Our Sav-a-go hero

World champion Savannah Marshall
World champion Savannah Marshall

WELL done Savannah!

The whole of Hartlepool is immensely proud of our newest world champion.

Savannah Marshall made headlines around the globe at the weekend after she became the women’s middleweight boxing world champion in China.

Not only that, she well and truly cemented her place in Team GB for the London Olympics in a couple of months’ time.

She joins Jemma Lowe to become the second person from Hartlepool to achieve the ultimate honour of representing their country on the world’s biggest stage and they thoroughly deserve all the plaudits that will go with it.

I’m sure every Hartlepudlian will be glued to the television during the Olympics and cheering on our elite athletes until we are hoarse.

Savannah and Jemma will go down in the town’s history for their achievements so far, and will go into battle with the best wishes and support of every single one of us.

Maybe, just maybe, they can both bring us back a medal.

Good luck girls, Hartlepool is proud of you both!

Back to more mundane matters, and since the recent council elections I’ve been busy putting together my cabinet for the forthcoming municipal year.

As was correctly reported in the Mail, I wrote to all the returning and newly elected councillors asking them if they would be interested in being part of the cabinet and I think it’s fair to say that the responses were few and far between.

I even offered the opportunity to the largest political group to put some names forward that they could support on the cabinet but, sadly, nothing was forthcoming.

Not to worry. It has given me the opportunity to create a small but really strong team of independent councillors who do not have to worry about becoming embroiled in party politics when it comes to Cabinet business.

Councillor Cath Hill will continue in her 11th year in the cabinet and hold the portfolio for children and community services.

She has extensively covered both areas of work over recent years and her experience will be invaluable to the team.

Welcome back to the cabinet to Councillor John Lauderdale who will take the portfolio for Adult Services and Public Health.

John previously served on the cabinet for four years so he knows what it is all about and will also bring a wealth of experience as a long serving councillor.

I’m delighted to welcome councillor Paul Thompson onto the team.

Paul has been on the council for only a year but I’ve been extremely impressed with his contribution to date.

Paul has a passion for young people, as do all of the cabinet members, and is very well respected in the community.

He will take the cinance and corporate services portfolio.

I’ll be taking the regeneration and neighbourhoods portfolio, virtually all of which I have previously presided over in years gone by.

It includes areas such as community safety, housing, regeneration and planning, as well as the direct services delivered in neighbourhoods.

I believe I have an incredibly strong cabinet for the tough year ahead and we are all really excited facing up to the challenges that lie in wait.

I’m also going to be doing something a little differently this year, and I’m currently in the process of setting up a community advisory panel which will effectively be an extension of the cabinet, made up from a small number of people with specific areas of expertise.

They will assist, advise and support the cabinet in our decision making and work in general.

They’ll all be non-political and come from very different parts of the community.

I strongly believe that this model will bring the cabinet decision making even closer to the public and the added independent viewpoint will result in better decisions.

I’m currently finalising the arrangements for this panel and I’ll be able to give more details next week.

A lot has happened in the last two or three months within the council.

There have been boundary changes, changes in personnel and of course the shenanigans over the budget.

All that has passed now and it does not change the fact that we still have some huge savings to make which will inevitably mean more cuts.

Let’s hope everyone can put the past behind them and all start pulling in the same direction to support the cabinet in facing up to the financial situation that we face.

After all, didn’t someone say we are all in this together?