The Chief Officer at Cheshire Association of Local Councils was invited to tell the story of her unusual rise to fame at the AGM of Shropshire charity Community Resource.
The event was held at Bayston Hill Memorial Hall and Jackie recalled the surreal moment in February 2021 that she found out the Zoom recording of a December 2020 Handforth Parish Council meeting had gone viral.
She said: “I received a message saying ‘you’re trending number three in the country!’ but I didn’t understand what that meant. I then had another message saying ‘you’re trending number one!’, but changing the number didn’t help me much!”
Jackie told how she was frantically trying to find out what ‘trending’ meant and why it was happening, all while her door was continuously being knocked on by reporters eager to speak to her.
She shared how she then utilised the spotlight to shine it on the importance of local councils. She said: “We were lucky to have the attention; to talk about what local councils do. It was a wonderful opportunity to engage with really different audiences.”
Her parting words, about getting involved with local councils, were that “the biggest problem is apathy”. She urged people to find out more about the ‘Make a Change’ campaign, which encourages people who are interested in making a positive impact on their community to become a councillor.
Community Resource’s AGM also recognised those already making a positive impact to the community through volunteering, with High Sheriff of Shropshire Selina Graham presenting awards to two of the charity’s volunteers Colin Henderson and Peter Walters.
Chair of Community Resource Hugh Strickland and new CEO Bev Baxter also shared the organisation’s achievements over the past year and its plans for the future.
Bev said: “Our AGM this year was a fantastic celebration of communities helping each other. I’d like to thank Jackie for kindly giving her time to speak to us so passionately about her work and the amazing opportunities she’s had to spread the word about local councils.
“And while we were able to highlight the work of some of our volunteers this week, I’d also like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has given up their time to support our work. It really makes a difference to people’s lives in Shropshire.”