Believe in Dreams

THERE’S such a lot of talent and potential in our town, and it’s great to see people wish to push themselves forward, and other people willing to challenge, help, support and motivate them to achieve their potential.

On Friday evening I was privileged to be able to attend two fantastic events which showcased some of the talent on offer in Hartlepool.

It was Adult Learners’ Week last week, and on Friday there was a celebration in the Borough Hall. I was honoured to be able to hand out certificates to those learners who had worked hard and succeeded.

Some of the stories I heard on Friday about overcoming barriers, bad news or doubts about their abilities to achieve and succeed were truly fantastic.

Manor Residents Association and Councillor Angie Wilcox, the new councillor for the Owton Ward, had worked incredibly hard with Hartlepool Borough Council for the event.

I enjoyed speaking with everybody, but was particularly taken with Eva Shipley.

I hope Eva doesn’t mind me mentioning her age, but she is 80 and, despite being originally scared of computers is now downloading and emailing better than people half her age. It was a delight to meet her and other winners.

What was also good to hear was how many adult learners, after achieving their qualification, were keen to give something back to their local community by becoming teachers or mentors themselves.

Success can breed success, and it was fantastic to celebrate such success in Hartlepool.

After the Borough Hall it was a jaunt to the Corporation Club in Whitby Street, where the Red Dreams Charity was hosting its annual awards.

Red Dreams was set up under tragic and harrowing circumstances, when Dawn and Ian McManus lost their talented son Kyle to a brain haemorrhage at the age of only 16.

Dawn and Ian, as well as Peter Davies, have turned Red Dreams into an exciting and professional forum for artists of all types – musicians, songwriters, photographers and filmmakers to showcase their talents.

I had been a judge for some of the categories in the awards, and I have to say that the quality of talent and creativity is truly and genuinely astonishing.

I would recommend people to listen to some of the Red Dreams artists – for an old indie kid like me, Up! Down! Strange!, Hand of Aces and Lost State of Dance are great, as is We Are The People and Coalition, although I’m not so happy on that last name, as it reminds me of something else! I’d also recommend listening to Chloe Gibson, Anthony Clark and Nick Dixon.

On the night I presented the Hall of Fame Award for the Solo Artist, and I was delighted that Ellie Liston won it. Ellie has a real talent with that indefinable star quality and I was really impressed, when I was judging, with her rendition of “Upside Down” by Paloma Faith.

For a relatively small town Hartlepool has a huge mine of creative talent to be tapped.

The Mail’s Tracy Walker, who presented a couple of awards, said on the night that very often young people get a bad press for being lazy or violent, but the Red Dreams awards showed the better argument – how many of the town’s young people are genuinely talented and show real creativity.

For both Adult Learner’s Celebration and the Red Dreams event it shows what enormous potential and talent there is in Hartlepool. We should celebrate that a bit more.