THE 80th anniversary of Stewart Park was celebrated yesterday, with the great-nephew of its namesake invited to the party.

Revellers were in a buoyant mood since being told the Middlesbrough park was to be awarded £280,000 by the National Lottery towards multi-million plans for the park.

On May 23, 1928, the tranquil green space, which is now visited by about 400,000 people a year, was given to the people and town by councillor Thomas Dormand Stewart.

Yesterday, his great-nephew, Christopher Dormand Stewart, launched the festivities.

A celebration was organised by Middlesbrough Council outside the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in the park.

Highlights included a children's birthday card design competition and tour of the archaeological excavation close to the museum.

A birthday cake was cut, followed by the unveiling of an 80th anniversary flowerbed.

Thomas Dormand Stewart, who lived from 1854 to 1946, ran a clothes shop in Linthorpe Road.

He represented the Linthorpe Road ward as councillor and served as town mayor in 1920 before being made a Freeman of the borough, in 1924.

In 1978, the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum was opened, 250 years after Cook's birth in a cottage in the "lost" village of East Marton, which now lies under Stewart Park.

Deputy Mayor of Middlesbrough, Councillor Bob Kerr said: "We are delighted that Chris Dormand got our 80th birthday celebrations under way.

"The interest and enthusiasm about the birthday celebrations shows that Stewart Park is a much-loved asset for many people in the town."