Charities speak of delight

CHARITY: Ceremonial mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher pictured with the chosen charities for the 2014-15 municipal year.
CHARITY: Ceremonial mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher pictured with the chosen charities for the 2014-15 municipal year.

CHARITY chiefs have spoken of their delight after being selected by Hartlepool’s ceremonial mayor to be the next group of good causes he supports.

Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher has chosen Hartlepool RNLI, town-based Miles for Men, Hartlepool & District Hospice and the Great North Air Ambulance to benefit from his fundraising activities over the next 12-months.

Representatives of those charities say they are delighted to be chosen and look forward to working with the town’s ceremonial mayor who has raised a total of £83,000 over the past two years.

Sandra Britten, deputy chief executive at Hartlepool & District Hospice, said: “The mayor has been a fantastic support to the hospice and we are very grateful for his continued support.”

Michael Day, founder of Miles for Men which raises money for Cancer Research UK, said: “We are delighted to have the support of the town’s ceremonial mayor and this is another step forward for the charity.

“We are looking forward to working with him and I have already met him to discuss some fundraising ideas and he gave us some as well.”

Mike Craddy, lifeboat operations manager at Hartlepool RNLI, added: “It is fantastic news.

“We have always had a lot of support from people in this town and the mayor has been a big supporter as well in the past and we are looking forward to that continuing.”

Last year Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, who was re-elected as ceremonial mayor at last week’s annual council meeting, raised £43,000 - topping the civic record of £40,000 which he set the year before.

It meant his three chosen charities for 2013-14 Macmillan Cancer Support, the Pansies Breast Cancer Support Group and the Denise Taylor Cancer Trust all received £11,000, as reported in the Mail.

The final amount also meant Coun Akers-Belcher was able to share the remaining £10,000 between two more good causes - Hartlepool & District Hospice which helped pay towards a new sensory garden, and the Teenage Cancer Trust at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Sandra Britten added: “The money towards the sensory garden has made a huge difference to people.”

Coun Akers-Belcher confirmed at last week’s annual council meeting that this would be his third and final year as ceremonial mayor.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “To have raised £83,000 over the last two years is just fantastic, it has been a team effort, and the charities have been overwhelmed with the support.”

It was also confirmed at that meeting that Labour councillor Mary Fleet would be the deputy ceremonial mayor after being voted in by town councillors.