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Cambridge City Council

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Biography of the mayor

The mayor of Cambridge is Councillor Mark Ashton.

Mark (also known as 'the man in shorts') was born in Rochdale in 1951 as one of five brothers. Married to Barbara whom he met on a blind date. They married in 1972 at Cambridge Registry Office and celebrate their Golden wedding anniversary this year.

They have two children. Son Adrian, a self-employed Social Enterprise Consultant, lives in Burnley with Zoe and 3 grandsons. Daughter Anne is a primary school teacher in Rutland and lives with her husband Neil and two grandsons.

After comprehensive school Mark attended Hollings College Manchester and studied Meat Technology, graduating with certificates from the Institute of Meat, Royal Institute Public Health and Hygiene, Royal Society Health and Diploma from Hollings College.

During four years at college, Mark supported himself by working in the cotton mills, as a postman, and a construction worker on the M62.

After graduation, whilst contemplating his future, Mark worked for Wardle Urban District Council with roles as Meat Inspector, Drain Digger, Dustbin man, night soil operative.

Thereafter, he took the position of Junior Production Controller at W J Adkins Ltd of Cherry Hinton, responsible for sausage and burger production, followed by a moved up to Production Controller, but after two years he wanted a change and was appointed Authorised Meat Inspector for Cambridge City Council who had three abattoirs in the city at that time. This was for six years and then he moved into the private sector working for Major Food Ingredient Suppliers.

His initial role was Technical Advisor covering firms in East Anglia and developing products with them alongside major supermarkets.

Progression followed to Key Account Executive, then Key Account Manager responsible for million-pound accounts such as Bernard Matthews, Birds Eye. During this time, Mark won the inaugural Key Account Executive of the Year.

He was then headhunted by a rival, taking the role of Divisional Sales Manager with responsibility for the UK and Europe.

Further moves followed for Mark but he remained living in Cherry Hinton throughout. Finally, Mark decided to step back from the food industry and began to use his skills to help small firms and worked at Daily Bread Cambridge helping them turn from the red into the black.

After making a full recovery from viral meningitis, he decided to step back from full time work and was elected a City Councillor for Cherry Hinton 11 years ago.

During his time on the Council, Mark has sat on all the committees except licensing and has been Chair of South Area Committee.

He became a Christian in his late 40s and was Deacon for 8 years whilst at Cherry Hinton Baptist Church.

Mark helps with a pre-school group, Barn Owls at Barnwell Baptist Church, and volunteers at Darwin Nurseries.

Mark was previously a trustee of Social Firms UK and Social Enterprise East of England, currently he is chair of the Cherry Hinton Residents Association and director of Cherry Hinton Community Benefit Society.

Mark made a full recovery from Bowel Cancer 4 years ago that entailed a 6 week stay at Addenbrookes following emergency surgery after routine operation.

He enjoys spending time with his family and gardening is a great relaxation for him.

Mark was also a runner up in a World Mushy Pea eating competition.

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