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How Bill's got his big festival job off to a tea.

Brewing thousands of cuppas a day sounds like hard work, but staff at Billingham International Folklore Festival have got it down to a tea.

Over its 12 days, catering manager Bill McLuckie and his staff will serve 22,000 meals and 33,000 cups of tea to visitors at St Michael's RC School.

That includes going through 275 pints of milk and 150 loaves of bread a day.

Mr McLuckie, of Redcar, said: "We serve three meals a day here to 427 people each time, and we haven't served one chip yet. We have no microwave here, so everything is served fresh.

"This is the biggest event I have covered and the smallest kitchen we have had, but I have a great team and everyone works together. So far everyone's favourite meal was the beef stew we served."

Mr McLuckie works for Mobile Catering Company, owned by Continental Coaches and UK Holidays.

And he admits without the support of his boss Ian Peacock, Bookers cash and carry, Fruit Warehouse in Middlesbrough, and Asda, his job would have been twice as hard.

Working alongside him in the kitchen is head chef Nigel Robinson, second chef Dawn Brown, third chef Jennifer Jefferson, and kitchen assistant Alison McLuckie.

Mr McLuckie added: "The festival is fantastic, and some of the acts have been unbelievable. Everyone who is staying here seems to be happy."

* AN AMERICAN musician has penned a piece called Billingham dedicated to the town's International Folklore Festival.

Katie Davis who wrote the Celtic instrumental is a member of Albion, a troupe of dancers and musicians from Utah's Salt Lake City who perform all over the world.

The 34 member group specialises in clogging, a dance style born in the rugged Appalachian Mountains.

The highlights of their programme in Billingham include Native American Hoop Dance, the Samoan Fire Knife Dance, and Billingham.

The festival runs until Saturday, August 16.

Stockton Council's Youth Bus has also been helping to promote relationships between young people at the festival.

It is hoped the presence of the bus at the school each evening will build up a relationship between Stockton's young people and the international visitors, eventually leading to youth exchange trips.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 14, 2003
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