Tributes paid to stalwart former councillor

Dorothy Whiteman
Dorothy Whiteman
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TRIBUTES have been paid to a long-serving city councillor who has died.

Teacher Dorothy Whiteman, an ex-Conservative leader who was also a board member of the Washington Development Corporation – which was dissolved in 1988 – died last week aged 82 after battling pneumonia.

Councillor Dorothy Whiteman, Hendon Ward  pic taken April 1973 old ref number 42-6085

Councillor Dorothy Whiteman, Hendon Ward pic taken April 1973 old ref number 42-6085

Sons Roger, 53, and Graham, 50, today spoke of her colourful life.

Graham said: “She was a stubborn person who was respected by all.

“Her great passion was education on the council.”

Graham added that she was best remembered in the area for her campaigning for the expansion of Southmoor School, near her home, which she helped achieve.

Mrs Whiteman was born in Stockton-on-Tees in January 1930.

Studious all of her life, she won a scholarship to King’s College in London, where she met solicitor husband Bill.

In 1960 the couple moved to Raglan Avenue, in Grangetown.

She was elected to represent the Hendon ward in 1970, serving the area before losing her seat in 1984 by just 26 votes to Labour’s Aileen Handy.

Despite her political allegiances, Mrs Whiteman struck up strong friendships with other councillors, especially former Labour and later independent councillor Bryn Sidaway.

Roger, who cared for his mum as she became more frail in recent years, said: “There was no animosity from him even though they were on opposite sides.”

After losing her seat, Mrs Whiteman used retirement to see the world, going on tours 
to places like Australia, 
Malaysia, Singapore, Canada and Hawaii.

Mr Whiteman died nine years ago.

In her retirement, Mrs Whiteman was also a huge fan of the Echo, savouring the moment when the paper dropped on her door mat every day.

“She was an avid Echo reader,” added Graham.

“She read it cover to cover every night, but the thing that she loved were the Retro features.

“My mother really loved the Echo even though she was blind in one eye before she died. Newspapers were her life towards the end.”

Conservative transport spokesman Coun Peter Wood, who knew Mrs Whiteman for the past 40 years, said: “She was a good friend, a very loyal and dependable person.

“It’s a very sad event because Dorothy made a significant contribution to what was then the town of Sunderland’s affairs.

“She was a delightful lady.”

Mrs Whiteman died at Sunderland Royal Hospital on Wednesday evening.

Her funeral was due to take place today at Sunderland Crematorium at 1.30pm.

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