Morpeth's Mayor hosts first civic visit

MORPETH'S new Mayor Ken Brown has welcomed his first civic visitors to the Town Hall.

About 50 guests from Gerlingen in Germany were invited for lunch at the Town Council headquarters as they enjoyed a day trip to Northumberland.

The tourists, who were staying in Seaham as part of a town twinning scheme, were brought to the County to sample the delights of Cragside and Woodhorn, pausing for lunch at Morpeth in between.

Coun Brown told his guests: "From the beginning of this month the Town Council has provided the Mayor for Morpeth and this is our first civic function.

"We are very nervous about it, but equally excited and we welcome you all.

"I think the fact that you are our first visitors makes this even more special for us."

The group was welcomed into the Mayor's Parlour and encouraged to view the civic treasures, before having lunch in the Ballroom.

Gerlingen representative Petra Bischoff, who is a senior politician in the town, said: "We have enjoyed our visit very well.

"The best part for us was seeing the beautiful landscape. When you are sitting high up in a bus you can see all these things.

"The people here are very welcoming and we have visited Seaham many times so we have good friends in the area now."

The German visitors included politicians, Council workers, host families and representatives from charities and community groups, such as sports clubs and churches.

Gerlingen Mayoress Margit Brenner said: "It is nice to show us the Town Council. Every time we visit Seaham and the area we enjoy it very much."

Seaham Parks Manager Mike Preston, who was leading the day trip, said the twinning scheme is working well.

"It involves good working together between communities and has been successful for many years. We have just established this year links between our fire brigades and we are building up links with young people," he said

"When the guests are here we organise a series of visits to show them other places around the area. It is a long time since we have been up this way, we normally go around County Durham, but we have had an excellent time in Northumberland."