Jacke Warr: proud holder of post

Jacke Warr: proud holder of post

Britain’s oldest national conservation body has elected its first woman chairman.

Jackie Warr, a solicitor, will head the Open Spaces Society – the first female to do so in its 144-year-old history. She was elected to the post at last week’s annual meeting.

Keen walker Ms Warr will follow in the footsteps of one of Gladstone’s ministers and two Liberal MPs as head of the society, which campaigns for access, footpaths and the preservation of commons and open spaces. Her involvement with the group began 10 years ago after attempts to turn a green near her home into a car park.

Speaking after her election, Ms Warr, of Great Bourton, Oxfordshire, said: “I am extremely proud to be elected to a role with such a long line of distinguished predecessors. I shall do all I can to live up to their heritage and achievements.

“This is a difficult time for many charities so my priority will be to ensure that the society is able to continue its essential, valuable work for many years to come.

“All the trustees are committed to continuing our existing work and dealing with new challenges where they arise.”

The first head of the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society, which became the OSS, was Lord Eversley, who relinquished the position to take up a ministerial post with the Gladstone government. Other holders of the chairmanship have included Cecil Harmsworth a Liberal MP and member of the newspaper-owning family and Sir John Brunner, another Liberal MP.

Perusers of the list of former chairman may think they spotted a woman in the post between 1971 and 1980, but Carol Johnson was, in fact, a male Labour MP.

Ms Warr succeeds Rodney Legg, who held the post for 20 years.

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