Date: 4th April 2024

Meet the new Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees

Councillor John Gardner is the new Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees.

He was officially installed at the Council's Annual Meeting today (Wednesday, 3 April), replacing Councillor Jim Beall at the end of his mayoral year.

Born in the Borough, Councillor Gardner lived in Fairfield and attended Fairfield Junior School and Grangefield Grammar School for Boys.

Councillor Gardner had a successful career in the motor industry, initially working for Charlie Brown's Autocentres as an Operations Manager before leaving to join Ford Motor Company, where he was a Business Manager for more than 25 years. He is now retired.

He has represented the Northern Parishes Ward since 2007.

In his Mayoral year, Cllr Gardner's wife, Paula will be the Mayoress. Mrs Gardner is a retired pharmacist and worked for the NHS throughout her career before becoming an inspector, ensuring that standards in pharmacies across Stockton-on-Tees and the Tees Valley were upheld.

The couple have lived in Wynyard for 21 years and have a son, two daughters and five grandchildren which keep them busy! Their daughter, Vanessa Sewell, is also a Stockton-on-Tees Borough Councillor, representing the Northern Parishes Ward.

This year's Deputy Mayor is Councillor Stephen Richardson who represents the Fairfield Ward. The Deputy Mayoress is Sophie Craig.

Councillor Gardner said: "In my Mayoral year I want to focus on local issues and get out across Stockton-on-Tees to meet with people and really listen to their experiences, opinions and the issues they face. I'm looking forward to supporting local causes and charities. And as someone who has lived in the Borough all my life am honoured and proud to take up this role."

The chosen charities for the year are close to the Mayor's heart - Parkinson's UK and local charity, Leo's Neonatal. One of Councillor Gardner's grandchildren was born prematurely and benefitted from the support Leo's Neonatal provided to them as a family.

The retiring Mayor, Councillor Jim Beall, raised £42,484 for his nominated charities, Eastern Raven's Trust and the North East Autism Society.

Sam Withers