West Berkshire Council has appointed a former magistrate as its new chairman.

Councillor Clive Hooker, the new chairman, was a magistrate for more than 30 years.

The chairman role is the formal representative of West Berkshire Council.

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As well as chairing council meetings they officiate at civic functions and welcome distinguished visitors of national and international significance on behalf of the district.

Cllr Hooker, who represents Downlands ward, was appointed to the role at West Berkshire Council’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 6.

The new chairman said: “It’s an honour to have been elected as chairman. I’m looking forward to the year ahead and, Covid permitting, getting out and about to attend local events on behalf of the council.

“On behalf of the council, I would also like to thank councillor Pask for his impeccable services to the council over the past two years.”

The Vice-Chairman of West Berkshire Council will be councillor Rick Jones, a ward member for Tilehurst and Purley.

The outgoing chairman is the council’s longest serving councillor Graham Pask.

Cllr Pask has served on West Berkshire Council and its predecessor Newbury District Council for 34 years.

During the past year, councillor Pask has supported council initiatives such as the Looked after Children Celebration Awards, Community Santa, The Giving Tree and the Community Champion Awards.

Former chairman Graham Pask said: “It is a privilege to represent the people of West Berkshire and I’ll look back on my time as chairman with a great deal of pride.

“It was an unusual time to be chairman, but over the past year I’ve been able to see first-hand the wonderful work which has been done by the council and local communities.

“I wish Cllr Hooker every success in the role, and hope he enjoys it as much as I did.”

Leader of the council Lynne Doherty has decided to keep on the same executive team, with a few changes to members’ responsibilities.

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This is how the new executive looks:

Leader of Council and District Strategy and Communications

Lynne Doherty

Deputy Leader of Council and Health and Wellbeing

Graham Bridgman

Adult Social Care

Jo Stewart

Children, Young People and Education

Dominic Boeck

Planning, Transport and Countryside

Richard Somner

Environment and Waste

Steve Ardagh-Walter

Finance and Economic Development

Ross Mackinnon

Housing, Strategic Partnerships and Transformation

Hilary Cole

Internal Governance, Leisure and Culture

Howard Woollaston

The council leader said: “I’m looking forward to working with the executive over the coming year to deliver the Council Strategy and ensure the council continues to perform well.

“The councillors appointed to the Executive have a wealth of experience from both the public and private sector and were all on the Executive last year which brings with it stability as we respond to the pandemic.

Lynne Doherty is the leader of the council

Lynne Doherty is the leader of the council

“We’re committed to delivering the strategy and setting the foundations for the district’s recovery from Covid-19 to ensure the district remains a great place to live, work and learn.”