Former Sunderland Mayoress dies aged 89

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A FORMER Mayoress of Sunderland has died.

Iris Baxter, of Chillingham House, Roker, took to the city’s helm when she and her husband Ralph were elected Mayor and Mayoress in 1985.

Mrs Baxter, formerly of Hastings Hill, died on Boxing Day, aged 89.

Mr Baxter died peacefully in hospital, in June 2009, aged 87.

The couple met in 1942 when Mr Baxter, then 21, was carrying out his training with Durham Light Infantry near Mrs Baxter’s home in Willington, County Durham.

They married at Willington Methodist Church a year later, before Mr Baxter was sent to Normandy to fight in the Second World War.

He was wounded when he was shot in the stomach by a sniper and sent back to England for treatment.

He was later promoted to sergeant and helped to train young recruits coming into the Army.

In 1946, he was demobbed and the couple moved to Hylton Bank, and Mr Baxter worked as a joiner. Seventeen years ago, they down-sized and moved to their current home in Hastings Hill.

The couple had two daughters, Anne Thompson and Susan Palmer.