Hartlepool's former 'monkey mayor' raffling Land Rover Discovery to help pay for new life in Australia

Stuart Drummond – the man who made history by becoming Hartlepool’s first directly elected mayor – is preparing for a new life in Australia.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 4:45 am

Stuart made headlines around the world in 2002 when he was voted in as town mayor while acting as Hartlepool United’s monkey mascot H’Angus with the promise of free bananas for all children in town.

Now almost 20 years later he and his family are getting ready to leave the shores of Hartlepool in favour of Australia.

And he is raffling off his car to help towards the costs of the move which have increased because of Covid.

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Former Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond with the car he is raffling to help fund his family's move to Australia.

Explaining his decision to emigrate, Stuart said they are attracted by the lifestyle and climate Down Under.

He said: “It’s something we have wanted to do for six or seven years.

"We visited nearly three years ago and loved the place.

"It’s about giving our children some different opportunities and new experiences.”

Stuart as Hartlepool United mascot H'angus. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire.

The family, including wife Rebecca and children Spencer, 21, Harriet, 15 and 13-year-old Rosemary, have been granted visas.

But entry to Australia is currently closed to most arrivals due to Covid restrictions.

Stuart, 47, said they hope to emigrate in the spring, adding: “It’s been frustrating as it is a year since we got our visas.”

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Stuart was re-elected twice as Mayor of Hartlepool until he stood down after a change to the cabinet system in 2013.

And with the family facing quarantine costs of £2,000 each on top of the flights he has decided to sell his Land Rover Discovery Sport valued at £25,000.

He added: “These were things we hadn’t budgeted for. So I thought I’d do something a bit crazy and raffle my car to try to raise a bit of funds to cover some of the costs.”

Tickets for the raffle are £2 each and just over 2,000 out of 35,000 have been bought so far.

Stuart, who is manager of Hartlepool NDC Trust, which delivers community regeneration projects, said he is hopeful of working in the voluntary and community sector while Rebecca has been offered a job with an organisation that supports people with learning difficulties and autism.

Asked what he will miss about Hartlepool, the long-time Pools fan said: “Certainly the football, friends, family and I think the people in general.”

The raffle for the car closes on Saturday, November 27, or when the last ticket is sold.

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