Tributes to former Sunderland mayor

Former Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Joe Hall and his wife Joan.
Former Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Joe Hall and his wife Joan.
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ONE of Sunderland’s longest-serving councillors has died.

Former Mayor Joe Hall passed away in hospital at the age of 85.

The former Post Office executive served as a councillor for more than a quarter of a century.

Sunderland Labour Group chairman Coun Tom Wright paid tribute to someone he described as “a Grangetown man who served his community all his life”.

“Joe was very active as councillor in the 60s and 70s,” he said.

“He spent almost 30 years as a councillor and was one of the main advocates of comprehensive education.

“He was just absolutely passionate about equality of education at all levels.”

Mr Hall was a lifelong member of the Labour Party who represented Thorney Close on the former Sunderland Borough Council from 1962 to 1970.

He was elected as the last alderman for Hendon in 1971 then chosen to represent Ryhope in 1973, a role he filled for the next 15 years.

“He served the people of Hendon, Grangetown and Ryhope – as well as those of Sunderland – diligently and proved to be a most hard-working councillor,” said Coun Wright.

The peak of Mr Hall’s political career came when he was appointed as Mayor for the year 1982-83, with wife Joan as Mayoress.

In his acceptance speech, he urged the people of Sunderland to work together for the good of the town.

“To a large extent, we have criticised ourselves unnecessarily,” he said.

“We should unite among ourselves in this borough and make something of this town.”

He stood down from the council in 1988, shortly before retiring from his role with the Post Office.

Mr Hall is survived by wife Joan, sons Derek and Philip, grandchildren Andrew, Joanne and Helen and great-grandchildren William and Oliver.

A funeral service will be held at Sunderland Crematorium tomorrow. Family flowers only, donations in lieu if so desired to The British Heart Foundation.