THERE were two new VIPs at the Town Hall last week, when local children got the chance to become Junior Mayor and Mayoress for a day.

The Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Nick Wallis, reintroduced the competition, last held in 2010, and invited Year 6 children from across the borough to take part by submitting an entry on the topic, "What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?”

More than 150 entries, from ten schools, took part but it was Jakub Kolodziej, ten, from St Augustine’s RC Primary School, and Hannah Grzywaczewska, 11, from St John’s CofE Primary School, were picked for the role.

The Mayor and Mayoress were chosen by the Mayor and Sue Campbell, director of Darlington Rotary Club.

Starting their first day on the job, Jakub and Hannah were greeted in the Mayor’s Parlour at the Town Hall by the Mayor who presented them with their badges of office before being taken on a tour of the Council Chamber and the foyer, where portraits of the borough’s previous Mayors are on display and a behind the scenes look at the council’s CCTV control room.

During the day the youngsters also took turns to wear the former Darlington Rural District Council chairman’s chains of office, which was last used in 1974 before the Local Government reorganisation.

Then it was time for a series of "official engagements" which included a visit to Abbeyfield Care Home, in Ashcroft Road; a tour of Darlington Police Station, a visit to a golf driving range at Blackwell Golf Club and a tour of Darlington Hippodrome followed by afternoon tea. The theatre also presented them with two tickets each for a show of their choice.

Cllr Wallis said: “It was a very difficult job choosing the winners from so many fantastic entries. I hope Jakub and Hannah enjoyed their day as Junior Mayor and Mayoress, it was a real pleasure to spend the day with them and help them learn more about what the role is all about.”

The Junior Mayor and Mayoress competition is a historical tradition in Darlington, first running in 1982 until 2010. Each young winner's name would be recorded on a special shield.

With the competition now restarting a decade after it was last held, a new shield has been created, which was presented to the council by Cllr Wallis. It is named in honour of former Mayor Arthur Henderson, who went on to become Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Jakub and Hannah are the first to have their names recorded on the shield.