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Charlie enters into folklore - just like his dad.

Byline: Bethany Lodge Reporter bethany.lodge@trinitymirror.com

A FATHER and son duo are showing how good deeds can run in the family after accumulating 36 years of volunteering experience between them.

Security officer Paul Jackson has been volunteering during the Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance (BIFF) for over 30 years.

He started volunteering as a teenager for something fun to do in the summer holidays.

And his 16-year-old son, Charlie, has donned his hi-vis vest alongside his dad, and is thriving in his voluntary role.

He has just finished his GCSEs at Abbey Hill Academy in Billingham, where he will return in the autumn to study on a sports, fitness and leisure course.

Charlie followed in his dad's footsteps and started volunteering at the tender age of 11.

He has already experienced a great number of roles from meal server through to being a festival runner.

This year Charlie will be a festival guide where he will tour the dancers around Billingham and show them the essential amenities including the shops, library and cafes.

Charlie, whose favourite acts over the years have included cloggers and break dancers, said: "Everyone is really friendly.

It's like one big family. "Working on something like the folklore festival gives you real self-confidence as you feel part of something special.

"I would encourage people to get involved, either as a volunteer or sitting in the audience, as the festival is great fun and there's never a dull moment!" Paul, 44, who lives in Billingham with Charlie and his wife of 17 years, Pauline, said: "I can't believe where the time has gone.

"The festival has played such a big part in my life over the past three decades."

He said Charlie joining the volunteering team was "heart-warming".

And even Paul's mother, 66-year-old Pam is helping out the catering team this year.

Joe Maloney, festival director, said: "We couldn't deliver the festival year upon year without the dedication of our loyal band of volunteers.

"People like Paul and Charlie are the backbone of the festival, and without their drive and devotion we wouldn't have been able to do what we've done over the past 50 years."

Starting on August 13, the festival will be hosting dance companies from Chile, Egypt, Martinique, Mexico, North Cyprus, Russia, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

The official website has an online box office where people can buy tickets from www.billinghamfestival.co.uk/store

CAPTION(S):

| Father and son duo, Paul and Charlie Jackson of Billingham are both volunteering as helpers during the Billingham International Folklore Festival; Below and above left - Paul with festival dancers from years gone by, and bottom, Paul and Charlie in the town centre

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 2, 2016
Words:451
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