Following on from the May local elections, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue have appointed Sunderland City Councillor Bob Heron as its new chairman.
Cllr Heron took over the position in June from Cllr Tom Wright, who had been authority chairman for the past three years. He joins the other 15 elected members on the authority.
Cllr Heron, 63, represents Copt Hill ward and has been a councillor for 20 years. He serves on a number of committees within Sunderland City Council and he is also a Hetton Town Councillor and a school governor at Bernard Gilpin and Gillas Lane Primary Schools.
Born in Hetton-leHole, Sunderland, where he still lives, Cllr Heron began his career as a labourer at Hawthorn mine before becoming an apprentice fitter at Murton and Eppleton collieries. After the mines closed he worked as a contract mechanic at factories across the north east and in the midlands.
On his new appointment Cllr Heron said: "I am delighted and honoured to be appointed chairman of such an important organisation. I have served on the Authority previously and already know how hard the members and the staff at the Service work. My aim is to continue the excellent work of the Authority and to help the Service achieve its vision of creating the safest community.
"There is no doubt that we face challenging times ahead and some difficult decisions given the scale of the cuts we are facing. However I am determined that we will continue to be one of the best fire and rescue services in the country."
Announcing the appointment, Chief Fire Officer Iain Bathgate, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: "Cllr Heron will be a great asset to the authority and the service. His previous experience as a Fire Authority member will be beneficial along with his local knowledge. I am confident that he will help us meet the challenges ahead."
Cllr Heron is married and has three children and two grandsons. In between his council duties and spending time with his family Cllr Heron runs a community allotment.
Posted: 10.30, 26.7.11, firstname.lastname@example.org