When Coun Richard Porthouse was elected to represent Hebburn North he says he never thought he would one day be elected as the borough’s first citizen.
But it is a role he says he has relished and that meeting countless volunteers providing much needed services to the people of South Tyneside has given him food for thought.
He and his wife Patricia, who carried out the role of Mayoress, will hand over the chains of office to the new incoming Mayor and Mayoress at a special ceremony held at Jarrow Town Hall tomorrow.
Coun Porthouse said: “Being Mayor has made me realise just how much goes on in South Tyneside and I feel both myself and Patricia have represented the borough to the best of our ability.
“For myself, being Mayor has changed me. Meeting all the volunteers in a range of areas has changed my outlook and my views. It hit me quite hard finding out that we have 37 per cent of children living below the poverty line. That is something I’d like to take on and try and change.
“I’d also like to do more to promote women’s rights to bring fairness and equality, for everyone.”
Coun Porthouse added: “Going to see the Queen one day and then the next you’re visiting a food bank. The range of people you meet is so diverse.
“The work done by the volunteers we have in South Tyneside - groups like the Cruse Crew, Community Corner and Sews and Stitches with their foodbank, just blows you away. The work they do to enhance our community, it’s very humbling.
“South Tyneside is such a special place and those who have visited from outside the area are in awe of what we have in the way of pride in our community and the spirit we have.”
Over the past year the Mayor and Mayoress have attended hundreds of engagements and presentations as well as hosted a number of events at Jarrow Town Hall recognising the talent of those we have living in South Tyneside.
Mrs Porthouse said: “It has been such an honour to hold this position, I’ve had some great times and we have met some great people.
“We both find it so hard to say what the highlights of the year has been as there has been so many. But we both would like to thank the people of South Tyneside for their hospitality and kindness throughout our mayoral year.”