A FORMER mayor of South Tyneside is bowing out of front-line local politics.
Coun Tom Pigott was first elected as a ward councillor for Biddick Hall and All Saints in South Shields back in 1999.
And apart from a three-year break from 2004, the Labour councillor has served his constituents since then.
Now, at the age of 82, he has decided not to stand at May’s local elections.
He will take with him many happy memories, though, particularly of his year as Mayor of South Tyneside starting in 2010, alongside his wife Alma as his Mayoress.
Coun Pigott, a retired British Gas research worker, said: “Being mayor was a tremendous experience and a real honour that I will never forget.
“It’s my own choice to stand down for personal, family reasons.
“I’d just want to say that it was a privilege to serve the people of Biddick Hall for so many years.
“I’m particularly proud that we have seen through the Decent Homes Programme in the ward, which has brought great improvements for the people who live there.
“It’s the small things I remember too. Some people’s problems have brought me to tears, and it has been a privilege to help conquer those problems and then receive a letter of thanks for doing so.”
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.
Coun Pigott added: “I’d like to think that I have helped people and done a little bit of good over the years.
“I can’t say that I have won every battle, but I have had my share of success.
“Now it’s time for the younger generation to take on the good fight.”
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.
Local Labour activist Joe Amor has been selected to fight the Biddick Hall and All Saints seat for the party in May.