A CEREMONY watched by generations of residents has marked 150 years since their ancestors were handed democratic control of their hometown by Royal Assent.

The celebration to mark Darlington’s Charter of Incorporation being agreed on September 13, 1867, saw dozens of residents and schoolchildren gathered around the town’s Market Cross.

Darlington Mayor Jan Taylor led the anniversary event alongside Deputy Lieutenant for County Durham, Alasdair MacConachie, who read a letter on behalf of the Queen.

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The gathering commemorates the creations of the town’s first local authority to pave the way for Darlington Borough Council as it is today.

The 50th and 100th anniversaries of Darlington council have been celebrated by banquets and exhibitions, with the 150th year set to be honoured further during Darlington’s Festival of Ingenuity, on September 22 and 23.

Schoolchildren from Gurney Pease Academy joined in the event on Wednesday morning off the Market Square before accompanying the mayor to the Town Hall.

Whilst visiting the base of Darlington Borough Council, the pupils witnessed the unveiling of the restored Charter in the Mayor’s Parlour.