Hebburn student enjoys day with South Tyneside Mayor

Rio Porter with South Tyneside Mayor Coun Alan Smith

Rio Porter with South Tyneside Mayor Coun Alan Smith

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A student from South Tyneside got an exclusive insight into the role of being first citizen of the borough.

As part of Local Democracy Week, Rio Porter, aged 13, had the chance to shadow Coun Alan Smith, the Mayor of South Tyneside.

The week aimed to give people the chance to discover more about their local council, what it does, how it works with its partners and why it is important to get involved in local decision making.

Rio, who studies at St Joseph’s Catholic Academy, Hebburn, and is a member of the borough’s Youth Parliament, shadowed the Mayor during his daily duties and even wore his own set of chains.

One of the events saw Rio help promote the Mayor’s Charity Bowling Night, which takes place on Friday at The Dunes on South Shields Seafront at 6.30pm.

Rio said: “We showed two primary schools around the Jarrow Town Hall, then went to the Dunes for a photograph to promote the Mayor’s Charity Night and visited Simonside Climbing Wall.

“After that we went back to the Town Hall for lunch and I got to talk to the mayor and mayoress in the mayor’s office about his role.”

The mayor said: “Rio and I had a wonderful day carrying out a number of mayoral duties. Local Democracy Week has given Rio a great insight into not only the role of the mayor, but also into local governance.

“I am really pleased that Rio got the chance to see how important politics is to everyone.

“Local Democracy plays a huge role in shaping our future, which is why I would encourage residents and young people in particular to take a greater interested in local politics.”