Lesley Game has been elected the new Chairman of Kent County Council (KCC).
Councillor Game takes over the post after filling the role on an interim basis following the death of former Chairman Ann Allen MBE, in October 2021.
Elected Vice-Chairman in May last year, Mrs Game took up the Chairman’s chain of office at today’s first full County Council of 2022. Gary Cooke was also elected Vice-Chairman at the meeting in Detling, Maidstone.
The newly-elected Chairman of Kent County County Lesley Game said: “Today is a bittersweet day as taking up office under these circumstances is difficult.
“Mrs Allen was a dear friend and a fantastic mentor for me. I learned a lot from watching her carry out the Chairman’s duties and I hope that I can continue the good work that she started in May last year.
“However, I also know that we must move forward and look to the future.
“The very fact we have had to relocate today’s meeting to the Kent Event Centre from County Hall, to ensure Members can safely attend and socially distance, serves as a reminder that we are still not yet living in normal times.
“I look forward to representing KCC and the residents of Kent in my new role and continuing to address the many and varied challenges that we are collectively facing in the months, and years, to come.”
Addressing the full Council following her election, Councillor Game also confirmed she will be continuing to support Mrs Allen’s Chairman’s Charity – The Kent Foster Care Association – until May 2022.
First elected to KCC in May 2017 for Cliftonville, Conservative Councillor Game has since held the post of Chairman of the Children Young People and Education Cabinet Committee.
The former Thanet District Councillor, representing the Cliftonville East Ward, was also a member of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Health Reform and Public Health Cabinet Committee and the Corporate Parenting Panel – a multi-agency forum made up of County Council councillors representing all parties, and partners in Kent, who are responsible for delivering good and effective parenting for children and young people in care.
Lesley Game was also Chairman of KCC’s Pupil Premium Select Committee, which oversees additional funding for schools to support disadvantaged pupils.
Mrs Game is currently Chairman of the Thanet Local Children’s Partnership Group, a Kent County Council representative on the Margate Town Deal Board, and a member of the Ageless Thanet Governance Board. She is also involved with many local community and voluntary groups across the Isle of Thanet.
County Councillor for Maidstone South East since 2009, new KCC Vice-Chairman Gary Cooke holds a range of County Council committee, and outside body, appointments.
Mr Cooke is also Chairman of the Maidstone Local Children’s Partnership Board and chairs Kent County Council’s Electoral and Boundary Review Committee.
A retired Insurance Executive with a specialty in aviation and satellite underwriting, the Conservative Member served as a District Councillor between 1979 and 1987, when he was a Member of Sevenoaks District Council, serving on all major committees.
A current trustee of Maidstone’s healthy living centre Fusion, and the Vinters Valley Nature Reserve, Gary Cooke is currently also an elected Maidstone Borough Councillor representing the Shepway South Ward.