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Tees Valley Dinner Success


Tees Valley businesses heard praise for region

Over 220 leading Tees Valley business figures heard Darlington-born TV wine expert Olly Smith extol the virtues of the region last night (Thursday).

Speaking at the North East England Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Tees Valley Dinner, he said how proud he was to come from County Durham and to have grown up in such a warm community in Witton le Wear.

He said: “This region is one of the best places in the country and a perfect example of the Chamber’s guiding statement that together you grow stronger.I have been so impressed by the passion and commitment to success I have heard from the guests here.”

The Saturday Kitchen regular, who has been on the show for over 12 years, recounted tales from his career which included guessing the year and label of a champagne in a blind tasting, at a venue halfway up the Eiffel tower.He won, against the world’s leading wine experts, as he recognised the venue from a James Bond venue and correctly named the champagne as one the special agent had ordered.

His wine tips for guests included buying what you like at a price you can afford and if you wanted to match wine to food, pick out the strongest flavour on your plate.He also said the quality of a wine can be spotted by the length of time the flavour stays in your mouth.

Also speaking at the evening John McCabe, Chamber President said: “From banking crisis to Brexit uncertainty has become the new certainty but thanks to our resilience and ingenuity, the Tees Valley’s economy is strong and its prospects are bright.

“The North East is historically a humble region and we don’t always shout loudly enough about our achievements. I believe the Chamber can play an important role in creating a platform to help us promote all the great things that are happening here and also encourage more businesses to trade locally with each other.”

The event was sponsored by the Northern Skills Group and its chief executive and principal Zoe Lewis highlighted the success of her organisation at tackling Tees Valley’s skills shortages.She set out what they have achieved over the last five years - including growing STEM provision, increasing apprenticeship numbers from 100 to almost 3000 and improving job outcomes year on year. She also set out their vision for more flexible and affordable higher education - and committed to listening to employers’ views on this subject at a forthcoming industrial summit.

Durham Tees Valley Airport sponsored the dinner’s drinks reception.