Tributes to former mayor who 'did everything for Sunderland'

Tributes have been paid to Brian Dodds, former mayor of Sunderland, who has died of cancer aged 79.

Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 5:45 pm
Former Mayor of Sunderland Brian Dodds

Born in Roker in 1940, Mr Dodds first sat on Sunderland Council in 1970 representing Humbledon. He later represented Ryhope, Fulwell and Pallion wards and was mayor in 2000-01.

He worked as a salesman in the marine engineering industry while serving the city with great distinction in a huge variety of different roles.

One of his prime roles was to chair the committee that delivered city status to Sunderland in 1992 and the creation of Doxford International.

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Brian Dodds, right, in 2018 in his role as chair of Hope 4 Kidz with patron and former Sunderland player Dick Malone.

Between 1997 and 2002 he was non-executive director of the Priority Healthcare NHS Trust, a role he also carried out for the Northumbria Probation Board.

He was a justice of the peace, chair of Sunderland Magistrates, president of the Rotary Club of Sunderland, governor of Broadway Junior School, a trustee of the Sunderland Guild of Help and held roles at the Sunderland Sports Fund and Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade.

In 2007 he co-founded and chaired the children’s charity Hope 4 Kidz. In 2002 he stood beside the Queen as she opened the Winter Gardens.

His daughter Caroline Dixon said: “Everything he did was for Sunderland. He was one of those people who really did what he could to make a difference, right from my childhood and into my adulthood.

Brian Dodds (furthest left).

“He was also a massive fan of Sunderland AFC. He would take me and my sister all over the place. I live in Solihull and he would often be here if Sunderland were playing in the Midlands.”

Deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Michael Mordey, said: “Brian Dodds represented Sunderland during some very difficult times through the 70s and 80s, and he served with great distinction on many committees.

“I’m aware that he also gave much of his time to helping people who had been disadvantaged.

“He was very well-respected, very well-known and will be greatly missed.

Brian Dodds during his time as Mayor of Sunderland in 2000, with his wife and consort Sylvia.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and many people who knew him. He was a true gentleman.”

Brian died on July 26 in St Benedict’s Hospice.

He leaves behind his wife Sylvia, their daughters Caroline and Melanie and six grandchildren. His funeral is at Sunderland Crematorium at 11am, Friday, August 9.