CLEVELAND Fire Authority has announced its new posts following a major shake-up of members as a result of last month's local elections.

The new chair is Stockton Borough Councillor Paul Kirton and the authority's vice-chair will be his local authority colleague, Councillor Jean O’Donnell.

Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton said: “I am delighted to welcome Cllr Kirton and Cllr O’Donnell as Chair and Vice-Chair. We have had quite a few changes following the local elections with half of the Fire Authority members being new to the role.

"All of the team at Cleveland Fire Brigade are looking forward to working with members to continue to protect communities across Cleveland.”

Cllr Kirton, who represents Stockton Town Centre Ward for the Labour Party, has been a member of the Fire Authority since 2014.

He said: “I am very proud to take on the role of Chair of Cleveland Fire Authority. Cleveland Fire Brigade are the best Brigade in England at keeping people safe in their homes and have the fastest response times.

"I am looking forward to building on these successes and continuing to improve community safety and manage risk across Cleveland.”

Cllr O’Donnell represents Billingham South Ward for the Labour Party and has been a member of the Fire Authority for more than 15 years.