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Jenny retires from St Peter Port

 

Jenny Tasker is a true woman in public life. Even before she was a head teacher, accredited guide, committee member, Douzenier, non-States member, Constable and Deputy in Guernsey, she spent 21 years involved in the governing of three schools in Southampton.

This month Jenny stepped down as Constable and Douzenier for St Peter Port parish, after first joining the Douzaine nearly 30 years ago.

At the age of 85 she is finally going to take some time for herself after serving her community for most of her adult life.

We spoke to Jenny about her life, her career and her dedication to public service:

 

Life before Guernsey

Jenny Tasker was born and brought up in Benfleet, near Southend, in Essex. After two years at teacher training college, her first school was in Sutton in South London. She shared a flat with two other girls near Clapham Junction and joined the Goldsmiths Choral Union, singing at the Proms and in St Paul’s cathedral. Between 1971 and 1976 she studied for and achieved an Open University BA .

Later Jenny moved to Southampton and was Secretary of the local Books for Children group, organising visits from authors.

Moving to the island

Jenny came to Guernsey in 1986 to be Head of La Mare De Carteret Secondary School. It was her first headship – there had never been a female head of a mixed secondary school in Guernsey before. Even the primary schools all had male heads, apart from the nuns.

“La Mare was lovely,” says Jenny. “Lovely staff. It was fun. We did daft things, like dressing up.” She loved Guernsey’s traditions and history, training to be a Bronze Guide.

First election to the parish

Jenny always got involved, wherever she lived. From her first arrival in Guernsey, she attended St Peter Port parish meetings, asking detailed questions, particularly about the amounts given to schools by the parish so they could buy books. “After being a pain in the neck for several years, they asked me to join,” she jokes.

Jenny was first elected as a St Peter Port Douzenier in 1995 and then became Constable when she retired from La Mare in 2001. She also represented St Peter Port parish on school committees for many years.

Additional committee roles

As well as her parish roles, from the mid-90s to the early 2000s Jenny was in demand to join various committees, starting with the Strategic Policy Forum, led by Stuart Falla. In 2000, she was invited to join the Audit Commission, an independent group that scrutinised States spending. “But the Audit Commission was got rid of – it asked questions – and was replaced by the Public Accounts Committee which had few teeth”. As well as the Public Accounts Committee, she was a non-States member on the Home Department and the Island Development Committee.

In addition, Jenny was very active in the voluntary sector, serving as Secretary of Soroptimists International, Chair of the Sarnia Trefoil Guild, Chair of the local branch of Save the Children and Vice-President of the Chest and Heart Association.

Standing for Deputy

In 2005, St Peter Port Deputy, Mike Burbridge, died, triggering a by-election. Jenny was elected to replace Mike, topping the poll. She served in the States for seven and a half years until April 2012.

Jenny was on three committees throughout her time in office – the Island Development Committee (which became the Environment Department in 2008), Home Department and Education Department. She was Deputy Minister of Environment for several years and had a brief spell as Deputy Minister of Education from October 2011 to April 2012.

As a States Deputy, she attended a number of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meetings, leading the delegations in Guernsey, Tanzania and the Isle of Man, and also attending the Nigeria meeting and the 100th Anniversary of the CPA in London.

For the majority her time in the States Jenny remained a St Peter Port Constable and Douzenier. But she was replaced as Constable by Dennis Le Moignan in 2011 and lost her Douzenier seat the following year.

Returning to the Douzaine

After defeat in the 2012 general election, Jenny rejoined St Peter Port as Constable and Douzenier in 2015. She took a break from being Constable in 2021, returning in 2023, working in partnership with Zoe Lihou.

Jenny’s dedication to St Peter Port and to her adopted island cannot be faulted and we wish her every happiness in her well-deserved retirement from parish life.

 

From the Guernsey Press on Saturday 18 May 2024

 

Guernsey’s iconic women of the future?

Thank you for nominating a young woman or girl for our future iconic Guernsey women campaign to celebrate International Women’s Day!

Nominations close on Sunday 6 March at 17.00.

Please fill in the details below.

miriam-makeba-SA

Miriam Makeba - South Africa

Nominated by: Christine James

Zenzile Miriam Makeba (1932 to 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. In 2020 she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 women of the century. 

South Africa is ranked 12th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 45.8% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from South Africa? Please email hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from South Africa in Guernsey.

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The original image “The Hague Jazz 2008 – Miriam Makeba” by Haags Uitburo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 

jacinda-adern-2

Jacinda Ardern - New Zealand

Nominated by: Martin Lock

Jacinda Ardern (born 1980) has served as prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017. In 2019, she led the country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, rapidly introducing strict gun laws in response, and throughout 2020 she directed the country’s widely praised response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ardern was the world’s second elected head of government to give birth in office when her daughter was born in 2018. ‘An inspiring Prime Minister who brought a nation together with true leadership, empathy and compassion.’

New Zealand is ranked 4th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 48.3% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Other iconic women: Dame Whina Cooper, nominated by Claire Fisher, and Kate Sheppard, nominated by Anna Cooper.

Are you from New Zealand? You may be interested in joining the ANZACs in Guernsey Facebook group

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