We are delighted to report that Somerville alumna, Jean Fooks (Physics, 1958), will become the next Lord Mayor of Oxford.
During her year as Lord Mayor, her predecessor, Mohammed Altaf-Khan will be High Sheriff and City Councillor, Christine Simm, will be Deputy Lord Mayor.
Fooks had been offered the honour of being appointed Lord Mayor on multiple occasions but turned it down due to her busy 25 year career as a City Councillor Liberal Democrat. She has also been a County Councillor for Wolvercote and Summertown since 2001 and led the City Council’s Liberal Democrat group until she recently handed over the leadership to Andrew Gant.
She has decided not to stand again for re-election as a County Councillor at elections in May, and will not stand for re-election as a City Councillor when her term ends in 2018.
Speaking with the Oxford Mail, she said:
‘It’s daunting, becoming Lord Mayor but I have finally been persuaded to do it. I have always said before that I was too busy to do it but lots of people from different parties have persuaded me that it would be the right thing to do and so I have agreed.’
After graduating from Somerville, Fooks went on to have a varied career, in space research, computing, teaching at the unit of clinical epidemiology in Headington and working with Richard Peta at the Radcliffe Infirmary on leukaemia trials. In 1997, she decided to concentrate on her work as a Councillor, with a particular interest in environmental matters, traffic problems and the needs of children in care.
During her time in office, Fooks will represent the Council at civic and ceremonial events, including the opening of the new Westgate Shopping Centre and the anniversary celebrations for Oxford’s twinning link with Bonn. She will also promote the City and support a wide range of Oxford based voluntary organisations.
Oxford City Council reports that the Lord Mayor generally carries out in excess of 300 engagements each year ranging from high profile Royal visits to small community meetings and charity events.
We wish Jean Fooks the best of luck in her new role as Lord Mayor!