Teacher takes the reins as youngest town council leader in almost 40 years - and only the second woman

Seaham Town Council has elected its youngest leader since it was formed in the 1980s.

Rochelle Charlton-Lainé has been a councillor for the town for a year and is also a member of Durham County Council’s opposition Labour group, representing the county’s Deneside division.

The 34-year-old school teacher was appointed to the position at last night’s (Tuesday, May 17) town council AGM, where she also became only the second woman to hold the role.

And she has promised to put transparency, support for young people and community safety among her top priorities.

Rochelle Charlton-Lainé, Durham County Councillor and leader of Seaham Town Council

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She said: “I became a councillor to help hold the current Conservative Government to account following its shameful handling of the pandemic and underwhelming free school meal offer to children nationally and locally.

"While all councillors must continue to do this, my main objective will be to improve the lives of all people in Seaham.

“I think it’s vital that we remain a transparent council focused on delivering for the people and organisations of Seaham.

Rochelle Charlton-Lainé, Durham County Councillor and leader of Seaham Town Council

"As a teacher and mother, one of my main objectives will be to help our young people and provide the best possible outcomes for them as they live and thrive in our communities.”

Charlton-Lainé was elected to Durham County Council in last year’s round of local elections, when Labour lost control of the local authority for the first time in a century.

Currently a secondary school teacher at Dene Academy, in Peterlee, as well as a school governor for Ropery Walk Primary School, her grandfather was formerly colliery overman at Dawdon Pit, where her father also worked.