Farewell celebration for former mayor

Surprise leaving party for Tom Pigott who was the former councillor for Biddick and All Saints. With wife Alma and the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Fay Cunningham (L) and Stella Matthewson and residents
Surprise leaving party for Tom Pigott who was the former councillor for Biddick and All Saints. With wife Alma and the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Fay Cunningham (L) and Stella Matthewson and residents

A veteran councillor and former Mayor of South Tyneside got a surprise leaving party.

Former councillor Tom Pigott announced his retirement as a politician ahead of the recent elections.

Tom Pigott

“It was quite humbling to see them coming out and doing this for me.”

To mark his work in the community of Biddick Hall and All Saints, groups and residents gathered at a surprise party at Chuter Ede Community Centre.

The event at the venue, in Galsworthy Road, Biddick Hall, South Shields, was held on Friday, and was also attended by council members and the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham and Stella Matthewson. The 82-year-old retired British Gas research worker said: “When I walked into the centre and saw the tables in the hall all laid out, I knew something was up.

“It was a very emotional occasion and a real surprise.

“It was really nice to see everyone from the community and who I have worked with over the years. It was quite humbling to see them coming out and doing this for me.”

Coun Tom Pigott was first elected as a ward councillor for Biddick Hall and All Saints in South Shields in 1999.

Apart from a three-year break from 2004, the Labour councillor has served his constituents since then.

He became Mayor of South Tyneside in 2010, alongside his wife Alma, as his Mayoress.

Despite calling it a day, Coun Pigott, of Capulet Grove in South Shields, has much to look forward to.

He and Alma, a churchwarden at St Hilda’s Church in South Shields, celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next year.

He is also still involved in a number of schools where he sits as a school governor.

During their year in office, Coun Pigott and his wife helped raise £16,000 for charity.

That money went to Cancer Connections in South Shields, the Alzheimer’s Society’s South Tyneside office and the Young Carers’ Association.

Mr Pigott added: “As a councillor you are really busy and often don’t have time to do the things you enjoy. I am still involved in a number of schools and hope to spend more time with my wife, Alma.”

Centre manager at Chuter Ede Community Centre Jason Meiers said: “Coun Pigott has done a lot for the centre and it’s groups and it was just our way of saying thank you, for the work he has done over the years.”