Filipino mayor in UK dies

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — Cynthia Alcantara Barker, the first Filipino woman appointed as mayor in England, has died at the age of 58 "following a bout of serious illness."

The death of the incumbent mayor of Hertsmere in Hertfordshire, England was confirmed by her brother Gene Alcantara on Tuesday.

"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 on his Facebook page.

Barker, who ran under the Conservative Party, was appointed as mayor in June this year after having served as deputy mayor in 2019. She had also been a borough councillor for Borehamwood’s Kenilworth ward since 2015.

The Hertsmere Borough Council described the Philippines-born local official as "extremely proud of her heritage" despite living in the U.K. district for 29 years.

Several elected members of the council expressed deep sadness following her passing.

"It was a privilege to have known and worked with Cynthia," Labour group leader Councillor Jeremy Newmark said. "She was a trailblazer and role model for women and minorities in local government."

The Hertsmere Borough Council’s flag is flying at half-staff outside civic offices to honor Barker.