A headteacher in Newton Aycliffe and a Darlington businesswoman have explained how "amazing" it was to visit Downing Street.

Jackie Reynolds, headteacher at Forest Park School, and businesswoman Kerry Metcalfe were both invited to Number 10 after MP Paul Howell highlighted their efforts in the local area.

The pair made the trip down to London on April 30 and were shown around the Houses of Parliament before being taken to Downing Street itself.

The Northern Echo: Kerry Metcalfe, Paul Howell and Jackie Reynolds had an amazing time in London

While there, they met David Johnston OBE, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children, Families and Wellbeing.

In Number 10 they met about 50 other people who had been recognised for their efforts improving their local areas. 

The Northern Echo: Jackie Reynolds outside Downing Street on her visit to London

Jackie said: "I felt really fortunate and honoured to have been asked to go. 

"Paul (Howell) was excellent. I got an email from him and I didn't believe it at first. 

"We arrived in London and we were at the Houses of Parliament at 2.45pm. We had a tour and then we were taken to Downing Street.

The Northern Echo: Paul Howell, Jackie Reynolds and David Johnston at the meeting in Downing Street

"We met David Johnston OBE and it was amazing. There were around 50 other people from across the country. All of them had been nominated by their local MPs.

"People had lots of different backgrounds from early years to childcare and special educational needs.

"Downing Street was amazing. There were portraits of all of the Prime Ministers.

"When I was walking up the stairs Winston Churchill was staring up at us. 

"I feel really proud that the work we are doing here is being recognised.

"It was an experience I will never forget."

The Northern Echo: Paul Howell, Kerry Metcalfe, Jackie Reynolds and David Johnston in Downing Street

Jackie was keen to emphasise that her visit to Downing Street was a reflection of the work of her whole team.

Kerry started child-friendly networking events in March 2023 and she runs networking events for Mums in Business.

The Northern Echo: Kerry Metcalfe outside Number 10 after being recognised for her efforts for women in business

The Facebook group which she manages now has 4,000 members worldwide.

She said: "Downing Street was a truly once in a lifetime experience for me and will always be my professional highlight.

"Having this opportunity has proved to me how important it is to continue growing this community and providing as much support as possible."

Don't miss out on the latest news and stories. Subscribe to the Northern Echo, click here

Most read

New Washington Galleries Marks and Spencer store opens soon

Arriva's Darlington to Yorkshire Dales route begins journeys

240 house Catterick site approved by North Yorkshire Council

Forest Park School are still looking for a few members of staff to fill vacancies before they open in September.

There will be an open day in early June for parents to visit the school and get a flavour of what they could expect if they send their child there.

The date is yet to be confirmed but parents can keep up to date through their website, click here.