most likely the common pipistrelle bats. It is brilliant having them around the stadium itself.

tees-valley-batsIt was national squirrel awareness day on Saturday 21st January so we were dispelling myths that grey squirrels are our native squirrels when it is actually the reds and that they kill them but they don’t they eat their food. We are getting the kids to create their own squirrel tales and we make nature mobiles out of twigs, leaves and bits of wood they can decorate and take home.

All of our activities involve making something to take home. It is about them having a Wildlife Trust experience at the football ground and taking something home and looking back and thinking I remember that and hopefully remember all the little facts we have told them.

tees-valley-squirelThe last event is World Book Day, March 11th, the Sunderland game. We are making little pen holders and also wildlife book marks. Again we will be promoting what we do and also different wildlife books as well as ID books and how simple it is to go out with them and ID wildlife.

Q: Sadly you had some very bad news about your vans didn’t you?

A: We park the vans in a locked up compound. People broke a lot of the metal fencing to get in and they took 4 wheels. They tried to break into a locked box, they couldn’t but it was so damaged that we had to weld it off and destroy it to get back into it. The blue van had a window broken and a chain saw taken and some tools. The mini bus was also broken into and tools taken.

They left a message Thanks for stuff #stickybandits. Apparently the burglars from Home Alone.

It totalled £1400 of damage.

tees-valley-van-damageJ: They don’t realise that for a place like this that is £1400 that comes out of paying for clothes for volunteers or tools for doing activities etc.

A: So it is a lot of money and the vehicles were off the road for a few weeks so we couldn’t do anything. There are some volunteers who only go out anywhere a few times a week in general and we are their means of getting out and they are missing out on that for a couple of weeks. So it was a bit gutting for us all. Everyone was very down about it for a while.

Q: But you now have a plan to try and raise some money.

tees-valley-roary-birdsA: Yes Middlesbrough Football Club have kindly donated a signed shirt for us to have a prize draw to raise some money. Crathorne Hall have donated an afternoon tea. They are the two top prizes. We rallied around the staff for runners up prizes. There is a year’s Wildlife Trust Family membership as a second prize. We also have a wildlife garden makeover kit, that is bird feeders, nest boxes, seeds etc. Also there are signed wildlife and foody books by award winning poet Sean Borodale. He kindly gave us the books.

tees-wildlife-prze-drawQ: How do people enter?

J: We have a suggested donation for tickets, a pound each or five for £3 or ten for £5.

We have an e-newsletter that people can sign up to from the website or check the website for our next events and buy the tickets from the events. Or buy them at our Margrove Park centre in person if local.

We will draw it on February 10th. We will arrange for them to have the prizes in time for Valentine’s Day.

Margrove Heritage Centre, Margrove Park, Boosbeck, Saltburn-by-the-Sea TS12 3BZ Phone: 01287 636382  Tees Valley Wildlife Trust

tees-valley-reasons

 

Middlesbrough Launches Alcohol Free Bar Zero

Teesside’s only dry bar was launched last week with a feast of entertainment, and food, all washed down with refreshments in the bar that were completely alcohol free. Thornaby’s own Cattle and Cane, TV magician Pete Firman and comedian Fran Garrity put on entertainment fit for the launch of a truly landmark building.

bar-zeroBar Zero is the upstairs of what was once Romer Parrish toy store, at one time the second biggest toy shop in the whole country. Now people gather for refreshments, food and entertainment in comfortable, attractive and modern surroundings. On the walls there is artwork depicting movie and music legends, with the dates they turned their back on the booze and the achievements that have followed what was to them a major, positive life changing step.

This is all about helping and encouraging those taking the brave step away from alcohol and providing an environment that is vibrant, stimulating and not shut away in a dusty church hall but right bang in the middle of town. Looking out of the picture windows and we are above Linthorpe Road and bang opposite buzz street of the moment, Baker Street. Bar Zero could not be in a more happening position in Teesside.

bar-zero-windowsBar Zero is part of a charity-run, not-for-profit social enterprise that has already seen the successful launch of The Fork in the Road restaurant, downstairs. The bar serves food, soft drinks, tea and coffee but no alcohol.

It is part of a wider programme to help people in the town with drink problems by giving them a place to meet and support each other, as well as welcoming anyone who just fancies a night away from the booze.

Bar Zero will also create volunteering, training and job opportunities for those in recovery who want to get into the catering industry.

Band Cattle and Cane readily agreed to perform at Bar Zero’s opening night, for which tickets are free, with singer Helen Hammill saying: “We feel privileged to be part of this initiative. There’s nothing like it in the area.

“Teesside is full of places selling alcohol so it’s amazing that there’ll now be a place people can go without that temptation.”

bar-zero-cn-cCattle and Cane played a short acoustic set featuring songs from the eagerly awaited second album that will be released this year. Songs included the bouncy pop single 7 Hours.

Great to see Pete Firman in action, lots of clever card tricks, sleight of hand and witty ripostes from the comedian/magician who starred on Saturday night prime time tv The Magicians.

Local comic Fran Garrity was appearing in a show at Westgarth Social Club the very next night. So, he like Pete Firman and Cattle and Cane could well be hot property this year and in the future.

The great thing about being above Fork in the Road is the bar can share the restaurant kitchen. And the food winging its way up the dumb waiter was gorgeous. The restaurant is designed to help fund Bar Zero, which will be open at weekends initially.

Bar Zero is being funded by Middlesbrough-based national charity CEO Sleepout, working in partnership with local charity Recovery Connections and Public Health England.

The three organisations also joined forces to launch The Fork in the Road, which is providing restaurant jobs to ex-offenders, recovering addicts and the long-term unemployed.

bar-zero-launch-1Businessman and charity leader Andy Preston, who chairs CEO Sleepout, is confident Bar Zero will play an important role in Teesside’s recovery scene.

He said: “Bar Zero will offer those who do not want to drink alcohol a safe and welcoming environment to meet people and mix with friends.

“We led the Public Health England capital bid and CEO Sleepout has heavily invested in The Fork in the Road, with a view to the profits from the restaurant supporting the ongoing future of Bar Zero.

“What we hope is that this can help change lives by bringing people together, which can be motivational, inspirational and develop a sense of identity.”

The bar can also be hired for private functions and community events, while Andy plans to launch cinema nights where guests can enjoy blockbuster classics on a 15 foot screen from the comfort of a reclining armchair.

The final part of the project will be the launch in the near future of a community café to provide a stepping stone for workers in recovery from alcohol and other addictions but who are not ready to work in an environment where alcohol is served.

CEO Sleepout inspires business leaders to raise funds by being sponsored to sleep in the open for a night, with at least 15% of all funds returning to fund projects such as The Fork in the Road on Teesside.

bar-zero-cnc1Under Andy’s guidance as its founder-chairman, CEO Sleepout has now raised more than £1 million for funds supporting those affected by homelessness and addiction.

More than 1,000 businesspeople, politicians and clergy have given up their beds to sleep out in landmark locations such as Wembley, Lord’s and The Oval in London, Newcastle’s St James’ Park, Manchester’s Old Trafford cricket ground and both the Riverside Stadium and Preston Park Museum here on Teesside.

There were plenty of TV cameras circling the launch. I believe the back of my head made it onto Look North. So fame at last. But hopefully Bar Zero will be a famous success in helping change lives and lifetstyles in Middlesbrough and Teesside.

with thanks to Dave Allan

Community Clean Ups

One Planet Pioneers are launching ‘Community Action Days’ this month. One Planet Pioneers are looking to work with communities across Middlesbrough to help them improve their neighbourhood. Whether it’s a simple litter pick or a community garden make over, no task will be too small.

New for 2017 Community Action Days are to be held on the last Friday of each month between 10am -3pm. The first ‘Community Action Day’ will take place on Friday 27th January 2017, working in partnership with River Tees Rediscovered they are looking for young people along with their friends and family to come along and help improve a section of Ormesby Beck along Teesdale Way.

Anyone that is interested is asked to meet at the Navigation Inn car park, Marsh Road at 10am. That is a location that will be familiar to many Boro fans as the pub is quite close to the Riverside Stadium. During the day volunteers will be clearing litter and vegetation, improving the beck to ensure clear water movement.

Nicky Morgan, One Planet Pioneers Officer contacted us about the action days and we thought we would like to know a little bit more about both the Community Action Days and One Planet Pioneers. So we fired off a few questions in Nicky’s direction. You can read the short Q and A below.

Q: Could you give me just a few words about who One Planet Pioneers are-

Nicky: ‘One Planet Pioneers is a 5 yr project aimed at 14-21 year olds who live in Middlesbrough; locally we are working in partnership with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and Actes. Nationally we are one of 31 other Our Bright Future Programs coordinated by Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and Funded via Big Lottery

One Planet Pioneers are a combination of volunteers and apprentices who are developing and broadening their skills and gain occupational knowledge while carrying out conservation, sustainability, environmental and horticultural activities.

Along with the occupational skill our young people are engaging with other members of the wider community and developing many soft skills including communication skill, teamwork and discovering their place in the world.

 Q: What is your role in Middlesbrough?

Nicky: ‘OPP is all about improving the life chances of all young people who live in Middlesbrough, we want to work with young people from across the whole community from TS1 to TS8. We are here to help young people gain the skills and build confidence needed to move in to education or employment’

Q: The action day will improve the look of the environment visually but will it also help the Beck flow better as well as improving the wildlife habitat?

Nicky:  ‘Yes, we will be litter picking, removing any obstructions to water flow as long as safe to do so, along with cutting back/managing any overgrown vegetation’

Q: So would you say that you are providing tools, expertise and organisation to allow communities to maintain and improve their own neighborhood? 

Nicky: I and Casper Scallen from Middlesbrough Environment City will be on hand to provide Environmental, Horticultural and cleansing guidance, Christine Corbett (River Tees Rediscovered) will be on hand to offer guidance and information on Middlesbrough Becks and the importance of Ormesby Beck to Our great River Tees

All tools and gloves will be provided by OPP, Middlesbrough Council are supplying litter picker and rubbish bags, along with collecting all spoil/debris at the end of the day.

Anyone that wants to come along and help is advised to wear warm outdoor clothing and sturdy waterproof boots/shoe.

Q: How should community groups make contact to inquire about Action Days?

Nicky: Nicky Morgan or Casper Scallen – Telephone 01642 579839/579832  Mobile 07722746489

Email    nicky.morgan@menvcity.org.uk

Casper.scallen@menvcity.org.uk

There has been a great deal of adverse publicity recently about fly-tipping, especially a horrific episode along the Middlesbrough bank of the Tees. These thoughtless actions can ruin the environment for everyone. It is great to know that there is a positive force for change out there giving communities the tools to clean up their own back yards.

one-planet

A Weekend in Middlesbrough at Christmas

Geoff Vickers visited Middlesbrough just before Christmas and sent us this blog about the happy experience. Formerly Secretary of Middlesbrough Supporters South and working in financial services in the City, Geoff is a Boro season ticket holder travelling up for matches from the Home Counties. In December he decided to make a weekend of the trip to see Boro v Swansea with his partner Liz in December.

It is a rare chance to spend some time back in Middlesbrough. I have spent most of my Boro supporting life travelling from my home just North of London – almost always driving or taking the train up and back in one day.

orange pip aug 1A month or so ago I read an intriguing blog from a group of Bournemouth supporters who had spent an overnight stay on Teesside back in October before and after our game with them and indeed their glowing report on the town centre especially around Baker and Bedford Streets in the town centre.  I also read that Baker Street had been named as a “Rising Star” in The Great British High Street competition.

So it was the Swansea game just before Xmas that provided us with the perfect opportunity to spend a couple of days sampling for ourselves what the Cherries’ supporters had so enjoyed and have a night on the town in Middlesbrough. It turned out to be a very good weekend.

We booked into a town centre hotel – the Express at Holiday Inn opposite the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), which, as it turned out, was perfectly located for a weekend stay. The room overlooked a fine seasonal display of lights sparkling from the trees in front of MIMA. Perfect to place us in the Christmas mood.

We had lunch on the Friday at another establishment that has been enjoying media accolades. Chadwicks Inn in Maltby owned by Gary Gill, his wife Helen, manager Lee Tolley and head chef Jon Appleby. A super relaxing way to kick off the weekend and shake off the 220 mile drive North.

I am told properties in Baker and Bedford Street were taken over by the Local Authority over the last two years and have undertaken a funding programme of regeneration and refurbishment. The area has been completely rejuvenated and what a job they have done. Baker Street was first to receive its make-over in 2014 and neighbouring Bedford Street followed over the following months.

Rob (Nichols) offered to host us on the Friday night and an initial walk down the two streets was a real eye opener. There is a continental European feel about the area with an array of independent shops, bars and restaurants with every establishment  seemingly full with season revellers.  We met in Sherlocks on Baker Street,  a small intimate bar with couches and a small corner bar with an array of beers I hadn’t really seen in a pub in Middlesbrough outside of the Wetherspoons in town.  There was a good buzzing atmosphere coupled with some new beers locally brewed.  Immediately along the road is The Twisted Lip and across the road The Slaters Pick –more fantastic editions to the small beer pub scene. To give the street a Bohemian feel both sides are full of independent shops that are so crucial in retaining character to the locality, including  a vintage clothes shop,  a deli and a furniture retailer amongst them.

And so to the next street along and Bedford Street which has become a go to place to both eat and drink with an array of recommended eateries and the Chairman pub the latest beer pub introduction. And the town centre rejuvenation doesn’t stop at those two streets.  Dimi Konstantopoulos has just opened his modern greek eaterie “Great” on Linthorpe Road and Al Forno  and Oven around the corner are, amongst many other strong offerings. According to TripAdvisor Middlesbrough has 80 places to eat with 4 or more review stars.

Match day morning we enjoyed a really good breakfast over at MIMAs new bistro the Smeltery and sister restaurant to the Waiting Room in Eaglescliffe.  The weekend was rounded off by a fine 3-0 win against the Swans.

I wanted to recount our experience, as Middlesbrough is no doubt becoming a serious weekend break destination that will only serve the town and local economy well. It is fantastic to see. I will come again before the season’s end and hope to try new places  Final mention of the hotel which is a fine ambassador for the town. The friendly welcome on reception and the hotel comfort was just top class. And as somebody who works in London fantastic value for money.

The Love Middlesbrough campaign is definitely working for me.

Blog originally printed in Fly Me To The Moon fanzine Issue 572 Boro v Leicester City 2/1/2017

Geoff Vickers