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I was first elected as a Councillor in 1999 when I joined North Wiltshire District Council and have represented Lyneham Division continuously since then, becoming your Unitary Councillor in 2009 when the local authorities merged to create one Wiltshire Council.
In addition to being a hard working division member, I have other special responsibilities within Wiltshire Council, including Chair of Royal Wootton Bassett & Cricklade Area Board, Portfolio Holder for Communities, Tourism, Heritage and Arts and I am the Equalities Champion...
Lyneham Division comprises a number of villages: Bradenstoke, Bushton, Clyffe Pypard, Lyneham, and Tockenham and other hamlets including Preston and Thickthorn. From May 2021 Broad Hinton and Winterbourne Bassett will be included. Each community has its own unique identity, which it is important to help preserve. I am still as passionate about serving these communities as I was when I was first elected. We have some wonderful people who dedicate a lot of time and effort to making them a great place to live, and part of my role is to ensure that you all get the best possible deal from Wiltshire Council.
Wiltshire Council has a vision for “stronger more resilient communities” and this is exactly what I believe in.
A strong community comes together to celebrate the good times and pulls together to sort out problems, and we have had plenty of those recently! Sometimes they need assistance from outside bodies such as Wiltshire Council to help with issues, and that is where we as councillors come in. We need to have our eyes open and our ears to the ground to know when we might be able to help, without being too intrusive. We need to build up networks so that we can point people in the right direction and we need to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in when needed. As a local resident said to me recently: “We love having you as our councillor – you are there for us and easy to talk to”. This made me feel very proud.
I love to help people sort out their problems, and gain great satisfaction when I see somebody achieve a good result. I am very balanced and fair, and always look for both sides of an argument. I also value courtesy and politeness, openness and honesty. I have worked hard to build up relationships with officers and other partners so that I know who to go to for help. The biggest criticism that I could level at myself is that I care too much, but I am not going to stop doing that.
General background and experience
Like many people in Wiltshire, I moved here back in the 1980s for employment reasons. My first experience of Wiltshire was the wonderful village of Tockenham, and I love this County so much that I am still here and cannot see myself ever leaving.
My background is in computing and training. I have a natural bent towards problem solving and enabling people to help themselves, which are essential qualities for being a Councillor.
I retired from computers about 10 years ago and spent most of my time doing Council related activities or helping to run a number of charities. I also retrained as a Keep Fit teacher for the over 60s, which I love, and helps me to better understand the older people in the community.
Much of a councillor’s time is spent chasing up fixes for potholes and missed bin collections, but there is much more to our role than that. We also have many committees and working groups that are required in order to carry out the Council’s duties. My main area of interest is with Communities, and have more recently been heavily involved with Leisure and also Tourism, Heritage and Arts. All of these areas have been hit hard by the Covid pandemic and we have a lot of work to do to help them survive.
The great news is that the pandemic has brought about rapid innovation, and we are now doing things very differently and in ways that would not have been thought possible 12 months ago.
The downside is that there is an upsurge in family breakdowns, mental health problems and loneliness. These will be priority areas to work on after the next election.
Being a Councillor can bring you face to face with issues with which you were previously unaware.
I was a Trustee of Wiltshire Portage for many years, a charity which provided home education through play to pre-school children with additional needs. This was a real eye opener for me, and gave me a much better understanding of that families of children with disabilities face.
I have had a long standing interest in Dementia, and am delighted to be a Dementia Champion, helping to make more Dementia Friends and working towards making Royal Wootton Bassett & Cricklade Community Area, including Lyneham, Dementia Friendly Communities.
Around 10 years ago I responded to a call to help set up a LINK Good Neighbour Scheme. We needed a steering group to get up and running. I joined the committee of what is now LINK 6 & RWB Good Neighbour Scheme and am still with it today. This small group makes a huge difference to the more vulnerable in our community, enabling them to stay in their homes for longer.
I sat on the board of Westlea Housing Association, which is now Greensquare, for around 10 years and that opened my eyes to the value of social housing to the community. I retired a couple of years ago, having been vice-chair of the Board for several years. I still follow with interest the good work of the Social Housing sector.
I am also a member of Royal Wootton Bassett & District Rotary Club. The Rotary motto “Service Above Self” says it all for me. We get involved in many community projects, from taking Santa round the houses at Christmas time, to running a Community Cinema, which is my special project.
Personal and family background
I have been married to Steve for nearly as long as I have been a Councillor – we both were elected on the same day and married 10 days later! We have no children but were foster carers for 14 years and looked after over 40 children during that time. We have three dogs who keep us busy.
Friday is “my day” and I get to have fun teaching EXTEND keep fit classes in Lyneham and Royal Wootton Bassett. In my spare time, I enjoy church bell ringing, walking our three dogs, eating out, ballroom and Latin American dancing, and I am an active Rotarian.
I have a wealth of experience as a local Councillor which has taken time and effort to accumulate. My husband is a Town Councillor in Royal Wootton Bassett and was Mayor of the Town during the height of the repatriations. That period of our lives has changed us forever and has taught us lessons that we will never forget.
Help and advice
I am always happy to hear from local residents who may need some help and am generally quite quick to respond to e-mails or texts, as I am an avid iPad user. You are welcome to e-mail me or phone me (preferably my mobile as I am out and about a lot).
Please note – I only respond to direct contact, not to random conversations on Facebook.
WELCOME TO BROAD HINTON & WINTERBOURNE BASSETT
As a result of recent changes brought about by the Electoral Boundary Review, the communities of Broad Hinton and Winterbourne Bassett will move to Lyneham Division in May 2021.
This is a double change for residents as they will also move from the Marlborough Community Area to the Royal Wootton Bassett & Cricklade Community Area.
This move was not welcomed by the residents but was deemed necessary to balance the numbers for the electoral divisions across Wiltshire.
Making residents feel welcome as part of their new area will be a top priority after the election, and I have already been working with the existing Wiltshire Councillor and the Parish Council to ensure a smooth handover when I am hopefully re-elected in May.