First, may I thank all those residents who voted to retain me as their Aycliffe North & Middridge councillor. It is a great honour, and I shall continue to do the job to the best of my ability.

Second, I must congratulate the two Conservative candidates who were also elected. I have written to both of them seeking to work collegially for the benefit of the ward.

Third, however, please forgive me for regretting the loss of my two former councillor colleagues. Joan Gray was a hard-working councillor of great wisdom and experience.

Mike Dixon was an influential and plainspeaking councillor who would have been Chair of Durham County Council had he been elected. We worked perfectly as a team, and their departure is not just a huge loss to the ward and the town, but a great personal sadness.

John D Clare