A renowned councillor with 18 years of service has bid farewell to residents as he steps down from the ‘political bunfight’.

Keith Baker has served as a Woodley town councillor since 2011 and as a Wokingham Borough councillor since 2006.

But he stood down from the borough council as a representative for the Coronation ward ahead of the local elections this year.

In a parting message to people in Woodley, Mr Baker said: “At the recent elections, after 18 years of continuous service to the residents of North Woodley I stepped down from being A borough Councillor.

“May I take this opportunity to thank all residents of Woodley, especially the residents of North Woodley, for their continual support over those years.

“I have always tried to be available, even when I have been out of the country, to pick up any Woodley residents issues.

“I did not always resolve them to either mine or the residents satisfaction but I always tried my best.

“They are an amazing set of people who deserve the best and I am glad to see the new Borough Ward for this area re-elected three of my colleagues to continue my work in future years.”

During those 18 years I have held almost all the key roles at Wokingham Borough Council. I started out, very quickly, on the Planning Committee which was a baptism of fire.

“Unlike many councillors I really loved that role and did it for many years. I then progressed to be Executive Member for Highways, Highways & Planning. Other roles included being responsible for the GRT community and chairing the Management Scrutiny Committee.

“After many years in these roles I became Leader of the Borough Council for several years.”

Mr Baker served as the council leader from 2014 to 2017, and mayor of Wokingham Borough from 2021-2022, supporting the charity Chance to Dance Stars CIC.

Reading Chronicle: Keith Baker as Wokingham Borough Mayor from 2021 to 2022. Credit: Keith Baker / Wokingham Borough CouncilKeith Baker as Wokingham Borough Mayor from 2021 to 2022. Credit: Keith Baker / Wokingham Borough Council

Reflecting on his tenure as mayor, Mr Baker said: “My final important role, and probably one of the most enjoyable ones was to be Mayor.

“It was great stepping out of the ‘political bunfight’ as the Mayor has to be totally impartial.

“I attended over 100 events and raised nearly £10K for my chosen charity.

“I do not think a councillor could wish for a better ‘portfolio’ of jobs on the Borough.

“My final honour was to receive the MBE directly from Queen Elizabeth II, one of the last acts she carried out before her tragic demise.

“So with the new boundaries it felt right to step out of the limelight and let others take up the baton.

“However, I am not quite finished yet as I will be continuing in my role of leader of Woodley Town Council until the next elections in 2026. So Woodley has not yet lost me!!!!

“The Town Council is a refreshing change from the “bearpit” of the chamber at Shute End where for the most part we leave our political allegiance at the doorstep and work very collaboratively.

“So once again, thank you to all the residents of North Woodley, my volunteers, the businesses and fellow councillors for all their help, assistance, wisdom and friendship.

“It really is an honour to be regularly elected and represent these groups of people.”