Norma Redfearn
Mayor of North Tyneside
Assumed office
2 May 2013
Preceded byLinda Arkley
for Riverside
In office
10 June 2004 – 2 May 2013
Preceded byJohn Lowther
Succeeded byWendy Lott
Interim Mayor of the North of Tyne
In office
4 December 2018 – 2 May 2019
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byJamie Driscoll
Personal details
BornFebruary 1938
Wallsend, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materNewcastle University

Dame Norma Redfearn DBE[1] (born February 1938[2]) is a Labour politician currently serving as the directly-elected Mayor of North Tyneside.

Early life

Redfearn was born in Wallsend. The daughter of a shipyard worker, she graduated with a BPhil from Newcastle University.[citation needed]

Teaching career

Redfearn had a 30-year career in primary and secondary education. After a variety of teaching jobs, she left Wharrier Street Juniors in June 1986, where she was deputy head, to head West Walker Primary School, east of Newcastle upon Tyne. She stayed there until July 2000. In June 1989 the school won an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects for its playground design, presented to Redfearn and a pupil by Charles III. then the Prince of Wales.[3] In 1997, she became the first headteacher to receive the prize for Public Management Leadership from the Office for Public Management.

North Tyneside Council

Redfearn was elected to North Tyneside Council as a councillor for Riverside ward in 2004[4] where she served until her election as mayor. After the election of John Harrison as the Mayor of North Tyneside in 2005, Redfearn served as the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People on North Tyneside Council. She held the position until 2009 when Harrison lost his re-election campaign. During her time as Cabinet Member for Children and Young People she is credited with introducing breakfast clubs for children across the borough.

Following Harrison's defeat to Conservative Linda Arkley, Redfearn sought the nomination to become Labour's candidate for Mayor. In February 2012 she was formally selected as Labour's candidate for Mayor,[5] defeating former Mayor Cllr John Harrison, former Deputy Mayor and then Leader of North Tyneside Labour Group Cllr Jim Allan, Cllr Ian Grayson, and Cllr Lesley Spillard. Redfearn would go on to defeat the Conservative incumbent Linda Arkley.[6]

She was first elected as Mayor of North Tyneside on 2 May 2013, winning 55.35% of the votes cast on a turnout of 32.07%[7] and re-elected again on 4 May 2017, defeating the Conservative candidate, Stewart Hay, with an increased majority.[8] She was re-elected for a third term on 6 May 2021.

In May 2018, Redfearn reshuffled her cabinet dismissing the former Mayor Harrison, among others, and bringing in new members including councillors Carl Johnson, Sarah Day, Steve Cox and Peter Earley.[9] She made no changes to her Cabinet in 2019 or 2020.[10]

In 2020, Redfearn publicly announced that she would be seeking a historic third term as Elected Mayor of North Tyneside. Redfearn stated that she counts the multi-million pound regeneration of Whitley Bay and The Spanish City as one of the things she has been proudest of during her second term in office.[11] During Redfearn's second term, children's services in North Tyneside were rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted,[12] the Council declared a Climate Emergency,[13] and Forest Hall town centre receive major investment.[14] As of 2017, Redfearn lives in North Shields.[15]

Already Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), Redfearn was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2023 New Year Honours for political and public service.[16]

North of Tyne Combined Authority

Redfearn was an ardent supporter of regional devolution and was one of the leading voices behind the creation of the North of Tyne Combined Authority. As a result, she was appointed Interim Mayor of the North of Tyne until an election took place, a role she held simultaneously with her post as Elected Mayor of North Tyneside.[17] Following the 2019 North of Tyne mayoral election, Redfearn was appointed Deputy Mayor of North of the Tyne and the Cabinet member for Housing and Land by new North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll.[18]


  1. ^ "Norma REDFEARN personal appointments - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Norma REDFEARN personal appointments - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  3. ^ "Play Project Swings Top Award". Newcastle Evening Chronicle. 30 June 1989. p. 20. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  4. ^ North East Local Enterprise Partnership. "Board Members - Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn". Archived from the original on 31 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  5. ^ North, Labour (16 February 2012). "Labour members pick Norma Redfearn to be their candidate for Mayor of #NorthTyneside". @LabourNorth. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Labour candidate defeats Tory mayor". 3 May 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  7. ^ "North Tyneside Council". Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  8. ^ Sharma, Sonia (5 July 2017). "North Tyneside mayoral results - a win for Labour". nechronicle. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  9. ^ Soden, Herbert (18 May 2019). "The team responsible for making North Tyneside Council's big decisions". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  10. ^ Council, North Tyneside. "Cabinet". Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  11. ^ Soden, Herbert (9 August 2020). "Why Norma Redfearn is standing for a third term as North Tyneside Mayor". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  12. ^ Soden, Herbert (17 April 2020). "Children's services in North Tyneside rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  13. ^ Soden, Herbert (26 July 2019). "Climate emergency declared - but Green Party warns more must be done". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  14. ^ Sharma, Sonia (22 November 2018). "This shopping area in Tyneside is getting a much-needed facelift". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  15. ^ Sharma, Sonia (18 April 2017). "North Tyneside election: All you need to know about the race for mayor". nechronicle. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  16. ^ "No. 63918". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2022. p. N9.
  17. ^ Holland, Daniel (6 December 2018). "Anger over 'coronation' of North of Tyne interim mayor". nechronicle. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  18. ^ "Cabinet". North of Tyne. Retrieved 22 August 2019.