A Ponteland man has received a prestigious accolade in recognition of his involvement in some important initiatives and activities.
At the annual meeting of local government electors, Ponteland Town Council gave Gordon Allan its Meritorious Service Award.
He and other members of the family set-up the Sally Allan Fund in order to raise mental health awareness and improve North East mental health. Sally, Gordon’s wife, took her own life on Boxing Day 2015.
To date, more than £35,000 has been raised. This enables Tyneside and Northumberland Mind to deliver a free one-hour mental health awareness presentation to businesses, public sector bodies, charities and local community groups.
A total of £3,500 from Gordon doing a triathlon in the local area in June 2018, with support from Ponteland Tri Club, went towards this and the Sally Allan Fund was the charity that received money donated at the club’s Sprint Triathlon event a month later.
Gordon had the initial idea for and helped to establish the Being Active Matters project that is starting off in north and west areas of Northumberland.
It links sport and health organisations, with volunteers – individuals and those who are a member of a sports club – being a ‘buddy’ for someone who wants to become more physically active in order to improve their mental well-being.
He is also involved with the new free health walks that start in Ponteland next week (see story below for more information).
Gordon, whose other community role is chairman of Ponteland Medical Group’s patient participation group, said: “It’s a great honour to receive this award.
“I know many of the past winners and it’s humbling to be included with them.
“It’s also encouraging that the council recognises the work I’ve done, as well as the efforts of my family and friends and the wider Ponteland community, on mental health.
“The Mind presentation is now well-established and it has been delivered to more than 1,000 people in the last 12 months – most of them took place in Northumberland.
“As for Being Active Matters, the first batch of a dozen volunteers have been trained, so it’s moving forward to the delivery phase.
“I do like to think that mental health is talked about in Ponteland more than it was a few years ago.
“However, there is still work to do as we look to remove the stigma of mental health wherever we can.”
At the same meeting, Ponteland Mayor Alan Varley introduced the annual report for 2018/19. It includes the following: ‘The schools and leisure complex project is now under way and the development of the former Northumbria Police HQ site for housing is also proceeding.
‘These developments will have an effect on the traffic in Ponteland and it will not be favourable at certain times of the day.
‘Please be aware of this and I would like to encourage you all to think about whether your car journey is really necessary.’