Meeting The Candidates For The UK Youth Parliament Elections at Grimsby Town Hall

It seems like barely a day goes by these days without a news story about bad things done by young people, so it’s refreshing to hear a good news story from time to time and when we received an invitation to go to Grimsby Town Hall to meet the candidates for the role of our area’s representative in the UK Youth Parliament and their deputies we jumped at the chance.

The UK Youth Parliament has more than 360 members, elected in annually throughout the UK. Any young person aged 11-18 can stand or vote. In the past two years one million young people have voted in UK Youth Parliament elections.

Once elected MYPs organise events and projects, run campaigns and influence decision makers on the issues which matter most to young people. All MYPs have the opportunity to meet once a year at the UK Youth Parliament Annual Sitting where members come together to take part in workshops, debate, create and change national manifesto policy, and network. It takes place on a university campus over three days. The event includes keynote speeches from political figures, followed by question and answer sessions.

In our area there are three teams, each made up of a candidate and a deputy, standing for election and they’ll be voted on by students at local schools and colleges. Our picture shows the candidates and deputies on the Town Hall staircase.

Each team has a set of issues on which they are campaigning including the incorporation of Curriculum For Life, (which involves life skills, finance and politics) into the schools’ syllabus, access to reasonably priced transport for young people, and issues related to body image.

According to Pippa Curtin, Voice and Influence Practitioner at the NELC Young People’s Support Service, “The UK Youth Parliament has been enabling young people to have their voices heard at a national level since 2000. It is an amazing opportunity for young people to engage in politics and democracy, whether they are standing to be elected or voting for the team they would like to represent young people. The team elected will start their 2 year term in March 2017 and will have the opportunity to represent young people from North East Lincolnshire through regional conventions an annual sitting an annual ballot on issues important to young people and debates held in the House of Commons every year.”

Regardless of which team wins the election we’d like to wish them all the best for the future and we’ve no doubt that, one way or another, they’re all headed for success. If you’d like to find out more about the United Kingdom Youth Parliament in North East Lincolnshire contact Pippa Curtin at

Animal Farm At The Caxtons

Down on the farm the animals are revolting. Mr Jones has been evicted and now spends in evenings in the Red Lion telling anyone who’ll listen that it’s not right. The pigs and sheep and cows and horses (especially the sheep) are singing as they work. Everything in the world is good.

But of course this is Animal Farm, as adapted by Sir Peter Hall from the novel by George Orwell. We all know that it’s going to go pear shaped.

It’s a brave endeavour, taking on a text so beloved by the great British public but under the direction of Gemma Dodds the Caxtons carry it off in style in this excellent new production.
Are there any other books that are held so high in popular esteem as Animal Farm? To Kill A Mockingbird perhaps and it’s no coincidence that both are stalwarts of the schools literature syllabus. For some of us these books represent our last tentative dabble in the margins of proper grown up fiction before we reached adulthood and discovered Harry Potter.

Remember sitting around discussing which of the animals represented particular individuals from the Russian Revolution? But just how much relevance to the world of today can an allegorical dissection of the failings of early twentirth century Russian communism still have?

The answer is much more than you might think. A sudden populist uprising. A leader whose appeal is based on his apparent lack of subtlety and anti-intellectualism. Established truths which change when you back is turned. As Marx himself once said “Who are you going to believe? Me or your eyes?”

Napoleon, leader of the pigs knows the power of fake news and bluster all too well. Give that pig a blonde wig and unusually small trotters and we could be on the Washington Mall for his inauguration while his fellow animals work themselves almost beyond endurance as they wait for Napoleon to make the farm so great again.

It’s a very strong production, with many of the parts taken by members of the Caxton Youth Theatre and all involved acquit themselves admirably. The three pigs are excellent; Shalei Cook’s Napoleon exudes real menace while Alice Gibbett as Squealer has the newspeak down to a tee. Stewart Dodds is a fine Boxer, imbued with the naive enthusiasm of Stakhanov and Denny from Please Sir and Mike Wilson, playing a variety of villagers, creates a series of memorable cameos without overshadowing the younger members of the cast.

The best moments of the evening come from the relationship between Clover the goat and Muriel the horse. I apologise for referring to them after the show as the cows. It was dark.Clever enough to see that things are going wrong but insufficiently strong to challenge the ascendancy of the pigs, their despair and sense of betrayal is ours too and Grace Halton and Lisa February bring exactly the right blend of anger and uncertainty to their parts, giving the play it’s moral centre.

Animal Farm is at the Caxton Theatre until Saturday 28th January and it’s well worth an evening’s worth of your time.


If you’d like to be part of a fantastic charity event over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday April 29th to Monday May 1st) you’ll be delighted to hear about The Mayor’s Charity Challenge which was announced this week at the Town Hall and promises a weekend of exercise, fun and physical challenges, covering the whole borough from Immingham to Wold Newton and all points between.

Plans for the challenge were outlined by the Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Christina McGilligan-Fell, at the Town Hall on Monday afternoon, (9th January 2017), and it certainly looks like being a terrific programme.

Setting out from the Meridian marker in Cleethorpes, the Mayor will cycle the length and breadth of the borough, accompanied by a team of helpers and performing challenges along the way. Challenges will be set by local individuals and businesses and if you’ve got any ideas then the organisers would love to hear from you.

Along the way there’ll be plenty of opportunities to raise money for vital local charities, including the Nidd Diabetes Fund (established in memory of local jeweller John Nidd) and the Cat Zero programme, as well as raising awareness of the important issues surrounding both causes and, of course, the health and lifestyle benefits of cycling.

ges, accompanied by their new mascot, Scrubs the Bear.

There’ll also be a Go Ride session for kids at St Hugh’s Hospital and a young people’s biathlon at St James School, and additionally community groups along the route are being encouraged to organise events to celebrate the weekend, including offering refreshments or setting challenges for the Mayor and her team to complete.

Speaking at the launch the head of St James’ School, Dr John Price said that North East Lincolnshire is a fantastic area for cycling and running and that the event will help raise awareness of the joys of cycling on the Wolds and bring people into the area.

The event has a fundraising target of at least £10,000 and the Mayor explained the importance of the two charities which are close to her heart.

“I feel that we have a responsibility to do more”, she said. “I want this event to help bring the community together and to be a success for everyone. I would like it to be a part of the legacy of my year as Mayor”.

If you’d like to get involved with the Mayor’s Charity Challenge contact Grimsby Town Hall or phone 01472 324109.

Olly Murs On The Way To Market Rasen

There was a time, not so long ago, when the only time major music artists ever came to these parts was if they’d been blown off course by bad weather while migrating between warmer climates but nowadays the great Lincolnshire pop music drought seems to have come to an end.

In the last couple of years we’ve had visits from Sir Elton John at the Lincolnshire Showground, Tom Jones and Jess Glynne at Market Rasen Racecourse, Example and Simple Minds at Grimsby Auditorium.

It’s not stopping there however and we’ve got plenty to look forward to in 2017 including Sir Cliff Richard at Lincoln Castle in June and everybody’s favourite heart beat skipping X-Factor winner Olly Murs who will play a purpose built arena at Market Rasen Racecourse on June 2nd.

Olly has had a great 2016 and his fourth successive No.1 Album – 24 HRS – has made him officially the most successful solo artist ever to come from the X Factor. New single Years And Years is the album’s centre piece; an expansive, explosive, spine tingling belter and follows the radio favourites You Don’t Know Love and Grow Up which Olly recently performed on the X Factor.

Tickets are on sale and you can book and get more information at

Should be a fantastic night to remember. We’ll see you there!