Brother of comedian Victoria Wood set to stand for Teesside Mayor

Liberal Democrat Tees Valley Mayor candidate Chris Foote Wood from Darlington
Liberal Democrat Tees Valley Mayor candidate Chris Foote Wood from Darlington

The brother of the much-loved late comedian and actress Victoria Wood is to stand for election to be first Tees Valley elected mayor.

Chris Foote Wood has been selected as the Liberal Democrats’ official candidate.

The 76-year-old veteran campaigner, who lives in Darlington, is a writer lecturer and actor.

He said: “I am very much looking forward to the campaign which I believe I can win.

“I have the experience, the knowledge and the ideas to make a success of this great opportunity to use the devolved powers and extra finance on offer to create jobs and bring prosperity to the Tees Valley.

“I am fighting fit and I have continued to work full time since 65, although if elected I will give up all my current paid work to be a full-time mayor.

“I have already pledged to give back half my salary as mayor to the people of Tees Valley by donating it to a local charity or trust.”

Mr Foote Wood wrote a biography of Victoria, who died in April last year.

He was a Bishop Auckland district councillor for 40 years and was leader of Wear Valley council for six years.

In 2011, he stood for election to be mayor of Middlesbrough, losing to independent Ray Mallon.

He has contested eight parliamentary elections including twice in Middlesbrough where he came second in 201.

Mr Foote Wood is a former marathon runner and triathlete who has run the Great North Run 25 times.

He was selected after a ballot of Lib Dem members and a hustings in Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.

The election for the first mayor of the Tees Valley Combined Authority takes place on Thursday, May 4.

The authority was created in April 2016 to drive economic growth and job creation in the Hartlepool, Darlington, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.

Mr Foote Wood will be up against Sue Jeffrey, (Labour) Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Council; Hartlepool borough councillor John Tennant (UKIP); Ben Houchen, Conservative group leader on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council; and John Tait (North East Party).