The Current Council

The Current council came into being in May 2024  following the local council election. Details of their Declarations of Interest are now held centrally by Dorset Council and can be viewed here 


Councillor R Rowe  -Chairman

I have lived in Okeford Fitzpaine since 2009 and originally came to Dorset to work with cancer projects across the county. I currently work part time as a writer and am an NCTJ trained journalist. My work includes reporting on issues such as housing, heritage, science, local businesses, and rural issues which has given me significant insight into the challenges and opportunities of living and working in North Dorset. I’m currently commissioned to write non fiction books for a major publisher. I also help organise the annual Sturminster Newton Literary Festival.

I’m originally from Cornwall and trained as a nurse in London specialising in heart disease. During my career I have worked as a ward sister in coronary care and accident and emergency in Birmingham, managed a national project on nursing, and worked on major healthcare programmes including research, preventing cancer and diabetes, and setting up new services.

I enjoy walking, writing and travelling and have visited over 70 countries but nothing beats the view from the top of Okeford Hill. Okeford Fitzpaine is a wonderful parish to live and I am looking forward to helping shape the future with the community.



Councillor Charlotte Read  Vice Chairman


I have lived in Okeford Fitzpaine since birth and purchased my house five years ago, my ancestors can be dated back hundreds of years in Okeford and my immediate family all live in the village.

I work full time as an accountant and am also the treasurer for St Andrews, I enjoy netball and play for a local netball club and am also the secretary for the league.  I enjoy country life and like many of the old traditions including hearing the church bells, I bell ring at St Andrews but I also travel to the other local village churches ringing.

I hope I can bring a younger prospective and different ideas to the parish council whilst maintaining the history and continuing to keep the community spirit alive, making Okeford a wonderful place to live for all ages.


Councillor Rachel Chenery

My husband and I moved to North Dorset six years ago, we love this hidden area of the county and never wish to leave.  On moving to Okeford Fitzpaine,I enjoyed settling into the village, volunteering at the Mud Pie Café and trying my hand at bell ringing.

I was the Chair of the Fippenny Garden Club for three years, sustaining its existence during Covid and the ensuring lockdowns. We now live in Belchalwell. I am approaching retirement, and wish to contribute my services to the community.

Having worked all my life as a professional musician, I have travelled the world, and seen many different cultures. Closer to home, through my orchestra’s outreach programme, I have worked with children, the elderly, the disabled, and the homeless.



Councillor Sue Finklaire

After spending a decade promoting women’s magazines, then managing my own dressmaking business for 30 years, my husband Pete and I moved to the village in 2016 with the intention to ‘retire’.

Motivated to engage with the local community, I took over running of the MUD PIE CAFE in 2018, with the help of 16 volunteers. I organized FITNESS CLASSES, YOGA, and TAI CHI at the village hall, initiated and still run the monthly FILM NIGHT and most recently established, and lead the monthly women’s group, W.O.O.F. now in it’s  third year.

During the pandemic, I led an S.O.S. GROUP for vulnerable villagers, operated a home lending library, and launched the ONLINE AUCTION. This auction has raised over £17,000 for local projects and continues to gain popularity.

As Chair of the VILLAGE COMMUNITY GROUP  for the past two years, I look forward to now taking on additional new challenges as a member of the Parish Council, looking after Highways and as a member of the Planning team.  I commit to prioritizing engagement with parishioners to effectively address their concerns.


Councillor Stephen Corben

I was borne in the house that I now live in with my wife Helen in Castle Avenue. I attended the village school as did my six brothers and three sisters and also both my parents. My mu was born here and my dad came to the village when his dad was the village policeman I the 1930s.. My trade is cabinet making which I have done all my working life and I was first elected in  2004 . This parish is a lovely place to live as is many parts of our county and as a parish councillor I intend to do my best to keep it a nice place to live for everyone.

I am currently the Chairman of the village football club which was formed in 1900.

If any parishioners wish to contact me regarding any village matters please do I will do my best to give a fair balanced view .


Councillor F Light

I was born in Exeter, Devon. I have lived in Okeford Fitzpaine with my partner, Vanessa, for 14 years. Many of you will know me from the Mud Pie Cafe. I served in the Royal Air Force for 12 years followed by 12 years in the Army. My first posting was to Blandford Camp with the Royal Corps of Signals. After my army service I bought a house in Poole. I became a driving instructor forming the New Driver Schools of Motoring in a partnership. After selling the business I became a bus driver working for Damory Buses where I met Vanessa with whom I took up residence in Okeford Fitzpaine in 2007. I fell in love with this beautiful village, joining the local u3a (University of the Third Age) and taking part in community activities. I feel that I can give good service to the parish and its residents of all ages. My concerns are;­

  • The state of hedges, pavements and roads,
  • Planning and infrastructure (including large scale development),
  • Public services (particularly bus services)



Sam Smith Parish Clerk