By Martin Walker
Today will go down as a momentous day for Phil Wilson – and for more reasons than one.
The Sedgefield MP struck a twitchy figure during Thursday morning’s high-profile steel ceremony on the site of Hitachi Rail Europe’s £82m train-building factory on Aycliffe Business Park.
That’s because his daughter-in-law had already been in labour some 25 hours by the time Phil stepped up to the lecturn to make his speech at Hitachi’s special event.
Phil was keeping tabs on his mobile phone in between interviews as he awaited news.
And just a few hours later, at 2.30pm, he became a grandad for the first time as Amie gave birth to Ayla, giving his son Matthew a daughter.
Earlier, Phil spoke to Aycliffe Today about the importance of the Hitachi project to Aycliffe, County Durham and the UK.
“It’s a big day for Newton Aycliffe,” he said, in a Video Interview with us.
“Now we have proof that this factory is actually going ahead. It’s a huge structure, but it’s only about a sixth of the size of what the final factory will be.
“We’ve got lots of local companies working on it – Hall from Rushyford and Finley’s half a mile down the road – so it’s creating jobs for local people and local companies are benefiting from this now.
“It will only go from ttrength-to-strength, and once the factory is built it’ll be an iconic manufacturing facility – not just for the UK, but for the whole of Europe.”
Phil praised local construction firm Finley Structures, who are currently building the steel frame for the huge building.
“John Finley has done a great job to build the company up to what it is today,” said Phil.
“He employs about 100 people and jobs have been secured because of this contract.
“It establishes Finley Structures as one of the main construction companies in the North-East.
“It’s another reason why Newton Aycliffe is being put on the map by this construction.”