New chairman has a passion for South Northamptonshire

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The new chairman of South Northants Council (SNC) says her retirement has given her the opportunity to give back to the community she loves.

During their Annual Council meeting on Wednesday, 17 May members of SNC elected Cllr Fiona Baker as their chairman for the coming year.

Cllr Richard Dallyn was also elected deputy chairman.

Cllr Baker said: "I worked hard and am lucky enough to have enjoyed a career that included some of my passions, including photography.

"But retirement has given me an opportunity to give back to something I am equally passionate about, the community of South Northants.

"Many people, like me, were bought up elsewhere, but over the eight years I have lived here, I have been greeted by nothing but the warm hospitality which is typical of the district.

"I will be proud to be the council's official representative and I pledge to promote the district and all the wonderful things it contains wherever I am invited."

Cllr Baker was elected as SNC member for Brackley West in May 2015 and has since served as a member of the Budget and Financial Strategy Committee, chairman of the Planning Committee, and was deputy SNC chairman during the last civic year.

Cllr Baker is also a member of Brackley Town Council, served as the Town Mayor last year, and is SNC's representative at Brackley Vision and the Northampton and District Citizens Advice Bureau.

As an army daughter Cllr Baker grew up in the UK, Malaya and Germany, but lived most of her life in the region, including central and northern Oxfordshire.

She was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, has qualifications in both leisure and retail management, and is a qualified professional photographer.

Cllr Baker is also a qualified aerobics and riding instructor and has been a director and co-owner of a public relations and advertising firm.

She is married with a daughter, a son and two grandsons, all of whom live nearby, and when there is enough time away from family and civic duties she enjoys riding her beloved Irish Sport horse Charlie Brown.

During her year in office Cllr Baker has selected the Northamptonshire Young Carers as her chosen charity and will be raising funds for it during civic events throughout the year.

Also during the Annual Meeting Cllr Andrew Grant was appointed to the Cabinet as portfolio holder for transformation and commercialisation replacing Cllr Rebecca Breese.

The other portfolio holders remain as:

Cllr Ian McCord - Leader and portfolio holder for communications
Cllr Phil Bignell - Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for ICT, HR and governance
Cllr Dermot Bambridge - portfolio holder for environmental services
Cllr Stephen Clarke - portfolio holder for economic development, regeneration and housing
Cllr Karen Cooper portfolio holder for community engagement and wellbeing
Cllr Peter Rawlinson portfolio holder for finance and procurement
Cllr Roger Clarke portfolio holder for planning and environment