Tributes paid to former Mayor of Sunderland who died following a long battle with dementia

Tributes have been paid to former Mayor of Sunderland who granted adopted warship, HMS Ocean, Freedom of the City.

Saturday, 11th May 2019, 9:00 am
James Scott and his wife Margaret
James Scott and his wife Margaret

James Scott, who was known as Jimmy, served as a councillor for the Sandyhill ward and was appointed Mayor in June 2004.

His wife, Margaret, has paid tribute to her ‘strong-willed’ husband and says being mayor made an ‘amazing’ difference to Jimmy as he battled a number of illnesses.

Jimmy, father to Ian, Andrew and Jamie, passed away in hospital following a long battle with dementia on April 23 aged 81.

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Now Margaret also wants to raise awareness and encourage those who has a friend or family member who cares for someone with dementia to offer the support where they can.

“He had dementia for 10 years, it was dreadful.

“Without my youngest son Jamie he wouldn’t have been able to stay at home as long as he did. He didn’t recognises us for many years.

“I think people are frightened about visiting.

“Anybody looking after someone with dementia need support - that’s what I want to highlight.

“Everybody you talk to knows somebody who has or has been affected by dementia. It’s about giving support to these people.”

Jimmy, who grew up in Marley Pots and worked as a sheet metal worker, was appointed the Mayor of Sunderland in 2004 and Margaret said it was a year like no other.

“He started meeting with councillors in the Grindon club and they talked him into becoming a councillor,” said Margaret, who lives in Grindon.

“He had a number of illnesses but when he did take on the role as mayor he just started getting a lot better.

“It was something more to focus on rather than the illnesses he faced. It’s amazing what the mind can do for you.

“He was offered the job of mayor and he only had a few minutes to decide whether to take it or not.

“We weren’t in the deputy’s position so we were just thrown into it all.”

While mayor, Jimmy gave Sunderland’s adopted warship, HMS Ocean, and it’s crew freedom of the city in 2004.

“I think the highlight for me of that year was sailing on the HMS Ocean as a number of mayor and mayoresses do but not all.

“To give the Freedom to ship was a big thing to do for someone with no experience.

“It’s amazing what that job could do for you.

“We met some absolutely lovely people during that year. He really did enjoy it.”

The couple were married in St Hilda’s Catholic Church, in Southwick, almost 59 years and now have four grandsons, Lewis, Alexander, Edward and Nicholas.

Margaret has also praised her son Jamie’s partner’s grandchildren, Alyah and Ava, who would visit Jimmy in Sycamore Care Centre, in Nookside, and ‘made the last few years of his life a little bit brighter.’

A service will be held at Sunderland Crematorium on Tuesday May 14 at 1.30pm. Donations in lieu of flowers for the research into this dreadful condition.