Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Down with the Mayor!

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Down with the Mayor!

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson? 0191 201 6224 ? tony.henderson@ncjmedia.co.uk

ACIVIC couple yesterday abseiled from their town hall to mark a milestone anniversary of an outdoor pursuits centre.

It is 30 years since South Tyneside Council took ownership of Thurston outdoor education centre at Coniston Water in the Lake District.

To mark the occasion, mountaineer Alan Hinkes abseiled 100ft yesterday from the clock tower of South Shields Town Hall.

And the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Ernest Gibson, 49, and Patricia Ridley, 53, joined in by abseiling from the Town Hall roof.

They decided to put into action the kind of outdoor skills that young people are taught during their stay at Thurston.

Around 2,000 young people, aged between 10 and 18, visit the former Victorian country house of Thurston each year.

The Mayor and Mayoress have been preparing for their big day by receiving specialist training from the Simonside Outdoor Adventure, which is the council's outdoor education body.

Coun Gibson, said: "The Mayoress and I were really looking forward to our momentous abseil that will help to put Thurston in the spotlight and showcase the wonderful work that is achieved at the centre.

"The activity programme delivered up at Thurston is outstanding and second to none.

"It gives young people an amazing sense of independence and enhances their life skills. The centre provides young people with memories they can cherish and go on to tell their own children.

"The uptake from local schools down the years has been fantastic and Thurston is something that South Tyneside can be very proud of. It underlines the council's investment in young people, as we are at the forefront of providing high-quality education and life skills.

"The Mayoress has experienced the joys of Thurston as her children and grandchildren have all taken part in its outdoor activities. …

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