A FORMER Darlington mayor has died just a few days before her 100th birthday.

Beatrice Cuthbertson was known as the ‘Queen of Sadberge’ and served the council for about 30 years as an independent after first being elected in June 1973.

In 1987 she was elected Mayor of Darlington and she was also the recipient of an MBE for services to her local community. In 2003 she was named ‘Darlington Citizen of the Year’.

Mrs Cuthbertson, who lived in Norton Road, Sadberge, before moving to the Middleton Hall retirement village, also represented a number of organisations including the Darlington Council for Voluntary Service and the former Darlington Community Health Council.

She was known for wearing a distinctive red and black Balmoral, which was a nod to her Scottish ancestry.

She was also the instigator of an annual summer gala in Sadberge and frequently praised villagers for their spirit and friendliness.

Mrs Cuthbertson was born in Richmond, North Yorkshire and her grandfather Bartholomew Russell was mayor of Richmond on three occasions.

Her own 12 month stint as mayor in Darlington came at a time when the council was hung with no party in overall charge and she also sadly lost her husband of many years, John.

She later described how she gave the post “my best shot and I don’t think I did too badly”.

Council leader Bill Dixon recalled how during her mayorship a record was set for the longest council sitting with one meeting lasting from about 6.30pm to 8am the following morning.

He said: “She was a true village councillor in the best sense of the word and represented rural areas in particular heroically.

“She was also a genuinely nice woman who no-one had a bad word to say about.”

Councillor Brian Jones, who represents Sadberge and Middleton St George, said: “She was active and switched on right to the end.

“Her real interest was not in politics, but in the wellbeing of her village and its residents and that was borne out by the quality of the work she carried out.

“One resident described her as ‘unique’ and a ‘one off’. She was a strong woman who thought so much of Sadberge and commanded the respect of the village.”