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Biography of the mayor

The mayor of Cambridge is Councillor Gerri Bird.

Gerri was born on 11 November 1955 in a Magdalene Home in Cork, Republic of Ireland.  At the age of 10 months, she contracted polio and was admitted to hospital where she remained until she was 7 years old.

Upon leaving hospital, it wasn’t possible to find her mother, as she had been deported to England. The nuns, however, managed eventually to trace her living in Cambridge, so Gerri was brought over to the City by the nuns. Unfortunately the reunion didn’t work out, and Gerri was taken to the Midfield Children’s Home in Oakington for fostering.

The Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs in Hills Road, Cambridge, issued a notice that a disabled child was in need of a home, and a couple came forward to foster Gerri.    They formally adopted her when she was 12 years of age and, for the first time, she was able to enter main stream school, St. Bede’s School, Birdwood Road, Cambridge, where she learned to read and write. Gerri left school at the age of 15, after just 3 years formal schooling.

And then her life changed. She had her two wonderful daughters who have given her eight beautiful grandchildren, and now she has a beautiful great granddaughter who is 4 years old.

19 years ago, Gerri found her family through the internet, but sadly her mother had died 6 months before.  Gerri discovered that she has 4 brothers and a sister living in New Zealand, Australia and Canada all of whom she has since met. She has also found, and visited, some family in Ireland.

In her adult life, Gerri has been a constant campaigner for the rights of disabled people in order to bring about change and independence. She worked for Disability Cambridgeshire and has been involved with a number of organisations that give support and advice to disabled people for over 39 years and is the Cambridge City Council Disability Lead.

Gerri unsuccessfully contested seats in the local elections for a number of years prior to being elected as a Councillor for East Chesterton Ward in 2011.

She has served on the Housing Scrutiny Committee, Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee, and Licensing Committee, and has supported the Mayoralty in the role of Ceremonial Bailiff and was the Mayor of Cambridge in 2014/15.

Councillor Bird’s partner, Alan Pooley JP, will accompany Gerri to the majority of her Mayoral engagements.