A NEWLY-elected councillor is aiming to follow in the footsteps of her predecessor and become a "real asset" to Hartlepool.
Hilary Thompson won the Elwick ward seat on Hartlepool Borough Council, which was left vacant following the death of the well-respected Stan Kaiser.
Mrs Thompson, who stood as an independent in yesterday's by election, won by 32 votes following the count in the council's Civic Chamber.
The married mum-of-two, who lives in Elwick Village, paid tribute to her predecessor when the results were read out at around 11pm.
The part-time lecturer said: "I would like to pay tribute to Stan Kaiser, as his death is the reason we are here today.
"I have met lots of people recently and he was very highly thought of by them all.
"I hope I can be a real asset to the town and follow in the footsteps of an elder statesman of the council. I am looking forward to the challenge."
She thanked her campaign team, her husband Roderick, for his "support and wise words" and the people of the Elwick ward for "putting their trust in me".
She added: "The Elwick ward is a huge area and it has several areas who all have different concerns and needs. I intend to follow up on everything that people have told me and I will serve with diligence, dedication and determination.
"I hope I can make a real difference to the people of the Elwick ward and also assist my fellow councillors to the benefit of Hartlepool."
Coun Thompson beat off competition from Chris Banks (Conservative), Alan Bell, (independent), Keith MacFadyen (Liberal Democrat), Stephen Thomas (Labour) and Ron Watts (independent).
Turnout was 39.24 per cent, with 651 people voting.
How you voted: Hilary Thompson (independent) 233
Chris Banks (Conservative) 201
Alan Bell (independent) 132
Stephen Thomas (Labour) 40
Ron Watts (independent) 28
Keith MacFadyen (Liberal Democrat) 17
There were no rejected ballot papers.