The Current Council

The Current council came into being in May 2015 following the general election
Details of their declarations of interest can be found by clicking on their names.

Cllr George Weeks – Chairman

Gw (2)My wife Chris and I have lived at Sheephayes in the village since 1990 and have brought up our two children here. I had previously worked as a senior manager for a number of large international financial institutions for many years before becoming an independent consultant for the past 10 years.

For the past 13 years I have acted as the Parish Council’s independent Internal Auditor, a role that has brought me close to the work of the Council. Now that I have more time to devote the village as a Parish Councillor I am keen to be involved in shaping its future while valuing and preserving its long history.


Cllr Robert Corben – Vice-Chairman

Parish Council representative to the Poor Lands Charity Committee first elected in 1970’s
chair 1979 – 1983 and vice-chair 1983 – 1993

Stephen Corben – Councillor

First elected September 2004.

steve-corben-150x150I was born in Okeford Fitzpaine and attended the village primary school as did my nine brothers and sisters. I have been involved with the village Football Club all my adult life and am currently the Chairman.

I am a member of the newly formed Allotment Group, having been involved with this from the very beginning.  As well as the Football Club and allotments I play for a local skittles team at the village pub.

Okeford Fitzpaine is a great place to live and has a good community spirit as is shown by the number of clubs and organisations in the village.

Beth Fox – Councillor

beth-fox-150x150I was born in Liverpool and trained there as a nurse.  When my children were born I set up my own childrens’ nursery, during that time I also trained as a management accountant.  When my children got older I spent a number of years in senior management roles.

My husband and I then moved to Scotland to farm beef, pigs and sheep.  Whilst there we fostered challenging teenagers using the farm environment to help them back into society.  I also worked as the Chief Executive of the Local Enterprise Trust.

We moved to Okeford common in 1998 where I joined the Dorset Probation Service as the Manager of the education, training and employment of offenders.

I am now semi retired, working two days a week for the Citizens Advice Bureau as finance and Project Manager.  I joined the Okeford Fitzpaine Parish Councll in May 2009 as I felt strongly that democracy should start at grass roots, with the residents of the Parish being involved and having a voice.

Paul Banning – Councillor

Paul Banning was born and lived in NW London in a family of 8 children until graduating in Computing Science at Essex University. Married (wife Karen is part of the team that listens to children read at our school), with 2 children, son lives in Bournemouth, and daughter wherever in the world her jobs take her. As a family we lived in many parts of England before settling in Dorset in 1989, and then moving to Okeford Fitzpaine in 2012.

My career was with Barclays Bank where I fulfilled many roles in branch banking, corporate services, training, (which included managing a large in house training function), project and programme management and the IT Director for Barclays Corporate Bank. But given my educational background I mainly specialised in leading major projects and programmes of change to banking systems across the full spectrum of retail, corporate and investment banking in the UK and globally.

I was fortunate to retire in the early 2000s, before the change in culture that caused the ‘Credit Crunch’ and the resultant upheaval in the industry. For a decade I lived in Spain part of the time, which provided an interesting and at times challenging cultural contrast to the UK.

My leisure activities have generally been sporting, I now play a lot of tennis at Sherborne Tennis Club, where I find my age qualifies me for an increasing number of open age group and veterans representative teams. Since moving to Okeford Fitzpaine I have joined the Village Community Group, enjoy walking with the Fippenny Walkers and cycling with Absolutely Fabulous. But have mainly found myself dedicated to the upkeep and improvement of one of the older listed houses in the village. My other interests are travel, golf, bridge, reading and economics.
More generally, I can often be found walking our(currently golden retriever) dog around Okeford Fitzpaine and the surrounding countryside – which is the real bonus of our village life.

Dilys Gartside – Councillor


Having opted out of grammar school at 16, I learned that one kind person’s actions can change a life and we have a duty to serve each other.  Trained and working by 17 as a legal secretary, I qualified as a solicitor and married later to raise two children while running my own practice.  I experienced and recovered from long term illness which had a profound effect on my attitude to others’ problems.

Always competitive  I was Hampshire 10k road race champion in my 50s and last year pursued my other passion by cycling 1000miles from the Orkneys to Southampton with a friend  camping wild down the length of our beautiful country.

In my early 50s  I retrained as a DfT  Road Cycling Instructor and now deliver Bikeability to adults and children through Dorset to Southampton.

On moving from 30yrs of city life to Dorset in Dec 2013, I felt it right to serve the parishioners of OF when last May produced insufficient candidates to form a council.  I  trust God will continue to guide my actions  words and thoughts.

Rachael Rowe – Councillor

I have lived in Okeford Fitzpaine since 2009 and originally came to Dorset to work with cancer projects across the county. I currently work full time at NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Yeovil and am a programme manager for the major cancer,respiratory and cardiovascular projects and new developments in Somerset. This includes implementing ways of diagnosing cancer earlier and preventing people from having a stroke.

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, worked in a French speaking hospital in Switzerland,and implemented 24 hour heart attack and stroke centres across a county.

I enjoy walking, writing and travelling and have visited over 50 countries but nothing beats the view from the top of Okeford Hill. Okeford Fitzpaine is a wonderful village to live and I am looking forward to helping shape the future with the community.

Sandra Deary – Clerk

sandra-deary-150x150I moved to Dorset in November 2003 when my husband Chris decided to rejoin the Army, as he had spent 5 years here previously he convinced me that Dorset was the best place to live, I can only confirm that for once he was right.

I have been married to Chris for 17 years, I have three sons from a previous marriage and am now the proud grandmother to seven grandsons and one step grandaughter.  Two of my sons have followed their step dad and joined the Army, which although worrying in the present climate, makes me very proud.

As well as being the Clerk to Okeford Fitzpaine Parish Council (I started in October 2009) I also work for North Dorset District Council as a Democratic Services Officer, a job which I have been doing since 2004.