How Shropshire's Jackie Weaver went from council admin to national treasure in just 18 months

From council administrator to national treasure – it has been an eventful 18 months for Jackie Weaver.

Jackie Weaver appearing on Mastermind
Jackie Weaver appearing on Mastermind

The 63-year-old from Shropshire became an internet sensation with her no-nonsense treatment of misbehaving members of Handforth Parish Council in December 2020.

The meeting was broadcast online because of the coronavirus pandemic and soon spread across the world.

Since then she has embraced the celebrity that has come her way, but at the same time always extolling the virtues of local democracy and the importance of bodies like parish and town councils to the way the UK is run.

She has since released an autobiography You Do Have the Authority Here! and has appeared on quiz shows including Channel 4's Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2021 and Have I Got News for You?

Joking immediately after the release of the clip from the Handforth meeting she joked: "I had a colleague of mine send me a text message which said, 'you're trending number three in the country!' and I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about.

"Believe me: in my whole life, I've never done anything interesting – so the idea that the world was slightly interested was weird... it continues to feel like something that will not be here tomorrow."

Ms Weaver still has her day job with the council, but balances it with life in the spotlight and even hosts her own podcast called Jackie Weaver Has The Authority, in which she met her hero Anton Du Beke.

She says she is keen to show people the merits of bodies like Handforth Parish Council and that being in the public eye helps, although she jokes she is still bitter at being "robbed" when coming second on Celebrity Mastermind.

She said she wants to encourage people of all ages and all backgrounds to get involved in their local councils, adding: "None of us can change the world, but we can change our own back yard. You know what needs fixing in your community and you can have a say."

On he back of her new-found fame, Jackie has fronted a campaign by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) to boost numbers

"You don't need to be politically minded to be involved in local democracy," she said. "We want people to have a stake in their local community. By joining a local parish council, you can get involved in the process.

"You will be well supported. There are lots of Jackie Weavers out there."

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