In writing my column this week I want to thank each and everyone of you for putting your faith in me over what has been a tumultuous year in British politics.
It is a truly fantastic honour to represent you in Parliament and I will strive to do my utmost to look after your interests and to continue to promote the town and the constituency in 2019.
On Remembrance Sunday I made a deliberate point of travelling throughout the whole of the constituency as people everywhere marked the centenary of the ending of the First World War.
I did so deliberately because the people of Greatham, Dalton Piercey, Elwick, Seaton Carew, the Headland and Wynyard are all part of the Hartlepool family.
Of course there are distinctions and differences, cultural and otherwise but the one common denominator is we are all proud of this wonderful place called Hartlepool.
Just before Christmas I was interviewed by the extremely down to earth BBC Tees presenter Garry Phillipson. Gary tells it like it is and has a great passion for the North East. We were talking about the recent media interest in the town – the BBC expose of plice numbers, another BBC piece on Universal Credit and recent filming on the same subject by Channel 4 to be screened in January.
We both agreed that they were attracted by negative statistics but, as I told Gary, they also come here because of the openness of the people; their friendly nature and the beauty of the town in areas like the Historic Quay and the Marina for filming purposes.
That is not a throw away observation. It is true. The media simply love coming to Hartlepool, but as Gary remarked, why aren’t they doing so for the right reasons and what should they be doing to promote the place?
He was right. Hartlepool is an amazing place, steeped in history and tradition and they know it.
In the new year it is incumbent on all of us to make sure they come for the right reasons because we are a place with real prospects, uniquely placed to foster new industries like Carbon Capture and Storage, Wind Technologies and New Nuclear. A great place to visit, full of life, creativity and one that is culturally rich. Like the Trincomalee standing proud and bold, we will shine and we will be a beacon to others.
I am determined, as every politician should be, to lift the veil of negativity and continue to roll up my sleeves and get things done.
We have more things going for us than folk give us credit for, we just need to get it right, listen to the people and deliver on their aspirations, hopes and expectations; with just 85 days before we exit the EU that fighting spirit will be needed more than ever.
I wish everybody all the best for 2019 and I look forward to continuing the fight to regenerate our hospital, our town, our local economy and make Hartlepool THE place to be, to invest in and to visit.