Hello everyone,

WELCOME to my latest column for The Northern Echo, and we kick off with the biggest news there could possibly be in the whole universe.

Over the years, Sparta has had some big names on its list of clients – but they don’t come much bigger than Santa Claus!

Yes folks – and girls and boys – we are delighted to announce that Sparta has been signed up by the man himself to provide the security for The Polar Express this coming Christmas.

We first won the contract for The Polar Express, on The Wensleydale Railway, two years ago but lockdown meant it couldn’t happen in 2020.

However, tickets have just gone on sale for The Polar Express this year and PNP Events have booked us to not only look after the train and all the associated equipment when the movie magic comes back to the Yorkshire Dales for 2021, but while it’s in London and Devon too!

Obviously, this is a really prestigious contract that comes with a huge responsibility. After all, you don’t want anything to get in the way of festive fun, do you?

Therefore, we’d like to thank PNP (and Santa, of course) for putting their faith in us and it promises to be a memorable experience. Passengers join the steam train at Leeming Bar and then head to the North Pole. Along the way, they meet characters from the fairytale 2004 film, including The Conductor, The Singing Chefs, the Hobo, and Santa himself.

Hot chocolate and cookies are served on board, so it really is the perfect Christmas treat. You can book tickets here: www.yorkshiredalesthepolarexpressride.com/

And just remember – Sparta will be in charge of Elf and Safety!

WITH the lockdown restrictions being lifted, it’s become a really busy time for Sparta.

We’ve just finished looking after the Harrogate Flower Festival, which was bloomin’ brilliant, apart from the weather. Something like 20,000 people attended and we were proud to keep everything safe and secure.

We’re also getting lots of bookings for other events as well as weddings – it’s just great to see the world opening up again and moving back towards normality.

IT’S always nice to be able to report success stories and we had an important win when our engineers installed three CCTV towers for local client T. Manners & Sons Construction, at Bishop Auckland.

On the very same night, the security system thwarted a group of intruders. The thieves had approached from the rear of the site and our high-tech audio system picked them up. Our manager was able to sound the alert from 25 miles away so that police units could be on the scene within three minutes, and the intruders scarpered empty-handed. RESULT!

A BIZARRE enquiry came in from a client in Middlesbrough recently when thieves stole a wooden fence. It meant that we had a security guard pitched in a vehicle in the middle of a field to make sure there were no follow-up crimes. A little bit odd I suppose – but we’ve always been outstanding in our field!

WE’VE been tendering right through the pandemic, and we were thrilled to have been awarded a fantastic contract with restaurant group Frankie & Benny’s to board up a number of buildings that weren’t being used during lockdown. Let’s hope our local restaurants, like Frankie and Benny’s get the support they deserve from customers now the restrictions are being lifted.

IT’S also a privilege to be providing bespoke security and CCTV strategic monitoring for the Marshall Robertson Group Ltd in and around the North-East. A big thanks to them for coming to us.

MEANWHILE, we’ve got another Bank Holiday coming up and there won’t be any nonsense at Richmond Falls because we’ll be back providing robust security on behalf of the district council.

This has now become a regular assignment for Sparta on Bank Holidays. Before we got involved, there were serious Covid breaches, substance abuse, and littering that had to be cleaned up by members of the community banding together.

Our aim is to make sure none of that happens and I’m pleased to say there’s been a big improvement now we’re patrolling the site.

SPARTA is a company that likes to play its part in the local community, so I’m pleased to announce we’ll be sponsoring Rockliffe Cricket Club, at Hurworth, for the next three years. After all, we know how to hit criminals for six, so it seemed like a good fit.

FINALLY, on the company update, just a reminder that The Sparta Group is now a facilities management company – offering the full range of services, including cleaning, welfare, drones, fencing, access control, boarding up, and floodlights.

Just tell us what you need and we’ll supply it for you – because Sparta is so much more than a security company these days.

ON a personal note, I’m happy to report that the golf is coming on slowly but surely.

When I put my mind to something, I can overcome whatever challenges I face, and I’m determined to crack this sport.

When I teed off at the start of the season, I was labelled Rockliffe’s worst ever player. However, in a recent competition – off a handicap of 37 – I finished runner-up.

I’ve set myself a target to enter my first professional tournament in the summer of 2022.

All that separates me from winning the PGA tour is practice & time, so I am thinking if I hit one thousand balls a day then why not?

Yes, I’m well aware that people may mock but they mocked Happy Gilmore and look what he did. The negativity gives me energy – I feed off it.

The Northern Echo:


IT is not just what intruders steal – it is also the damage they cause in the process.

Therefore, get a monitored security alarm fitted to your property and have it linked to a professional security provider.

The cost of protecting your business that way is much less than having to pay for the damage criminals leave in their wake.

Be proactive not reactive. Think smarter – put your trust in Sparta!


AS a Christian, I always end this column with a relevant verse from The Bible. This month it is from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Notice, the ‘all’

Stay safe everyone.