The new Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland have been revealed.
Coun Barry Curran and his wife Carol were presented with their chains of office in a ceremonial hand-over at tonight’s full council meeting.
As Mayor I want to promote our city as much as I can, there is so much good going on which people don’t realise or recognise, and I want to show everyone that Sunderland is a wonderful place.Coun Barry Curran, Mayor of Sunderland
They will be supported by the new Deputy Mayor and Mayoress, Coun Alan Emerson and his wife Janice.
The new Mayor has represented the people of St Peter’s as ward councillor for the last four years. Born in Monkwearmouth, he now lives in Seaburn.
Coun Curran worked as a gas fitter for 40 years before leaving to provide workplace training as part of Gentoo’s learning development team.
He said: “As Mayor I want to promote our city as much as I can, there is so much good going on which people don’t realise or recognise, and I want to show everyone that Sunderland is a wonderful place.
“I want the Mayor’s Office to be there to provide as much support as possible to the voluntary and business community, and help to raise their profile.”
The Mayoral Charities this year will be Sunderland MIND, Sunderland Armed Forces Network and North East Disabilities Resource Centre (NDRC).
Coun Curran added: “I hope my year of fundraising will help these groups in their compassionate work with some of our most vulnerable residents, all facing individual struggles with their personal and domestic circumstances.
“I’ve seen the difference these charities can make to young people and their families living with cerebral palsy and people with mental health issues, while our Armed Forces Network is there for almost 30,000 people living in Sunderland who have served their country and communities.
“It’s important we don’t forget them, and always remember that we need to fundraise on behalf of all those charities who support them.”
Among the guests of honour at the ceremony was one of the Mayor’s three sons, Barry, with his fiancee Kersty, daughters Verity and Colleen with grandchildren Liam, 10, and Olivia, three, and son-in-law Robert with the rest of the family unable to attend sending good luck messages.
The new Mayor also paid tribute to his predecessor, Coun Stuart Porthouse, adding: “Both myself and Carol would like to thank Stuart and Marie for their friendship and support, they’ve given us the perfect preparation for our new roles.”
Looking back at his term as Mayor, Coun Porthouse said: “A particular highlight must be representing our city at the re-dedication of HMS Ocean by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Devonport. I was then later honoured to accept the salute of the crew when our adopted warship visited the city, and they marched through Sunderland on their Freedom Parade.
“There certainly seems to have been a military theme to my term of office, from visiting San Nazaire to take part in their 70th Anniversary VE Day celebrations to attending the 160th Wearside Brigade centenary celebrations all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
“It has been a great honour to be Mayor of Sunderland and first citizen of the city, which also gives you the opportunity to learn more about the unseen, unsung and unrecognised work of the volunteers who contribute so much to the life of our city.” Coun Emerson, ward member for Ryhope, also accepted his chains.
The new Deputy Mayor of Sunderland said: “As chair of the Place Board for the East Area Committee I know the commitment of local people to making a difference and improving life in their communities, and I’m looking forward to meeting the many voluntary groups who work so hard across the city.”