ILMINSTER’s new mayor has hit the ground running, quite literally, after being put through her paces at a local gym for her first public engagement.

Councillor Julie Fowler was elected into the role at the end of last month after a year as the town’s deputy mayor.

Born and brought up in Slough, Cllr Fowler was one of the first 300 students to attend Lancaster University where she read History.

She said: “It was an unusual experience, with lectures being given in a Victorian theatre – the only time I have ever sat in the front stalls – and the dining room was in a converted furniture depository of Waring and Gillow.”

All the student societies and clubs had to be set up, and the new mayor said this is probably where she acquired her organising skills.

Most of Julie’s working life has been spent in London. She joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a business development manager.

She subsequently took on a consultancy role in the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, who at that time was John Prescott.

Julie moved down to south Somerset in 2004, first to Seavington St Mary and then to Ilminster in 2007.

She is a past president of the Ilminster Rotary Club, former chairman of The Arts Society Neroche South Somerset, a patron of The Warehouse Theatre and the Literary Festival, and recently a vice president of Ilminster Cricket Club.

She has also been a member of Ilminster Town Council for three years.

She said: “Ilminster is a very special place with an amazing community spirit.

“I look forward to representing the town and working with its residents and local organisations.”

In her new role, Julie will be working to maintain a library service in Ilminster, with the future of the town’s current facility thrown into doubt after Somerset County Council’s public consultation.

She is also trying to ensure that Herne Hill is established as a nature reserve.

Julie will be advocating any housing development is in line with local needs and supported by an appropriate development of infrastructure. She will also work to see the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan for Ilminster.

To contact Ilminster Town Council, call 01460 52149.