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Helen Lyne's Spring Presidential Diary

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My blog has been quiet for the past month or so, mainly because all my efforts have been focused at organising the Tees Valley Law Society Annual Dinner which took place on Friday 4th March.

The night was a massive success and seemed to be enjoyed by all in attendance. It began with welcome drinks kindly provided by Amicus Chambers. We were joined by a number of prestigious guests, including Angela Foster, Co-Chair of the Teesside Society of Chartered Accountants, Graham Barr, President of the Insurance Institute of Middlesbrough, David Sherwood-Smith President of the Sunderland Law Society, Paul Crawshaw, Dean of Teesside University and Mark Harrison, President of the Newcastle Law Society to name but a few! Guests also included a number of local Judges and many other notable names in the legal community.

The evening was held in aid of the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation which is an extremely worthy cause. I can say this having seen at first hand the fantastic work they do in our local community. Andy Preston, founder and chair  said a few words about why the charity was set up and the kind of things they use their funds for. I am pleased to say that by the end of the night we raised over £4,400 in aid of the charity. 

This is the largest amount ever raised at our annual dinner and is something we could not have achieved without the help of our sponsors, including Begbies Traynor and Psyche who kindly donated prizes to a silent auction which seemed to attract a lot of interest. I must therefore extend a huge thank you to them as well as Barclays who provided matched funding! I recently attended the charity’s ladies lunch in which I presented them with a ‘giant’ cheque. 

I was also suitably embarrassed when Andy Preston gave me a mention and thanked me for my fund raising efforts. Joking aside, I was very overwhelmed but proud to have helped this wonderful cause make a little difference to the lives of so many people in Teesside and so many other charitable organisations who rely on their support.

As celebrations got underway at the dinner, we showed our thanks to a few long standing local practitioners who are retiring this year. Notably, Martin Levinson from Tilly Bailey & Irvine who has dedicated a huge 41 years service to the profession and Peter Walker of Punch Robson who has been practising for 46 years. I would like to take this opportunity to offer them both a further congratulations on their upcoming retirement. We were also entertained with a roaringly, funny stand up routine by Paul Boardman.

The evening would not have been such a success without the help from a few people.  I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank Jurys and Nicola Neilson from Latimer Hinks for helping us organise the event.  I would also like to thank Mandy and Diane from the charity for helping me co-ordinate prizes and our sponsors, Northumbrian Water Property Solutions, who without, the event would certainly not be possible.

I have selected a few of my favourite ‘selfies’ throughout from the evening which really sum up what a great night it was!