|Mayor of North Tyneside|
|Assumed office |
2 May 2013
|Preceded by||Linda Arkley|
|North Tyneside Councillor|
for Riverside ward
10 June 2004 – 2 May 2013
|Preceded by||John Lowther|
|Succeeded by||Wendy Lott|
|Interim Mayor of the North of Tyne|
4 December 2018 – 2 May 2019
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Jamie Driscoll|
|Residence||Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear|
Norma Redfearnis a Labour politician and the directly-elected Mayor of North Tyneside, winning on the first ballot, on Thursday 2 May 2013, with 55.35% of the votes cast on a turnout of 32.07% and re-elected again on Thursday 4 May 2017 with an increased majority. She was re-elected for a third term on 6 May 2021.
Redfearn was born in Wallsend. The daughter of a shipyard worker, Redfearn graduated with a BPhil from Newcastle University.
Redfearn had a 30-year career in teaching, in both primary and secondary education. After a variety of teaching roles, she left Wharrier Street Juniors, where she was deputy head, to take on the headship of West Walker Primary School (June 1986 – July 2000) to the east of Newcastle upon Tyne. She became the first headteacher to receive the prize for Public Management Leadership, awarded to her by the Office for Public Management in 1997. Soon after, she was also chosen by the think-tank Demos to serve as an example of civic entrepreneurship.
Redfearn was elected to North Tyneside Council for the seat of Riverside ward in 2004 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. Redfearn 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 John 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, 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 convincingly defeat the Conservative incumbent Linda Arkley.
Redfearn won re-election to the position of Elected Mayor of North Tyneside on 4 May 2017, defeating Conservative Party opponent Stewart Hay. When re-elected she became the first person to hold the position for two consecutive terms. In May 2018 Redfearn reshuffled her cabinet dismissing the former Mayor John Harrison amongst others and bringing in new members including Cllr Carl Johnson, Cllr Sarah Day, Cllr Steve Cox and Cllr Peter Earley. She made no changes to her Cabinet in 2019 or 2020.
In 2020, Redfearn publicly announced that she would be seeking a historic third term as Elected Mayor of North Tyneside. Redfearn said the said 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. During Redfearn's second term, children's services in North Tyneside were rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted, the Council declared a Climate Emergency, and Forest Hall town centre receive major investment.
As of 2017 Redfearn lives in North Shields.
Redfearn was an ardent supporter of regional devolution and was one of the leading voices behind the creation on the North of Tyne Combined Authority. As a result, Redfearn was appointed as the Interim Mayor of the North of Tyne until an election took place, a roll she held simultaneously with her post as Mayor of North Tyneside. 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.