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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 15:20 GMT
Town Hall ambitions for teenagers
Middlesbrough Town Hall
The real mayoral elections will take place on 2 May
Candidates for the position of the UK's first teenage mayor are battling to take office in Middlesbrough.

The young mayor will work alongside the real elected mayor for a year and take charge of a 20,000 budget.

Organisers hope the young person's poll - which will precede the mayoral elections on 2 May - will get young people more involved in public affairs.

All pupils, aged 11 to 17 years, who attend a Middlesbrough school are eligible to vote and stand for election.

A lot of young people are very dispassionate towards politics

Daniel Ayton, candidate

So far, two candidates have registered their interest and are beginning their campaigns.

Daniel Ayton, 15, from Macmillan City Technology College, told BBC News Online he wanted to be a "voice for young people".

"I found the idea of having a young mayor quite intriguing and I wanted to be involved in such a great experience.

"A lot of young people are very dispassionate towards politics, they see it as something for older people, but I know this is not the case."

Youth clubs

Daniel - who is a member of the Middlesbrough Youth Parliament - is currently working on his election manifesto and taking his campaign around local schools.

He said it would centre around more resources for young people.

Daniel Ayton
Daniel Ayton is planning his manifesto

"Middlesbrough has very few facilities for young people, which is something I would look at.

"I'd like to see youth clubs back up and running, but youth clubs that are for young people and run by young people."

Adam Gallagher, from Newlands School, is also planning to run for office.

He said he also wanted to provide more social resources for teenagers in the town.

John Foster, Middlesbrough Council's chief executive says the project should encourage youngsters to take an interest in citizenship and democracy.

Organisers say the post will be treated seriously, giving the young mayor an opportunity to contribute to young people's issues, including education.

Nominations for the post opened on 26 March and close on Wednesday 10 April.

A postal ballot to choose the young mayor will be held between 19 and 25 April.

Click here to go to BBC Tees
See also:

02 Jan 02 | Scotland
Ex-soccer star bids to be mayor
26 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Support for elected mayors 'growing'
24 Mar 99 | UK Politics
Towns to get elected mayors
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