A FORMER chairman of Durham County Council has died following an illness.

Retired school teacher Councillor Pauline Charlton had lived in Cockfield since 1984 and represented the Evenwood electoral division.

She was chairman of the county council in 2013-14 and the Rt. Worshipful Mayor of Durham.

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The 75-year-old died on Tuesday.

Current chairman, Councillor John Robinson said: “This is a very, very sad day. Pauline was a highly respected and wonderful ambassador for Durham County Council. It was a pleasure to work alongside her and we became very good friends.

“She will be greatly missed and the thoughts of my wife Maxine and I are with Pauline’s family and friends.”

In tribute to Cllr Charlton, the leader of Durham County Council, Councillor Simon Henig said: “Pauline was a loyal friend and a dedicated local councillor, who served her community with thought and care.

“On a personal level I will miss her, as will the many people whose lives she touched. On a professional level the county is most definitely a better place thanks to her energy and inspiration.”

As chairman her chosen charities were the Butterwick Hospice and Treetops Children’s Ward, University Hospital of North Durham, for which she raised more than £19,000.

The flag at County Hall, Durham, is flying at half mast.

Cllr Charlton trained at Warrington Teacher Training College having previously attended St Michael’s Primary School, in Houghton-le-Spring and St Anthony’s, a grant maintained Grammar School, in Sunderland.

She became headteacher of Dene House Road Infant and Primary School, Seaham, and later deputy headteacher of Westlea Primary School.

Cllr Charlton also represented Cockfield Parish Council, Teesdale CAB, Teesdale Village Halls, LEAP in Teesdale, Jeremiah Dixon Group and was a governor of three primary schools – Cockfield, Ramshaw and Woodland.