A NEWLY installed mayor has chosen to raise money for two charities close to her heart during her year in office.

Normanby councillor Carole Simms will be supporting brain injury charity Headway and the Multiple Sclerosis Society throughout the next 12 months as the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council Mayor.

The mother-of-three chose the Multiple Sclerosis Society after daughter, Jennifer, was diagnosed with the condition about three years ago, but her second choice is even more personal.

“I chose Headway because I suffered from an extremely serious brain injury,” said Cllr Simms. “I know just how fragile the human body is and how quickly your life can change.

“I was lucky but not everyone is as fortunate as I was and the charity does fantastic work helping people recover from brain injuries.”

She was watching television, in June 2011, when she suffered a pain, later diagnosed as a brain haemorrhage, that she described as “like having a bolt hammered into the base of my skull.”

Within 24 hours the South Bank-born grandmother was being prepared for an eight-hour surgical procedure, which was when the seriousness of her condition hit home.

“It all happened so quickly,” she said. “One day I was fit and well, the next I was phoning my daughters from the hospital to tell them I was having brain scans.

“I was told I had 50/50 chance of surviving the intrusive neurosurgery, which included having an aneurysm in my brain clipped.

“The procedure could have left me so severely disabled that my daughters would lose the mum they knew and I might not have been able to recognise them.

“I could have left surgery a completely different person.”

It was five-months before Cllr Simms was able to attend a council meeting and start gradually resuming her duties as a councillor.

However, not only did she make a full recovery but daughters, Andrea, Tracy and Jennifer, as well as grandchildren Jake, Holly and Samuel, were at the official ceremony to see her take up her role.

The Mayor is supported by her official escort and cousin, Lawrence Edwards, and her newly elected deputy, Brotton ward councillor, Doreen Rudland.

Outgoing mayor and Longbeck councillor, Vic Jeffries, raised £15,300 for his nominated charities, Zoe’s Place baby hospice and the Mike Findley Motor Neurone Disease Fund, during his term.