Devoted council worker retires after 38 years of promoting his home town

Alastair shaking hands with Mick Docherty, Hartlepool United manager in the early 80s.
Alastair shaking hands with Mick Docherty, Hartlepool United manager in the early 80s.

A former council worker has been praised after spending his working life promoting Hartlepool.

Alastair Rae, 56, has retired after 38 years working at Hartlepool Borough Council.

Alastair Rae

Alastair Rae

He started work at the council in June 1979 aged 18 as a trainee in the Leisure & Amenities Department, was appointed the council’s first Tourism Officer in 1985 and was also given responsibility for Entertainment & Events.

He was involved with a wide range of local events including the Hartlepool Show, Fireworks Display, Radio 1 Roadshow, Dock Rock as well as entertainment events at the Town hall Theatre and Borough Hall.

The former pupil at Jesmond Road Primary School and High Tunstall Comprehensive School was appointed Press & Public Relations Officer in October 1988 – a post he held for 29 years until his retirement as head of the council’s media team.

Hartlepool born and bred, he played a key role in helping Hartlepool become a unitary council in 1996 which resulted in the abolition of Cleveland County Council, prior to this Hartlepool was a small district council.

Alastair (front centre in parka coat) pictured with the regions tourism
colleagues shortly after HMS Warrior arrived in Hartlepool to undergo
restoration.

Alastair (front centre in parka coat) pictured with the regions tourism colleagues shortly after HMS Warrior arrived in Hartlepool to undergo restoration.

He dealt with many major media-related issues including the Ghost Ships, Tall Ships Races, Olympic Torch relay and the election of the monkey-mayor Stuart Drummond in 2002.

Alastair, who worked under six chief executive’s plus a Labour administration, Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition and independent directly-elected mayor, said: “It’s been an absolute privilege to serve my local council for the last 38 years and I leave with many fond memories.

“During my career there have been many exciting developments in Hartlepool and I think I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to play a part in the positive progression of the town.

“I’ve worked with many wonderful people - both within and outside of the council – and wouldn’t have swapped it for anything.

“I am now looking forward to relaxing a bit more and spending more time with my family.”

He cited his involvement in The Tall Ships Races 2010 as his biggest achievement which resulted in an estimated one million visitors descending on the town.

The Media Centre he set up hosted 80 journalists from 18 different countries which resulted in Hartlepool receiving an estimated £3.2m in media coverage worlwide.

Gill Alexander, council chief executive, said: “Alastair is highly respected throughout the organisation and he can be very proud of his achievements during his long council career.

“He was a very loyal and hard-working officer of the council and we all wish him the very best in his retirement.”