THE youngest ever mayor of Durham has been sworn in during a ceremony harking back to centuries of tradition.

Councillor Katie Corrigan, who became the youngest ever chairman of Durham County Council last month, has now also been sworn in as the 417th Mayor of Durham.

The 27-year-old has represented the Belmont ward on the county council since 2013, and is also a member of Belmont Parish Council.

She was installed during the traditional mayor making ceremony at Durham Town Hall, which was also attended by outgoing mayor councillor John Lethbridge, where she became the youngest person to receive the chains of office.

The Northern Echo:

She is also one of fewer than a dozen women to have held the position since it was established in 1602.

In keeping with tradition, she then handed out silver coins to people in Durham Market Place.

The ceremony was attended by members of the Belmont-based Cheesy Waffles Project, which works with children and adults with learning disabilities, which Cllr Corrigan has chosen to support during her year as mayor.

Cllr Corrigan, who is a former pupil of St Leonard’s RC Comprehensive School, Durham, and a politics graduate from the University of Sunderland, has previously acted as both deputy mayor and the mayor’s consort.

This year’s deputy mayor will be councillor Lucy Hovvels, who represent Trimdon and Thornley.

The mayor making ceremony is always attended by members of the mayoral bodyguard, a body which dates back tot he 13th century.

Four members were awarded long service awards.

Mace bearer David Baker and Billy Gray were both given awards for 25 years of service, while Stan Lincoln received his 15 year award and Tom Dixon got one for five years.

The Mayor of Durham is the only one outside the City of London to have a bodyguard of its kind and the 15-strong group of volunteers prides itself on never having failed to to respond to the mayor’s call to duty.