A dad said he joined the North of Tyne Citizens’ Assembly after witnessing the fearsome floods of ‘Thunder Thursday’.

Father-of-two Les Heslop, 66, was working on his allotment on Redesdale Park Estate in Wallsend when the supercell storm struck in June 2012.

The retired civil servant, who now works as a concierge at Newcastle’s Vermont Hotel and who is a City of Newcastle Chaplain and City Guide, took shelter in his shed as the freak storm turned roads into rivers with two weeks-worth of rain falling in two hours.

Les, who is married to Senga, said it was the first time he saw the effect of climate change.

He said: “There was a black cloud appeared then all-of-a-sudden, bang! The downpour came.

“I decided to get involved with the North of Tyne Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change because I’ve become increasingly concerned about changes in weather patterns that are causing major problems around the world.

“I’m beginning to wonder what the future is going to be like for our children and for future generations.”

The North of Tyne Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change is a way of getting people who live in Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside to shape what we do. Together, they will be discussing what the issues are and what can be done about them.

Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor, said: “We all know how serious climate change is. And there are things we can do as individuals – how we heat our homes, where we buy our food, where we travel to and how we get there.

“But the main bulk of the change needs to happen at a larger scale, at a community and a government level.  And crucially it needs buy in from everyone.

“We all need to be involved in working out the solutions. And I would like you to follow it and get involved.”

The purpose of a Citizens’ Assembly is to engage real people to look at the choices and trade-offs they’d be willing to make. The North of Tyne Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change met for the first time on Wednesday the 24 February.

Its members were recruited from across the North of Tyne area and from many different walks of life.

You can follow its progress on the Citizens’ Assembly on climate change page or by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

You can take part by emailing your comments to Communications@northoftyne-ca.gov.uk