Ponteland’s new Mayor will use his role to highlight the importance of helping out in the community.
Carl Rawlings was elected as the Mayor at the town council’s annual meeting, replacing Peter Cowey who had been in the civic post for three years. Coun Joyce Butcher was elected Deputy Mayor.
After working for 35 years in the private sector and seven years in the public sector, Coun Rawlings retired three years ago.
He has lived in Ponteland for 28 years and joined the town council in 2010.
The Chair of Ponteland Conservatives is also Vice Chair of the committee at Merton Hall and a commentator for the visually impaired at Durham Cricket Club, a role he has been doing for five years.
Coun Rawlings said: “I think it’s a great honour to be asked by my fellow councillors to be the Mayor.
“Since I joined the authority, I have been on the highways, environment and planning committees and as a result, I have gained a useful insight into the town council’s activities.
“We have a good balance of councillors and I will be working closely with them to get the most out of our team. I will also be looking to build upon our strong links with community groups, churches, schools and the police.
“I will be doing all I can to encourage more volunteers across the community in Ponteland. There are many organisations in the area doing fantastic work and they can do even more if they get some fresh blood.
“As in previous years, we’ll be working hard to provide value-for-money services and minimise rises to the precept and we’ll continue to represent the views and wishes of residents, but on some issues we need to stress that we’re only a consultant and not the decision maker.
“We’ll continue to emphasise pride in Ponteland and do our utmost to maintain Ponteland as a nice place to live – a place that offers a blend of privacy and community.”
He added that the council and other groups and individuals involved will be trying to repeat the gold award success of 2013 in this year’s Northumbria in Bloom competition.
Earlier this year, Coun Cowey announced that he did not want to stand as Mayor again to give his fellow councillors time to choose a new one.
In his handover speech, he said: “After becoming the Mayor, I quickly decided that on some occasions I may need to balance three different views – a personal resident’s view, a political view and a town council view – and sometimes I may very well have to go against two of them at council meetings.
“My conscience is quite clear, all decisions I have made whilst serving on the town council have always had the interests of Ponteland at heart.
“My very sincere thanks to Kathleen Mavin, Jeanette Dodd, Christine Holleyman and Caroline Thompson in the office and all those councillors, either serving or now retired, for their support.”