FOUR Sunderland councillors will step down from their posts at the May elections after 65 years of combined service.
Veteran Hetton councillor Richard Tate was first elected onto Sunderland City Council almost 35 years ago – in November 1979.
Labour colleague and Houghton ward councillor Dennis Richardson is throwing in the towel after 10 years, as is Conservative Paul Maddison who has been on the council since 2004, most recently representing St Michael’s.
As previously reported Conservative group leader Robert Oliver will not stand for re-election after representing St Chad’s for the last 10 years.
Sunderland mayor Robert Heron thanked the retiring members at a recent full council meeting which would be their last. Coun Heron said Coun Tate had “championed the role of scrutiny” for many years. Coun Tate said: “It’s nice to be appreciated. I always got on well with the opposition.”
Coun Richardson has served on a number of committees, including planning review, health and wellbeing review, children young people and learning and overview and scrutiny. He was mayor in 2009.
He said: “I want to thank you for what you have allowed me to do in representing this city.
Coun Maddison was absent from the meeting due to an ongoing illness and Coun Oliver spoke on his behalf. He said the former Hendon ward councillor won one of the most dramatic election victories to oust the then council leader by two votes after two recounts in 2004.
“He hasn’t been well but still did his best to carry on,” Coun Oliver said.
Of his own exit from the council, he said: “I want to extend my thanks to the councillors and officers too for their support over the years.”