maelor largeA community is set to pay tribute to former councillor Maelor Williams with the unveiling of two portraits ahead of the renaming of a wood in his honour.

The paintings of Maelor, who represented Stainton and Thornton on Middlesbrough Council until his death last year, have been created by a local art group and will be displayed in Stainton Memorial Hall.

A celebration of the former councillor’s life will be held at the hall to coincide with the unveiling of the portraits and to announce additional improvements to the woodland that is being renamed from Stainton Wood to Maelor’s Wood.

The proposal was put forward by the parish and community councils of Stainton and Thornton in recognition of Cllr Williams’ leading role in the planting of the wood in the late 1990s.

To coincide with the renaming, a number of additions are being introduced to the wood to make it an even more enjoyable experience for visitors.

The site has been chosen as one of 20 to receive Heritage Lottery funding via a project by Tees Valley Wildlife Trust to develop wild green spaces throughout the Tees Valley. A further grant has also been received from the

Bags of Help scheme run by Tesco and managed by Groundworks North East.

The aim is to install a brass rubbing nature trail through the wood for children to follow and artist Steve Iredale has been commissioned to install chainsaw- carved wooden sculptures. Information boards will also be placed at each entrance to Maelor’s Wood.

Alan Liddle, Chairman of Stainton & Thornton Parish Council and The Friends of Stainton & Thornton Green Spaces, said: “I think it’s a fitting memorial to a true gentleman that really cared about the area in which he served as councillor.”

Middlesbrough Council agreed to the renaming of the wood at a meeting of full council last month. The suggestion was welcomed by Middlesbrough

Mayor Dave Budd, who described Maelor as a “true gentleman, well liked and respected by anyone who met him and much missed by all in the Council and by those in the Stainton and Thornton ward.”