Warm tributes were paid to Hartlepool’s first Director of Public Health who is moving on.
Louise Wallace has been the leader of efforts to tackle the town’s health inequalities and getting people more active since joining Hartlepool Borough Council in 2013.
Ms Wallace is leaving the authority on March 1 to join North Yorkshire County Council in another capacity.
Fulsome tributes were paid during Thursday night’s full council meeting.
Chief executive Gill Alexander said: “She has done an amazing job in an area which is recognised as having some really significant health inequalities in the country.”
In particular, Ms Alexander praised her recent work in helping Hartlepool to welcome Syrian refugees.
Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “Louise was the first director of public health in Hartlepool and I can honestly say she is the best in the region. She is leaving behind a fabulous service to hand the baton over.”
Deputy Mayor Coun Paul Beck praised her work around recovery packages for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and cancer.
The council assumed responsibility for public health from the former primary care trust in 2013.
Its scope later widened to also include public protection and sports and recreation.
Conservative group leader Coun Ray Martin-Wells said: “I don’t think a single officer has as much compassion as Louise has.”
Independent Coun Paul Thompson said Ms Wallace took on a challenging role as the town’s first Director of Public health and had tackled some big health issues.
He said: “There is still a way to go but I think Louise and her team have made a fantastic contribution.”
UKIP group leader Coun John Tennant said: “Our loss is North Yorkshire’s gain.”
And Mayor Rob Cook said: “I feel sorry you are leaving our authority but know you will shine as you have shone here.”
The council has appointed Dr Paul Edmonson-Jones as interim Director of Public Health.