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Chairman of the council

The Chairman of the Council is the council's civic head and the first citizen of the New Forest. The current chairman is Cllr David Hawkins.

Chairman Cllr David Hawkins

Biography

David was born in Perivale, West London and was brought up in Greenford, Middlesex.

After leaving secondary school, David became an apprentice for the EMI company specialising in site maintenance. EMI made everything from records to cabinets and the site maintenance team required a wide range of skills to keep it running. David worked for them for ten years before moving on to the same role for the Gallaher tobacco company. He remained there for thirty years rising to become the head of the site maintenance department.

In 1977 David married Trish. The following year they had twins, a son and daughter.

After being made redundant at the age of 58, by Gallaher tobacco, David started working for a friend as a coach driver. Their son had moved to New Milton and David and Trish became frequent visitors to the area. The location of the town between the sea and the New Forest and the easy road and rail connections appealed to them. In 2004 they decided to move to New Milton.

David has always volunteered and taken on roles that are of benefit to the community. As a teenager, he had been a Cub then a Scout and a member of the Boys' Brigade. David thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the opportunities that the Boys' Brigade and the Scouting movement gave him. He went on to become a Cub and Scout leader and later a District Commissioner, overseeing scout groups in his area. This work ensured that young people had the opportunity to develop and gain life experience that they may have otherwise missed out on.

David had been a Justice of the Peace in London and continued to carry out that role in the Magistrates' court in Lyndhurst until his 70th birthday, when he was obliged to stand down.

After being encouraged by the late Paul Woods, a former Councillor of both New Milton Town Council and New Forest District Council, in 2010 David successfully stood for election for New Milton Town Council. In 2019 David was successful in being elected to the Milford Ward of New Forest District Council and was then re-elected in 2023 to the newly formed Milford and Hordle Ward.

David brings extensive experience to the role of Chairman of the Council, having served as New Milton's Town Mayor from 2014 to 2017 and again from 2023 to 2024.

In his spare time, David enjoys spending time with his family.

The role of the Chairman

District councils are required by law to elect a chairman each year by all members of the council. The Chairman of the Council will not necessarily be a member of the majority political group on the council. As the chair of Full Council meetings, he or she is expected to be completely impartial in this role.

The Chairman is the council's civic head and, as the first citizen of the district, takes precedence within the district over everyone except Their Majesties The King and Queen, or Their representative (usually the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Hampshire). At events arranged by or on land owned by Hampshire County Council, the Chairman of the County Council takes precedence.

As the council's civic head, the Chairman's duties include:

  • welcoming members of the Royal Family when they visit the district
  • receiving dignitaries and other visitors
  • hosting civic functions
  • attending numerous local events, large and small.

The Vice-Chairman can deputise for the Chairman and performs similar duties.

Find out more about the Chairman's engagements.

The Chairman's chosen charities

To follow.

If you are interested in making a donation or helping to raise funds for the Chairman's charities, contact:

Sue Jennings
Business Support Officer
Email: chairman@newforest.gov.uk

Chairman's engagements

Invite the Chairman of the Council to a local event or function.

Previous Chairmen of the Council

Previous Chairmen dating back to the Council's formation in 1974.

Vice Chairman of the council

The Vice-Chairman deputises for the Chairman and performs similar duties.

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