A former pit village baby and Hartlepool school pupil has risen through the political ranks to become a mayor.
Blackhall-born Carole Swarbrick has become the Mayor of the Lancashire town of Bolton.
The former pupil at Henry Smith Grammar School, in Hartlepool, took over the reins – or should that be chains – of the town for the next 12 months.
A Liberal Democrat, the former teacher, 60, was elected onto the authority 20 years ago.
And she attributes her love for local politics to growing up in Blackhall with a father who was a staunch Tory – with her mother coming from a family of socialist miners.
“It was a great honour to be asked to represent the town,” said Coun Swarbrick.
Despite upping sticks and moving to Bolton, she still has strong connections to the area, with her brother Geoff Smith living in Peterlee.
She left Blackhall, where her parents owned a dairy for 40 years, to study economics and eventually settling as a special education teacher in Bolton.
“Although my roots are in the North-East and my brother still lives there, I thought long and hard and found Bolton is where I want to be,” she said.
She has two sons, one of whom is also a teacher while the other is an energy construction lawyer in London.
He works for a firm which Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York, also works for.
And the Big Apple has already offered her some inspiration ahead of her year in the ceremonial role.
“I’ve been inspired by the book ‘Humans of New York’ and wish to create our own Bolton version,” she said about the book, which chronicles life in the city through the eyes of its inhabitants.
“Our town has so much going for it, and I want to have a permanent record of Bolton during 2015.
“As part of my role as Mayor I want to go out and meet as many people as possible.”
When she’s not donning the chains, one of Coun Swarbrick’s hobbies include travelling.
Inspired by another book, “100 places to see before you die” , she travelled to Asia on a jaunt that included China and travelling the Yangtze River, journeying along the Silk Route and visiting Uzbekistan.
She’s also been amazed by her visit to Ethiopia and seeing the early Christian churches cut into sheer rock.
Over the next 12 months, her good friend Jaleh Hayes will serve as the Mayoress.