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  • Durham OnAir

New council Chairman announces official charities

The new Chairman of Durham County Council has chosen organisations which support children in hospital and people with a learning disability as her official charities.

Cllr Beaty Bainbridge, who takes over from retiring Chairman, Cllr Watts Stelling, has chosen to use her year in the post to fundraise for two worthy charities. The first, Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation, supports life changing research, cutting-edge equipment and technology, and projects to make the hospital more welcoming for children.

She will also support Haswell and District Mencap, which provides services, activities and support to people with a learning disability, their families and carers.

Cllr Bainbridge was elected as Chairman at the council’s annual meeting and will be

supported in her duties over the coming year by Cllr Joan Nicholson, who will serve as

Vice Chairman.

The 73-year-old former shop-owner and school governor, was elected to Durham County

Council in 2008 prior to local government reorganisation in 2009 and represents the

Chester-le-Street East ward.

A former pupil of Chester-le-Street Secondary Modern School, Cllr Bainbridge has worked

as a shop assistant and health and safety officer and owned her own business, Homespun

Wool and Baby Clothes, from 1982 to 1993. In 2011, Cllr Bainbridge attended a course at

Sunderland University and received an award in Essential Local Government.

Cllr Bainbridge is married to Allan, a retired police officer and has a daughter, a son, six

grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Cllr Bainbridge said: “I’m thrilled to be able to support The Great North Children’s Hospital

Foundation and Haswell and District Mencap in my role as Chairman of the council.

“The hospital foundation does fantastic work, supporting the many children and their

families who visit for treatment and care, making their experience the best it possibly can


“Haswell and District Mencap, meanwhile, provides amazing support to adults with

learning disabilities, from leisure activities and day care to advice and guidance on a wide

range of topics, including help to live independently.

“I’m looking forward to spending the next year raising funds and awareness for both

charities, as well as representing the council, meeting with residents and promoting

County Durham as a great place to live, work and visit.”

Vice-Chairman, Cllr Joan Nicholson, was elected to Durham County Council in 2017 and

represents Annfield Plain division.

In his year as Chairman, Cllr Watts Stelling, raised a total of approximately £6,900 for

Lanchester-based Willow Burn Hospice, through activities including a Christmas jumper

appeal; a charity dinner; golf tournament and direct donations from staff, elected members,

the public, parish councils and other local organisations.


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