Stalwart South Tyneside councillor retires after 22 years - colleagues pay tribute to 'champion' of community
Councillor Alan Kerr, who represented the Monkton ward for Labour, was a member of South Tyneside Council for a total of 22 years.
Council chiefs today praised Cllr Kerr after it was announced he was stepping down for personal reasons.
Council leader Councillor Iain Malcolm, said: “Alan worked by my side as my deputy for 10 years to drive the council’s agenda.
“He has been a well-respected Cabinet Member, providing wise counsel on many occasions drawing on his long career as both a Council Officer and long-serving elected member.
“As a ward member, Alan has been a champion for the town of Hebburn and has supported many residents and local causes over the last 22 years.
“As he retires to spend more time with his family, I thank him on behalf of the council for his immense contribution to South Tyneside.”
Since first being elected by the people of Hebburn in 1998, Cllr Kerr has held various positions across the council.
He was deputy leader from 2007-2019, and held the portfolios on the borough’s ruling cabinet for Democratic Renewal, Equality and Diversity, Policy & Performance and Heritage & Culture and Leisure.
Cllr Kerr also served as chairman of Hebburn Community Area Forum from 1999-2001, chairman of Licensing and Planning during 2002-2007.
In 2001, he was elected as the Mayor of South Tyneside where he and his wife, Pat Kerr as Mayoress of South Tyneside, had a busy civic year attending a variety of engagements including parades, civic receptions and by invitation to community groups and events.
The highlight of their year in office was said to be leading a delegation to South Tyneside’s twin town of Wuppertal for the 50th anniversary, where Councillor Kerr gave his speech in fluent German.
They also welcomed royalty to the borough when Her Majesty the Queen visited Hedworthfield Primary School and opened the Fellgate Metro Station, as well as welcoming HRH the Duke and Duchess of Wessex on a separate occasion when they visited Simonside Youth Centre.
Councillor Wilf Flynn, Labour Councillor for Hebburn South who worked alongside Councillor Kerr as Secretary of Jarrow Constituency Labour Party for 25 years, said: “We were a true political partnership, not just covering the administration and finance of Jarrow Constituency Labour Party, but attending Regional and National Labour Party Conferences, attending Public Enquiries when it came to attempts to impose Parliamentary and Local Government boundary changes on Jarrow and South Tyneside.
“I know Alan is held in high esteem not just in the Labour Party but in the community, and many will be disappointed Alan will no longer be their Labour councillor.”
As well as serving as a councillor, Alan Kerr had also worked as a Local Government Officer for over 26 years in various roles such as Transport, Management Services and Training before retiring in 1996.