A council’s new chair has chosen to raise funds for organisations which support grassroots clubs for young people, and those living with dementia.
Cllr Joan Nicholson was elected as chair of Durham County Council at the authority’s annual meeting and will be supported in her duties over the coming year by Cllr Mike McGaun, who will serve as vice-chair.
Cllr Nicholson served as acting chair from March of this year, following the passing of Cllr Beaty Bainbridge in February.
For her official year in post, Cllr Nicholson will fundraise for two charities which support the health and wellbeing of the community.
The first is the Durham Association of Boys and Girls Clubs, which helps the development of clubs in areas of need, giving young people the opportunity to take part in activities that increase their personal and social development.
The charity has helped around 70 clubs in the County Durham area.
The chair will also use her role to fundraise for The Alzheimer’s Society which supports people living with dementia and their families, as well as providing funding for research into the condition.
Cllr Nicholson said: “I am honoured to have been elected as chair of Durham County Council for this year and to be carrying on the legacy from Beaty, who was a very dear friend and remains a huge loss to the community and wider county.
“My chosen charities support the health and wellbeing of people in our communities, allowing young people to stay active, grow and develop while providing valuable advice and support to people and their families who are dealing with a difficult condition.
“I hope the people of County Durham will help in whatever way they can over the next 12 months as we fundraise for these important charities.”
Cllr Nicholson, aged 72, was elected to Durham County Council in 2008 prior to local government reorganisation in 2009 and represents the Annfield Plain electoral division.
A former pupil of Annfield Plain Secondary Modern School, Cllr Nicholson worked in the Co-op in the village, in Taylor’s Pharmacy, and as a childminder before re-training at Houghall College and opening her own business as a florist which she ran for 20 years.
Cllr Nicholson is married to Robert, a retired miner and maintenance co-ordinator for a car parts manufacturing company. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Vice-chair, Cllr Mike McGaun, was elected to Durham County Council in 2021 and represents the Lanchester division.