TRIBUTES have been paid to councillors past and present who have passed away.
Southwick councillor Christine Shattock died after a fall at home on Thursday, while a funeral service for former Easington councillor Dennis Raine is being held today and services for former Washington members James Walker and Kath Chamberlin were held on Friday.
City council leader Coun Paul Watson led the tributes to his Labour party colleague Coun Shattock.
He said: “Christine served the community for many years, and had a passionate interest in issues involving health, housing and adult services, where she served as scrutiny lead,” he said.
“She also served as a governor for Southwick Primary School and recently backed a proposed development for a retirement village in Southwick.
“As a councillor she was a respected colleague to some and opponent to others who contributed a lot to council debates and committees.
“I’m sure all of her former political colleagues and many friends will join me in paying tribute to her years of dedicated public service.”
Ward colleague Coun Norma Wright said: “She was one of the best – I will miss her very much.
“She was a thoroughly, thoroughly decent woman. Christine came from Kent, and what she saw when she came to Sunderland was very different.
“It shaped her for the rest of her life. She was totally committed to Sunderland, to the people of Sunderland and to doing her best for the people of Sunderland.”
Scores of people are expected to turn out at Easington Colliery Methodist Chapel today for the funeral of Dennis Raine, who served on both Easington district and parish councils for more than four decades.
The married father of 10 died peacefully in hospital last week at the age of 87 and his funeral was due to take place at noon today.
The Oak Road great-grandfather, continued to serve on Easington Colliery Parish Council until just a few years ago when ill health forced him to step down.
Fellow councillor and friend Myrtle McPherson said: “He was a true Labour man through and through and was a good friend to the Labour party.
“He was dedicated to Easington and definitely fought hard for the people of Easington for so many years. I had known him all my life and he was a good friend.
“He was a very popular councillor because he was so easy to talk to and people liked this.”
Coun Dr David Boyes, who represents Easington on Durham County Council, said: “He was the sort of person who fought for Easington whenever he could. He had Easington at the heart of everything he did and knew the people of Easington like the back of his hand.
“He was very well thought of by everyone.”
Jim Walker, 86, served Washington for more than 40 years and passed on the drive for public service to son Peter, himself now a councillor for Washington North.
“He was very much a people person – people just saw him as somebody they could go to and it all just came from that,” said Peter.
The former miner had a profound effect on Peter, brother Michael and sister Julie.
“He had a big influence on me from a very early age,” said Peter.
“Basically, from the age I was old enough to walk I was going round pushing posters and leaflets through people’s doors. It just stuck with me.”
Kath Chamberlin, who has lost her battle with Motor Neurone Disease aged 63, served just one term on the council, but Tory colleague Michael Dixon paid tribute to her determination to succeed.
“She stood as a candidate in Hendon in 2002 and lost to Tom Martin by 100 votes,” he said.
“She stood in Washington South in 2006 and lost to Graeme Miller by 35 votes, then stood again in 2007 and beat Louise Farthing by 42 votes.
“She was a fighter and never gave up.”
That determination had carried on when she became ill, said Coun Dixon.
“She suffered her illness very bravely and was supported throughout by family and friends,” he said.