DARLINGTON Borough Council has welcomed its new mayor at the authority's annual mayor making ceremony.

Veronica Copeland, who replaces Councillor Jan Taylor, was proposed by Councillor Tom Nutt and seconded by Councillor Heather Scott.

Cllr Nutt said: “She is an excellent councillor with special qualities when it comes to areas such as health, care of the aged, social problems and championing the armed forces.

“She is also a great socialiser and mixes easily with people which will be an asset in her role as mayor.”

Cllr Scott said: “She will be a great ambassador for the town and I am quite sure she will fill the post admirably.”

Mrs Copeland was invited to make and sign a declaration accepting the office of mayor and was invested with the chains of office.

Her husband David will be her escort for the year, while son Richard was also present at the ceremony at the town hall.

Alasdair MacConachie, the vice lord lieutenant of County Durham, welcomed Mrs Copeland while young cadets from Durham Police’s ‘Mini Police’ formed a guard of honour for the new mayor.

Mrs Copeland, who is originally from Stockton, but has lived in Darlington for the past 50 years, spoke about how she overcame a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis at the age of just 17 to go onto forge a career in the NHS as an occupational health therapist.

She was elected to the council in 1999 to represent Haughton, before going onto represent Bank Top and then Bank Top and Lascelles ward.

In her spare time the 70-year-old has appeared in hundreds of amateur theatre productions and also enjoys folk music.

Her chosen charities for the next 12 months will be Darlington Association on Disability, the 700 Club and the Royal British Legion.