Carol Viney

I don’t know what I was expecting. Well, yes, I do – I was expecting to meet a rather loud, bossy woman. In fact I found Carol to be absolutely charming, not bossy at all and even on the quiet(ish) side!

Born in Sonning Common, she went to Stoke Row Primary school and now lives, with husband Mike and one daughter, in Stoke Row where they have been since building their own house 13 years ago. Their other daughter lives with them part-time and their son lives, with his wife and children, in France.

Her parents were not political but had what she describes as a ‘can-do’ attitude to life. Her mother, in particular, would encounter a problem and simply set-to to solve it. She was, undoubtedly, Carol’s role model.

A statistician by profession, her own career had to take a back seat as the family lived overseas for many years due to her husband’s career. Upon their return to the UK and the area, she became involved in local politics, first as a member of Sonning Common Parish Council, then as its Chair and lastly, after some arm-twisting, as a County Councillor. She finds the work rewarding and enjoyable and, although in her 60s, she has no plans to retire yet.

She sits on various committees, spends around one day a month in full Council meetings, attends briefings and yet still makes time to respond to individuals that appeal to her for help. She has dealt with parents with specific concerns about their child’s schooling and deals with many problems concerning our roads, e.g. accidents, speed limits, road signs and, of course, our potholes. Parish Councils too, approach her for assistance. She fought hard to keep Sonning Common Library open and she is currently actively involved on the management committee to retain the Edge Youth Club.

She is a member of the Conservative party but has never had ambitions to join national politics; it is purely local politics and her own area that interest her. She enjoys helping people and solving problems – all stemming, she believes, from the family can-do approach. That she followed her brother into local politics was less direct influence, more a co-incidence – simply a result of their upbringing.

Determined to be a modern woman, she is delighted with the Kindle electronic reader that she received as a Christmas present as it allows her to indulge in her love of reading easily. Never happy sitting still, she can carry her Kindle with a choice of electronic books with her at all times.

Normal holidays will be going to France to see her three granddaughters – but craftily she and Mike go in their camper van so that they can retreat to privacy at night! They are wondering where to go next and, having toured the United States a few years ago, feel that now Spain beckons both them and their camper van.

The one local issue that has had Carol’s attention for many years, and still does, is retaining a clear boundary between the South Oxfordshire villages and Reading – she would hate our area to become a suburb. She intends to carry on fighting!

Rita Hadgkiss