Family Announces Passing of First Pinay Mayor in England

The family of Cynthia Barker, who made history as the first Filipina mayor of Hertsmere in Hertfordshire, England, announced her passing on September 14. She was 58.

As of press time, the family had not announced the actual cause of her passing but only mentioned that it happened after a bout of ‘serious illness’. Some people are speculating that it might be COVID-19 but her brother, Gene Alcantara, is mum on the details. The family is also asking for prayers and requests that their family be allowed to grieve in private.

Photo credit: Gene Alcantara / Facebook

It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of The Worshipful Hertsmere Mayor Councillor Cynthia Barker following a bout of serious illness,” Gene announced in a Facebook post.

We will be issuing further information in due course, but may we ask please to respect the family’s privacy at this very difficult time. Your prayers for the repose of her soul would however be welcome.

He added that the announcement comes from the Alcantara, Barker, Bartolome, and Kelly families in the United Kingdom.

Photo credit: ABS-CBN News

The bad news is a huge blow to the Pinoy community, particularly because the late Mayor Cynthia made history a number of times as she worked her way from being the first Pinoy elected as councilor in England to becoming deputy mayor to later being elected as mayor.

As the first Pinoy to achieve such a feat, her achievements were celebrated across the world by the Filipino community. Thus, news of her passing reverberated across the community and brought sadness to many.

I think the career in politics was not planned. My mother used to say don’t get involved in politics just work. Go home, work and that was we did. It was not the plan. It wasn’t my aspiration,” she said.

Photo credit: ABS-CBN News

As the daughter of an OFW, she offered this advice to those aspiring to seek greener pastures abroad:

Sa mga parents muna ng mga OFW, ang maipapaalala ko lang is based on my experience: make sure na kapag nag-abroad kayo may family support ang mga naiiwang bata because when going abroad you think you sacrifice but actually, the children suffer just as much,” the late mayor said.

But those challenges helped shaped who she became. She also credits her Filipino roots for the success she enjoyed in England.

This is very important na we acknowledge we are Filipinos because the Philippine heritage is actually my strength,” the late Mayor Cynthia proudly said…