LUCKY BREAK: Alison Thackray, who was co-opted onto the town council by virtue of the flip of a coin
LUCKY BREAK: Alison Thackray, who was co-opted onto the town council by virtue of the flip of a coin

THE newest member of Barnard Castle Town Council owes her presence on the group to the luck of the draw – or at least a flip of the coin.
In farcical scenes at last week’s town council meeting, sitting members were split as to who to co-opt to replace Judi Sutherland, who stood down earlier this year.
Two candidates had put themselves forward – Alison Thackray and Paula Rogers.
After hearing from both, those members present were asked to vote.
The poll ended in a tie which meant town mayor Cllr John Blissett had the casting vote.
However, rather than choose one candidate over the other, he reached into his pocket and took out a coin.
Town clerk Michael King raised no objections to the mayor’s unusual way of making a decision and with both candidates looking on, the coin was flipped and it came down in favour of Ms Thackray.
Cllr Blissett said it was “a decision I did not want to make”.
Cllr Sandra Moorhouse said the situation was “a bit sad”.
She added: “We have two good candidates and only one place. They both have much to offer.”
Ms Thackray was born and brought up in the town and is purchasing manager at a builders merchants.
She has been a member of the committee for the Teesdale branch of Cancer Research UK and Cotherstone Fun Weekend.
Last Chritsmas, she helped organise the delivery of 340 food parcels to local elderly residents via Teesdale Day Clubs, Utass, and the Rosedale Day Care Centre, in Willington.
Ms Rogers, a qualified nursery nurse, suffered a life altering spinal injury aged just 22, since when she has embraced voluntary work with a variety of groups including Barnard Castle Meet, the Teesdale Disability Forum and The Hub.
She told councillors: “It has taken me time and patience to come to terms with my disabilities but also has taught me how resilient and adaptable to change I am.
“My life and work experience make me uniquely qualified to give a different perspective on issues.”