Mayoress of Sunderland dies after short illness

Janice and Alan Emerson with guest speaker Olympic swimmer Jo Jackson at the Sunderland High School speech day during their year as deputy mayor and mayoress.
Janice and Alan Emerson with guest speaker Olympic swimmer Jo Jackson at the Sunderland High School speech day during their year as deputy mayor and mayoress.
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Tributes have been paid to the Mayoress of Sunderland who has died less than two months after taking office.

Janice Emerson, wife of Mayor Coun Alan Emerson, passed away yesterday after a short illness.

Sunderland City Council leader Coun Paul Watson

Sunderland City Council leader Coun Paul Watson

The couple spent a year as deputy mayor and mayoress, before taking on the main role at a ceremony in May.

The Mayor's Civic Church Service planned for Sunday at the Mayor's local parish church, St Paul's in Ryhope Street North, will now be held in the Autumn.

Invited guests including the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear, Mr John Mowbray OBE, representatives from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services and the Mayoral charities have all been informed of the sad news.

City council leader Coun Paul Watson said: "On behalf of his colleagues and of the people of Sunderland, I would like to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Mayor, Coun Alan Emerson, for the sad loss of his wife and Mayoress, Janice.

Coun Peter Wood

Coun Peter Wood

"Our thoughts are with him and his family at this sad time.

" I'm sure everyone will understand Coun Emerson will now take compassionate leave from his official duties as Mayor.”

"The Deputy Mayor, Coun Doris MacKnight, and the City’s Aldermen will assume some of his official duties until he feels able to return."

Coun Emerson's Ryhope ward colleague Coun Ellen Bell said: "I am just heart-broken.

"I was a really good friend of Janice's and it is a massive shock. It has left is all devastated.

"Like Alan, she was very well-known and really well-respected in Ryhope. She will be a massive miss to the residents and everybody at the council."

Conservative group leader Coun Peter Wood also paid tribute to Mrs Emerson.

"It is clearly very sad," he said.

"It is a personal tragedy for Alan and one's thought are with him and his family at this time.

"Janice certainly graced the civic events and functions she attended and I am sure she was a very substantial support to Alan in his role last year as Deputy Mayor and this year having just taken over as Mayor."