New Lord Mayor of Newcastle chooses CAFOD

CAFOD is one of three organisations to be nominated as official charities for 2011-2012 by the new Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne, Councillor Geoff O’Brien.

And to launch their involvement with the Lord Mayor, CAFOD is holding a charity dinner at the Mansion House, Jesmond, on September 19, at 6.30pm, with the Lord Mayor and with special guest speaker, Desire Tchato – CAFOD Representative in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. There will also be music from the cross-cultural band Crossings and a charity raffle. Tickets cost £35 or £325 for a table of ten and include a three-course dinner and a complementary drink. All proceeds go to CAFOD projects in the developing world.

For more information, to buy tickets or donate raffle prizes, please contact CAFOD Hexham & Newcastle on 0191 384 4847 or .

CAFOD Diocesan Manager Anne-Marie Hanlon said: “We were quite stunned when we heard that the Lord Mayor wanted CAFOD to be one of his charities, but it is an honour and a pleasure to accept. It is a great chance for us to raise awareness about the work CAFOD does in more than 50 countries around the world, and an opportunity to raise much needed funds especially in this time of global recession when the poor are hardest hit.”

The charity dinner takes place the day after the Great North Run and Councillor O’Brien has entered both the Great North Run and completed the Blaydon Race on behalf of his charities. He has invited CAFOD volunteer John McBride to join his Lord Mayor’s team in the Great North Run this year. John has run the last mile of the last three Great North Runs barefoot to raise money for CAFOD and awareness of those in the Third World who can’t afford shoes of any kind.

As well as the fundraising dinner on September 19, CAFOD is planning a number of events during Councillor O’Brien’s tenure. These include a ceilidh at Gosforth Civic Hall on October 29, and ‘The Big Soup’, a hunger lunch at Newcastle Civic Centre on CAFOD Family Fast Day, March 2, 2012.

CAFOD will also be taking part in the Lord Mayor’s Charity Dinner on December 3 and his Christmas Carol Service at St Nicholas’ Cathedral on December 9, along with his other nominated charities – NSPCC and Islamic Relief.

According to Newcastle City Council, the Lord Mayor of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne is the first citizen of the City and speaks as such on behalf of the area and its community. Within the City boundaries only the monarch and in certain circumstances, the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, take precedence over the Lord Mayor.

As First Citizen, the Lord Mayor offers an official welcome to visitors to the City hosting Civic Receptions and other functions. The Lord Mayor’s Piper and the Lord Mayor’s Harpist may be invited to play on certain occasions. It is also the Lord Mayor’s duty to reply to a Toast to the City.

The Lord Mayor may also be required to visit the city’s twinned towns and to receive official visitors from them. Newcastle’s twin towns are: Atlanta, USA; Bergen, Norway; Gelsenkirchen, Germany; Groningen, Holland; Haifa, Israel; Nancy, France; Newcastle, Australia; and the city also has a Friendship Agreement with Little Rock, USA.

Geoff O’Brien was born in Newcastle in 1952. He went to school in Washington and college in Durham and took a degree in engineering at Newcastle Polytechnic. He then spent almost 20 years working overseas in the oil and gas exploration industry. Geoff returned to Newcastle in the late 1980s and took an MBA at Durham University Business School. At this time he met and married Siobhan and they have four daughters, Colleen, Kate, Siobhan and Roisin.

Geoff was elected to the city council in 1992. In 2009 Geoff became a Director of Newcastle NE1 Limited, a not-for-profit company established following the successful Newcastle BIDs (Business Improvement Districts). Geoff is a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University in the field of sustainable development and climate change. He completed his Doctorate in 2008 and has published two books and a range of articles in these areas.

For more information contact Ged Naughton or Anne-Marie Hanlon at the CAFOD Hexham & Newcastle office on or 0191 384 4847

More information on the band Crossings at


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