Prime Minister Tony Blair paid a visit to the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette during his trip to Teeside.
The PM travelled to the Gazette’s Borough Road offices with his wife, Cherie, to officially launch the paper’s newly refurbished Gazette Media Centre.
During his visit Mr Blair toured the centre and took time to speak to speak to school pupils who were working to produce their own newspaper.
He also congratulated everyone involved in the centre, and singled out manager Victoria Coulson for special praise.
He said: “As some of the old industries have gone, it’s important to re-skill people and develop a whole new generation of people with new skills.
“Congratulations to all of you. I think it’s a fantastic effort on behalf of the paper and the company.”
Mr Blair then unveiled a plaque to mark his visit to open the centre, and added his name to the visitor’s guestbook before he left.
Gazette Media Company managing director Alastair MacColl said: “We’re delighted to receive the support of the Prime Minister for such an important initiative.”
Since opening in 1997, the Media Centre has gone from strength to strength, offering IT training to people of all ages. Courses include ‘silver surfers’ internet training for the over 50s, ‘summer newshounds’ one day sessions for young reporters, and word processing and spreadsheet training.
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