In addition to the Oz Tour, disappointing to report but right nonetheless.

Since returning from Australia in December, I have made repeated courteous requests by email, phone and in writing to briefly meet Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon and present gifts that I recieved for him at the Lord Mayor's office in Sydney (as pictured above, a 'City of Sydney ' ornamental piece and the City Council's official book of Sydney history). Bizarrely, Mr. Mallon wouldn't meet me.

I was told in December by Mr. Mallon's office that there was no space in his diary and would I present them to his colleague Coun. Budd instead. I declined as Sydney had presented me with the gifts specifically for "Ray Mallon, Mayor of Middlesbrough". I offered to wait until there was a space in the New Year. Around a month later, I called the office and then sent a letter (see below) directly to Ray Mallon. His P.A. called and reiterated that the mayor had passed the matter onto Coun. Budd and that was that.

I was stunned to hear this as Mr. Mallon is so big on "ambassadorship" and had supported the project with a grant. Many people think I did a pretty good job flying the flag in one of the world's greatest cities and one that just so happens to have a unique link with Middlesbrough in the world famous bridge. Surely, if not interested in asking how it went, it would be common courtesy to spare 10 minutes to recieve the gifts???

On March 20th, I decided to fulfill my obligations to Sydney and deliver them with another letter (see below) to Middlesbrough Town Hall reception.

After 3 months, I have had no reply whatsoever from Mr. Mallon or his office. As relations had been positive and as someone who has been a voter and a supporter of Mr. Mallon, I find this very disappointing.

CH 25/06/06

For the full Oz Tour story and pictures click here