Cynthia Barker was the first Filipino person to become a councillor in the UK, and the Philippines became even more proud of her when she became Mayor of Hertsmere earlier this year.
She grew up in San Pablo City, Laguno and was awarded a BSc in industrial engineering from Adamson University in Manilla. She studied for a further degree in leadership and professional development at the University of Hertfordshire.
Councillor Barker spent the last 30 years in Hertsmere and became an Elstree and Borehamwood Town councillor five years ago, at the same time also being elected a Borough councillor for Potters Bar Furzefield. At the elections last year she was elected to represent Borehamwood Kenilworth.
An active Rotarian, Cynthia became president of Elstree and Borehamwood Rotary Club in 2018. Locally she was also trustee to the Sixty Plus Club and Elstree and Borehamwood Museum and on the local NSPCC committee. She was also a school governor at St Nicholas Church of England School.
Cynthia was also a proud champion of her cultural heritage, where she was a trustee for the Filipino Women’s Association in the UK, and in 2017 she won the Global Filipino Women’s Network award for her work.
The year before, she became a recipient of the British Community Honours Award in recognition of ‘outstanding voluntary contributions to British society’, promoting integration and building social cohesion through community work and volunteering.
Said Labour Group Leader, Jeremy Newmark: “It was a privilege to have known and worked with Cynthia. She was a trailblazer and role model for women and minorities in local government. Cynthia was kind and supportive to me when I was first elected as a councillor, despite being on opposite sides of the political divide.”
“She brought grace and dignity to the office of Mayor but was always approachable and down to earth, particularly when engaging with children and young people. Her commitment to charitable causes, notably the NSPCC and the Rotary Club was relentless. May her memory continue to inspire us all.”
Our thoughts are with her family, friends and political colleagues at this very sad time.