'I HAVE achieved a lifetime ambition'

The words of Cllr Heather Scott after she took over as leader of Darlington Borough Council in 2019 as she was approaching her 80th birthday.

Since first being elected as a councillor in 1976, she has seen eight Prime Ministers come and go, ended 40 years of Labour control and become Darlington Borough Council’s first female leader in its 152-year history.

Read more: Heather Scott: The Darlington leader who was one of the great political survivors

It wasn't the easiest of times to become leader of a local authority.

Less than a year into the role she was dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and all its ramifications.

But there were some significant milestones to be proud of - including helping secure the Treasury campus and planning ahead for the 2025 railway bicentenary celebrations.

But whatever your politics, no one can argue it is a remarkable record of public service.

There have been very few freedom of the borough of Darlington honours awarded, but Cllr Scott would surely be a fitting recipient.

After a decade and a half, the Darlington Conservatives now need a new leader, and it is a decision they cannot take likely.

In less than 12 months time, voters will pass judgement on their running of the council.

Amid an uncertain national backdrop, they will need to show they've made enough progress to deserve a second term in office.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Darlington Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054