Business leaders including Psyche boss Steve Cochrane and Wilton owner Bill Scott have agreed to join a panel of local people to advise prospective independent Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston, should he win the forthcoming election.
Renowned heart consultant Dr Adrian Davies, Olympian Chris Tomlinson and Middlesbrough Disabled Supporters Association chairman Paddy Cronesberry MBE are also among a list of local experts that will form the panel.
Independent candidate Mr Preston says his advisory panel would offer expert advice on key areas for the town including health, education, business, retail, faith, diversity, sport, heritage, senior citizens and refugees.
Pictured (above) is independent Middlesbrough mayoral candidate Andy Preston with some of the experts who would form his mayoral advisory panel if he wins the election on May 7 (from left): are Les Fawcett, Masimba Muzodza, Cath McNicol, Fr Paul Farrer, Mike Maguire and Chris Tomlinson.
Mr Preston, who is founder-chairman of charities Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and CEO Sleepout, said: “Middlesbrough has so much talent out there that the town isn’t currently tapping into.
“With respect to many of the politicians, there are more brains out there in the businesses, schools, and charities than there is in the town hall.
“My idea of the mayoral advisory panel is about getting that ability and talent into the town hall, via a panel of experts who can provide experts input into decisions and plans that will impact the future prosperity of the town.
“What’s fantastic is that so many busy but brilliant local people have volunteered to give some of their precious time for the benefit of the town.
“I won’t focus on any one person because all of them are recognised experts in their field, who at no cost to the public will help the town move forward.
Mr Preston added: “it’s important to emphasise that the people aren’t necessarily supporters of my campaign to become mayor. They just want to help Middlesbrough improve and prosper.”
Those who have so far confirmed they would be part of Mr Preston’s Mayoral Advisory Panel should he be elected are:
• Dr Adrian Davies (Health Advisor) – retired from his role as consultant cardiologist at James Cook University Hospital in 2011 after influential career when he was started up the hospital’s pioneering cardiology centre. He now chairs the charity, South Cleveland Heart Fund.
• Mike Maguire (Health) – MD of Marton Pharmacy, multi award-winning pharmacist Michael is a former UK Community Pharmacist of the Year who has worked to transform the health and wellbeing of his community.
• Chris Tomlinson (Sport) – a former UK long-jump record holder, Middlesbrough-born Chris is aiming to compete at a fourth successive Olympics in 2016. Now boosting the town’s fitness levels through a weekly boot camp.
• Bill Scott (Business) – Middlesbrough-born CEO of the Wilton Group and former North-East Business Executive of the Year.
• Steve Cochrane (Retail) – managing director of multi award-winning Middlesbrough store Psyche.
• Yasmin Khan (Diversity and housing) – a former Middlesbrough Citizen of the Year, Yasmin is founder and chief executive of influential national charity Halo, campaigning against honour violence and forced marriage.
• Katrina Morley (education) – Head of Pennyman Primary Academy in Netherfields, rated Outstanding by Ofsted.
• Fr Paul Farrer (Faith) – vocations director and youth chaplain for the Middlesbrough Diocese of the Catholic Church, stretching from Teesside as far south as Hull.
• Wajid Malik – Middlesbrough-born imam for the town’s central mosque, who speaks four languages.
• Paddy Cronesberry MBE (Disability & Inclusion) – chairman of Boro fan group, Middlesbrough Disabled Supporters Association.
• Scarlet Pink (Heritage and green spaces) – passionate green campaigner and leader of local group Hands on Middlesbrough.
• Cath McNichol (Sport & inclusion) – coach and club secretary of Middlesbrough Powerchair Football Club and player rep of the national Wheelchair Football Association.
• Les Fawcett MBE (Senior Citizens) – chairman of Middlesbrough Senior Citizens Forum.
• Masimba Muzodza (Asylum seekers) – an asylum seeker from Zimbabwe, adopted Teessider Masimba is a writer who studies at Teesside University.