South Tyneside welcomes new Mayor

The new Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Olive Punchion and Mrs Mary French.
The new Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Olive Punchion and Mrs Mary French.

South Tyneside has welcomed Coun Olive Punchion as its new Mayor.

Coun Punchion was presented with her chains of office by outgoing Mayor, Coun Alan Smith, during the annual Mayor Making ceremony at South Shields Town Hall this week.

Incoming Mayor, Coun Punchion has been joined in her civic duties by new Mayoress and her friend of 40 years, Mrs Mary French.

It will be Coun Punchion’s second time in the Mayor’s Office, having previously served as the Mayoress of South Tyneside in 2012.

The new Mayor said: “It is a real privilege to be taking on the role of Mayor of South Tyneside and to have my dear friend by my side as we carry out our civic duties.

“Mrs French and I are very excited but incredibly humbled to be representing this fantastic Borough and its residents.

“We look forward to a great mayoral year ahead with a busy programme of civic engagements and events.”

Born and bred in South Shields, Coun Punchion worked at the former Plessey factory, the international electronics, defence and telecommunications company where she met Mrs French.

Now retired, Coun Punchion represents the Biddick and All Saints Ward on South Tyneside Council and is a governor for Biddick Hall Infants School in South Shields.

The Mayor thanked her predecessors for their support over their mayoral year. She said: “I would like to thank the outgoing Mayor, Coun Alan Smith, for the support he and his Mayoress, Coun Moira Smith, have shown us throughout their mayoral year.”