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South Tyneside Welcomes New Mayor

The new Mayor of South Tyneside is Councillor Olive Punchion.

Councillor Punchion was presented with her chains of office by outgoing Mayor, Councillor Alan Smith, during the annual Mayor Making ceremony at South Shields Town Hall this week.

Incoming Mayor, Councillor Punchion has been joined in her civic duties by new Mayoress, and her friend of 40 years, Mrs Mary French.

It will be Councillor Punchion's second time in the Mayor's Office having previously served as the Mayoress of South Tyneside in 2012.

The new Mayor said: "It is a real privilege to be taking on the role of Mayor of South Tyneside and to have my dear friend by my side as we carry out our civic duties.

"Mrs French and I are very excited but incredibly humbled to be representing this fantastic Borough and its residents. We look forward to a great mayoral year ahead with a busy programme of civic engagements and events."

Born and bred in South Shields, Councillor Punchion worked at the former Plessey factory, the international electronics, defence and telecommunications company where she met Mrs French.

Now retired, Councillor Punchion represents the Biddick and All Saints Ward on South Tyneside Council and is a governor for Biddick Hall Infants School in South Shields.

The Mayor added: "I would like to thank the outgoing Mayor, Councillor Alan Smith, for the support he and his Mayoress, Councillor Moira Smith, have shown us throughout their mayoral year."

Councillor Ken Stephenson and Mrs Cathy Stephenson were selected as Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress of South Tyneside.

The following Cabinet appointments were also made, following the Mayor Making ceremony, during the meeting of Annual Full Council:-

  • Resources and Innovation - Councillor Ed Malcolm
  • Regeneration and Economy - Councillor John Anglin
  • Housing and Transport - Councillor Allan West
  • Area Management and Community Safety - Councillor Moira Smith
  • Children, Young People and Families - Councillor Joan Atkinson
  • Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Co-operatives - Councillor Nancy Maxwell
  • Independence and Wellbeing - Councillor Tracey Dixon

The Mayor Making ceremony and Annual Full Council meeting can be viewed online at


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