Tributes have been paid to the Mayor of Hertsmere, who has died just months after being elected into the role.

Cllr Cynthia Barker, who became the Borough’s Mayor in June, died following a “period of illness”, Hertsmere Borough Council said last night (September 14).

She had been a borough councillor for Borehamwood’s Kenilworth ward since 2015 and served as Deputy Mayor last year before being elected as Mayor.

The council said that as a mark of respect for Cllr Barker, the council flag is being flown at half-mast outside its civic offices.

Leader of the council Cllr Morris Bright said: “I knew Cynthia as both a colleague and friend. Nothing was ever too much for her. She thrived at being a local councillor, always wanting to help residents with their issues. She left a lasting impression on the council and Borehamwood.

“We are all struggling to take in the sad news at the moment but I am sure we will all remember Cynthia as a kind, wonderful person who was a hard working community representative. My thoughts and prayers go out to Cynthia’s family and friends.”

Cllr Barker was the first Philippines-born elected representative in the borough and committed to doing her utmost to champion equality and diversity for all communities in Hertsmere.

She was also chosen as one of the 100 most influential Filipinas by the Filipina Women’s Network.

Cllr Jeremy Newmark, leader of the Labour group in the borough, said: “It was a privilege to have known and worked with Cynthia. She was a trailblazer and role model for women and minorities in local government. Cynthia was kind and supportive to me personally when I was first elected as a councillor, despite being on opposite sides of the political divide.

“She brought grace and dignity to the office of Mayor but was always approachable and down to earth, particularly when engaging with children and young people. Her commitment to charitable causes, notably the NSPCC and the Rotary Club, was relentless. May her memory continue to inspire us all.”

Cllr Andrew Melville, leader of the Liberal Democrats group, added: “The news is very sad about our dear friend Cynthia. I would just like to say how kind and friendly she was.

“She will be remembered for her warm heart and kindness towards her fellow councillors. I wish to pass on my deepest condolences to her family and friends at this extremely difficult time. May she rest in peace.”

Managing director at the council Sajida Bijle said Cllr Barker “will be greatly missed by us all”.

She said: “My sincere condolences, on behalf of all the staff at Hertsmere Borough Council, are extended to Cynthia’s family and friends.

“I know how honoured she was to be appointed to Deputy Mayor last year and then as Mayor, and how much she enjoyed undertaking a whole host of duties across our communities.”