Sunderland honours former councillors

Margaret Forbes
Margaret Forbes

Two former Sunderland councillors will be honoured at a special ceremony this evening.

An extraordinary meeting of the council at 6pm will formally appoint Margaret Forbes and David Tate as Honorary Aldermen of the City.

David Tate

David Tate

The council's Cabinet backed the proposal to formally confer the title on the pair, who both served the city for more than 30 years, at a meeting in September.

Council Leader Coun Paul Watson, who made the proposal, described both Mrs Forbes and Mr Tate as long-serving and well respected councillors in their wards and communities, who had given "eminent service contributing to the broader civic life of our city."

"Both David and Margaret have over the years earned the respect and recognition of fellow councillors from across the chamber. I am sure they will continue to be honourable representatives of our city and I wish them both great success in their new role," he said.

David Tate was a councillor and community leader for the Hetton Ward for nearly 35 years until his retirement in 2014.

He served on numerous committees, including planning, represented the council on a number of external bodies including the Tyne and Wear Transport Authority Scrutiny Advisory Group, Gentoo Sunderland Limited, Hetton Town Trust, the Sunderland Empire Theatre Trust, Easington Lane Community Access Point and was formerly a member of the Newcastle Airport Local Authority Holding Company.

He has also been a school governor for nursery, primary and secondary schools in Hetton.

"It is a great honour to receive this appointment," he said.

"I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career as a councillor and I look forward to further serve the city and its residents in my new role as Honorary Alderman."

Margaret Forbes was first elected onto the council in 1983 to serve the St. Michael’s Ward and represented the ward until her retirement in May 2016.

Mrs Forbes was Tory Leader from May 1995 until June 2004 and a long-standing member of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Civil Defence Authority. Other works included representing the council on the Sunderland Empire Theatre Trust, Northumbria Tourist Board, National Association of Councillors, and the Tyne and Wear Joint Committees for issues such as Museums, Waste Regulation and Archives.

She served on many council committees including as a Cabinet Member without Portfolio from 1999 to 2001, and she played an active role on committees such as education, health and housing, and environment. She was a school governor for St. Anthony’s RC Catholic Girls School for many years as well as serving as a Governor for Southmoor School and Monkwearmouth College of Further Education.

"I take great pride in receiving such wonderful recognition," she said.

"During my time as a councillor it was very rare for me to agree with colleagues from across the chamber, however, in this case I’m in full agreement with David.

"I, too, would like to thank everyone who has supported me, challenged me and inspired me and I look forward to further serve the people of Sunderland."