The South Tyneside councillors stepping down after more than 100 years of service between them

Councillors with a collective service of more than 100 years are due to retire or step down from South Tyneside Council this year.

By Chris Binding
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 2:01 pm

A number of councillors on the local authority are not seeking re-election when their current terms come to an end at the May 2022 elections.

This includes former Mayors of South Tyneside, former cabinet members and some councillors who have served their individual wards for decades.

Councillor Peter Boyack, who has served the Whitburn and Marsden ward for 26 years, is one of the longest-serving councillors on the local authority.

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Top row: (l-r) Councillors Angela Hamilton, Olive Punch, and Norman Dick. Middle row (l-r): Councillors Nancy Maxwell, Allan West and Jim Sewell. Bottom row: (l-r) Councillor Bill Brady, who has sadly passed away, and Peter Boyack.

The former senior council officer, and then Labour councillor, has served on several key committees over the years and was previously a cabinet member for neighbourhood services.

He also represented the council on a range of outside bodies and is an active member of the Royal British Legion.

After more than 60 years of both working in local government and being an elected member, the councillor is due to step aside to let another candidate take on the challenge.

In a social media post announcing his retirement, Cllr Boyack said he had been “extremely proud and privileged to be a councillor for this amazing ward”.

Another Labour councillor due to retire, Hebburn South member Nancy Maxwell, has served as an elected member for 22 years.

Cllr Maxwell previously served on cabinet as lead member for voluntary sector, partnerships and co-operatives and for area management and community safety.

But it was local community projects that she remembered most fondly, including the Hartleyburn Youth Club which she helped establish together with some parents, as well as “intergenerational activities” uniting both young people and the elderly.

Other highlights included setting up exercise classes for over 50s, her work as a trustee of Clegwell and Hartleyburn CIO and the “huge growth” in volunteering and community groups in the area.

Cllr Maxwell added: “I sincerely want to thank them all for the huge difference they have made and are still making.

“It has been a long journey of service but one I have thoroughly enjoyed and one for which I am sincerely grateful to the residents of Hebburn South ward for showing confidence in me for so many years.”

Councillor Norman Dick, who has represented the West Park ward for the Labour Party for eight years, is set to retire in May due to ill health.

Before becoming an elected member, Cllr Dick worked in the mining industry and in the Armed Forces and has been an active member of the Durham Light Infantry Association in South Shields.

Over a two-year term (2019-2021)as Mayor of South Tyneside during the Covid-19 pandemic, Cllr Dick raised more than £34,000 for charity.

Looking back over his civic life, the councillor said he will remember the community spirit shown during the pandemic and hopes to continue to lend a hand in the area.

“It’s absolutely fantastic going around knocking on doors and talking to all the residents and sorting out their troubles, I loved doing it and I will miss it,” Cllr Dick said.

“I’m sorry for leaving the residents but if they need a chat they have got my phone number and I’m always happy to have a chat with them.”

Other Labour councillors due to retire include councillor Olive Punchion, a Biddick and All Saints ward councillor for 16 years and former Mayor of South Tyneside.

She was due to be joined by Bill Brady, a former miner and council employee, who went on to serve the Whiteleas ward for 30 years, including a spell as Mayor of South Tyneside.

However Cllr Brady sadly passed away shortly before the May 2022 elections.

Councillor Allan West, who has served the Westoe ward for 12 years, is also due to retire.

Before becoming a Labour councillor, he worked as a teacher and later as a deputy headteacher for almost two decades at a large comprehensive school in Newcastle.

As an elected member, Cllr West served on the cabinet in three different positions, including a newly-created post overseeing public health.

With big changes ahead in Westoe, including plans to move South Tyneside College into a new base in South Shields town centre, the outgoing councillor is confident families and young people “have a lot to look forward to”.

Cllr West also thanked his wife Irene and his wider family for their support over the years and credited the community spirit shown by South Tyneside residents.

He added: “When the chips are down I would wish for no better people to be on my side and when the going gets tough, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Councillor Jim Sewell, a Monkton ward councillor for 23 years and former Mayor of South Tyneside, is another councillor due to retire at the May 2022 elections.

First elected in 1999, the Labour councillor went on to serve as cabinet member for environment and for culture and well-being and has also served as a member of the board of South Tyneside Homes.

Councillor Angela Hamilton, who resigned from the Labour Group last year, will also not be seeking re-election.

In a video uploaded to social media in April, 2022, the Beacon and Bents ward councillor said she could no longer “do the absolute best” for her constituents due to internal politics.

The councillor had repeatedly clashed with party bosses since her election in 2018 and announced her resignation from the Labour Group at a council meeting in September, 2021.

Over her term, Cllr Hamilton campaigned on several issues in South Shields including anti-social behaviour as well as speaking out against controversial planning applications and donating her allowance to charities.

In the video announcing her decision to step down, she added: “It’s important that you get the opportunity to choose a councillor who can do the absolute best for you without being distracted by internal party wranglings.”

The next round of local elections in South Tyneside will take place on Thursday, May 5.

For more information about who is standing in your area, visit South Tyneside Council’s website at: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/74729/Local-government-elections-Thursday-5-May-2022