Today I opened the second of Labour's campaign centres in Oxbridge to support my battle to become the next Labour MP for Stockton South.
I was delighted to be joined by Peter Hain MP, Chi Onwura MP, Kevan Jones MP, CWU, Unison and members of my excellent campaign team.
Oxbridge is the place where I began my journey in the Labour Party 23 years ago so opening the campaign centre here was particularly special.
I lived and worked there for nearly ten years. An old Labour Party leaflet has been dug out of the archives where I was the editor 20 years ago calling for improvements to Oxbridge Juniors amongst other things. I will be putting it on the wall with some old photographs if local people would like to pop in to say hello and have a look.
In March 1992 I decided to join the local Labour Party because I really wanted to improve living conditions for people like my neighbours in Oxbridge or Westbury Street in Thornaby where I had moved from. I found myself on the doorstep of Eileen Johnson, local volunteer ward organiser who quickly had me out delivering leaflets. Eileen was right there with me today.
I was delighted that Peter Hain joined us to open the campaign centre. Peter is a life-long campaigner for social justice so was the ideal person to cut the ribbon.
He spoke about why the communities of Stockton South need a Labour MP and a Labour government and challenged the great Tory deceit that Labour not the global banking crisis triggered higher public spending, borrowing, and debt.
We then headed out on #labourdoorstep in Bishopsgarth and Elm Tree with our hard working candidates Lisa Grainge and Dan Johnson.
Whilst Kevan Jones MP and Cllr Mohammed Javed led another team speaking to residents in Parkfield and Oxbridge.
Last weekend I opened our campaign centre on Allensway in Thornaby Town Centre.
As a married student I lived on Camelon Street and my first job was at CEC TIME Ltd on Teesside Industrial Estate. I also did the books at Teesside Service Station on Thornaby Road for a number of years. Worry for residents on the Jewels estate who my mother worked with and who were living in abject poverty played a big part in motivating me to get involved with politics.
It is important to me to have a campaign centre both north and south of the river so that we are in easy reach. I look forward to welcoming lots of local people in for a cup of tea and a chat.