A FORMER MP with experience in North-East industry has joined the board of his local racecourse.

Ian Swales has spoken of his pride and excitement at becoming a director of Redcar Racecourse, having served the town as MP between 2010 and 2015.

Mr Swales is originally from Leeds but moved to Redcar in 1978 to work in finance and business development for ICI.

He said: “When I became MP, my first staff Christmas do was at the racecourse and I’ve been a regular visitor over the years. I got to know the directors and I didn’t hesitate when I was asked to join the board.

“The racecourse is so important to the local community, it’s the green lungs of the town, and brings so many people in from elsewhere. I want to play my full part in helping it prosper.

“Apart from the obvious attractions of racedays, the local community shouldn’t underestimate the facilities at the racecourse and make use of them all year round.”

Mr Swales, a qualified accountant, has experience at board level within ICI and, after retiring as MP, served for three years as non-executive chairman of the North East Process Industry Cluster. He is also a director of Sirius Minerals Foundation Ltd, and chair of the children’s mental health charity, The Link Tees Valley Ltd.

Redcar racecourse chairman John Sanderson said: “Ian brings invaluable experience and connections from his time as Redcar’s MP and working at a high level in local industry. He will add huge value to our board, and we are thrilled he has joined us.”