Twenty five years after first being elected as a councillor, an Abingdon resident of more than 40 years has become the new chairwoman of Oxfordshire County Council.

Councillor Alison Rooke has served on both Abingdon Town Council and the Vale of White Horse District Council since first being elected in 1999.

She takes over as chair from councillor Felix Bloomfield while councillor Mark Lygo will serve as her vice-chair.

Ms Rooke's life before politics included a career in computer programming and as a personal assistant before leaving full time employment to care for her father.

A mother of two daughters, Ms Rooke is also a long-time member of the Abingdon Operatic Society.

Her new role adds to a list of roles she has held, including being mayor of Abingdon and leader of Abingdon Town Council, as well as chair of the Vale of White Horse District Council.

As the ceremonial head of the council, the chair must be a serving county councillor but must remain politically impartial.

The council elects a new chair each May at the annual general meeting, which this year took place on May 21.

Ms Rooke said: "I am looking forward to getting around to many different parts of Oxfordshire and supporting as many events as I can by attending and representing the county council.

"We are keen to hear from organisations who have events over the next year."

Her position will also involve raising funds for three charities during her year in post.

These are My Vision, which supports Oxfordshire residents with sight loss, Parkinsons UK, which has three branches in Oxfordshire, and the Earth Trust in Little Wittenham.

She continued: "At first it may appear that these three charities are not linked but we hope there will be a sense of synergy.

"People who have sight loss or may have problems with moving and getting around may not automatically think that Earth Trust could help.

"They are very keen to educate and open the countryside to everyone.

“We are certainly hoping for an event over the summer involving people being able to go for a walk and enjoy afternoon tea afterwards.

“As important as the fundraising is, raising the profile of these local charities is equally as important. I hope we can achieve both during the forthcoming year.”

As an ambassador for both the county council and Oxfordshire, the chair's duties include promoting the council's and area's objectives and services.

She will also preside over council meetings, accepting invitations to attend events on behalf of the council, and inviting key individuals and representatives to events.