A MAYOR has spoken of her heartbreak after the double tragedy of losing her daughter and husband during her year in office.
Coun Barbara Ramshaw was left devastated after her husband and fellow town councillor Ronnie died just weeks after she was presented with the chain as Mayor of Seaham.
In July, she lost her daughter Sandra Atkinson, 47, after she died of Von-Willerbrands Disease, which is a female form of haemophilia.
Now the grandmother has sent a message of appreciation to those who rallied round and helped her though her year in office.
Coun Ramshaw, who represents the Westlea ward, said: “It was a very difficult year because I had just become mayor when Ronnie died and then a fortnight after Sandra died.
“I didn’t really focus until about September, when I really put the effort in, because I don’t think Ronnie would have wanted me to be sat there crying all the time.
“I must say the council have been excellent and have supported me right through, and my friends, the office staff and the people of Seaham have been wonderful.”
As mayor, Coun Ramshaw collected £4,500, which has now been passed on to good causes in the town. Fund-raisers included a ball and raffles, and donations included £500 raised by the town’s Conservative Club through events and support from families from Seaham’s German twin town Gerlingen.
She added: “The businesses, the shops, I couldn’t have asked for better support and really appreciate it.”
Coun Ramshaw has now handed over the Mayor’s role to Sue Morrison, who was co-opted as councillor after Ronnie’s death from a brain haemorrhage at the age of 78.
Coun Charlie Walker had been due to become mayor after he was deputy last year, but has made way for Coun Morrison due to health concerns.
Coun Morrison, who also represents the Westlea ward, said: “The things which interest me most are children and the environment, so I will be thinking about those two issues.
“I’ll be looking to all the councillors for advice and it’s quite a humbling experience after living here all these years.”
Coun Morrison will be supported during her year by consort Steven Greenhalgh. Coun Ramshaw has now taken on the position of deputy mayor for the year.