Ray BlandI am an Engineer by profession working principally with industrial robots and their application, and have been self-employed most of my working life.   I live and work in the Valley and I love its sense of place, its linking of rural, urban and riverside, the activities and enthusiasms it fosters and the promise it still holds.

I trace my interest in and fondness for the Ouseburn Valley from the late 1980's when coming to live in Sandyford:  active involvement in heritage activities in the Valley in the early nineties (including lobbying the Council not to demolish the Toffee Factory!), significant participation in setting up the Trust (Treasurer and Company Secretary until there were permanent staff), membership of the Executive of the Ouseburn Partnership throughout its five-year span.   I would also describe myself variously as an 'appreciative supporter': of such as Byker City Farm, Stepney Bank Stables, Centre for the Children's Book/Seven Stories, the Homing Society, Motor Boat Club and Ouseburn Farm; and 'willing foot-soldier': in past Ouseburn Festivals, fascinated exploration of the Victoria Tunnel and the Ouseburn Culvert, and various one-off initiatives with local collaborator organisations - and with that perspective realise just how far the Valley has progressed in the time I have known of it.

As is the case with my fellow Trustees I identify closely with the Trust's objectives, matching as they do my own interests and priorites, and the value I place on the marrying of collaborative activity and community benefit.