Cynthia Barker, the first Filipina mayor of Hertsmere District in Hertfordshire, England, died “following a period of illness” at the age of 58.
Gene Alcantara, Baker’s brother, confirmed the news in a Facebook post on September 14.
“It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of The Worshipful Hertsmere Mayor Councillor Cynthia Barker following a bout of serious illness,” Alcantara wrote.
“We will be issuing further information in due course, but may we ask please to respect the family’s privacy at this very difficult time. Your prayers for the repose of her soul would however be welcome,” he added.
Hertsmere Borough Council member also paid their respects to Cynthia Barker.
Council leader, Cllr Morris Bright MBE, described Baker as a “kind, wonderful person” and “hard-working community representative.”
“I knew Cynthia as both a colleague and friend. Nothing was ever too much for her. She thrived at being a local councillor, always wanting to help residents with their issues. She left a lasting impression on the council and Borehamwood,” Bright said.
Meanwhile, the council’s Managing Director, Sajida Bijle, said the first Filipina mayor in England would be “greatly missed” by the council.
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Cynthia Barker, first Filipina mayor in England, dies
Cllr Jeremy Newmark, Leader of the Labour group, said Baker is a “trailblazer and role model for women and minorities in local government.”
Cynthia Barker was a Filipino politician who served as mayor of Hertsmere, England, until her death. Barker lived in Hertsmere for 29 years.
She served as a town councilor for Elstree and Borehamwood and borough councilor for Potters Bar from May 2015 to May 2019. She was re-elected to Hertsmere to represent the Borehamwood Kenilworth ward in May 2019.
In June 2020, Barker became the first Filipino elected in the Borough Council.
Barker has always been “extremely proud of her heritage and committed to doing her utmost to champion equality and diversity for all our communities in Hertsmere,” the council said.
Flags outside the civil officers of the council meanwhile fly at half-mast in honor of Barker.
Filipina Women’s Network included Cynthia Barker as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World in 2017.