Today was a special day, visiting my old school, Conyers in Yarm, as their very own parliamentary candidate. It's a dream that so many people have and I was privileged to experience it this afternoon.
The opportunity to potentially represent the pupils of Conyers with their teachers, governors and parents was one of the major factors that helped me to decide to stand as the Labour Party's Parliamentary Candidate.
I agreed the visit with the head of sixth form Mr Webster weeks ago but it was only at the last minute that I was able to confirm that I would be bringing Ed Balls with me; Labour's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Ed and I were very keen to meet the five candidates fighting their own mock election on polling day. Liam Hough is of course the Labour candidate we are rooting for but the Question Time session showed us that the young people - Rachel Watson (Conservative), Joe Large (Lib Dem), Daniel Dalton (UKIP) and Erica Larry (Green) - have been working tremendously hard to get on top of their brief and handle all manner of political questions with skill and tremendous ability.
All five candidates did the school - and their parties - proud and if any of them choose to take up politics as a profession in the years to come they will be fantastic. They were better than some real life candidates I have seen over the years.
Ed took questions from the audience too and was very much at home, relaxed and engaging, both serious and funny as he handled some very thoughtful contributions.
We both enjoyed the visit very much and I really hope that I can indeed become the MP for Conyers so that I can build on the lovely relationship we have begun to develop today.
Good luck to Liam and all the candidates in the election; and good luck to all of the sixth formers as they begin their own paths into adulthood. I hope you enjoy your election as much as I am enjoying mine and that your future is as wide open as mine is too.