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Speaker Biography

Mayor Dorothy Thornhill

Mayor Dorothy Thornhill was first elected Mayor of Watford Borough Council in 2002, when she received 72 per cent of the vote, and was subsequently re-elected for a further four year term in 2006 and then again in 2010.

In her first year of office she and her administration overcame a legacy of disastrous financial management, the highest council tax in the County, a damning Audit Commission Report and an unacceptable standard of public services from a Town Hall whose morale had reached rock bottom. Now the Council has a glowing financial record with below inflation council tax rises every year, a rating of ‘good’ by the audit commission, and intends entering the Sunday Times’ best employer award scheme.

Prior to being elected Mayor, Dorothy served as a Lib Dem councillor for the Oxhey ward on Watford Borough Council for ten years, and played a leading role in taking on Labour in their heartland wards and winning seats from them, and in 1998/99, Dorothy was the first ever Lib Dem civic mayor of Watford.

Dorothy was born in Tenby in Wales on general election day 1955, depriving her mother of her first vote. But it wasn’t until the age of 13 that Dorothy discovered her appetite for politics. After losing her job as paper girl because local by-laws prohibited female newspaper deliverers, Dorothy took her case to her local Council. She argued for the by-laws to be changed and succeeded, and was soon reinstated as paper girl.

She was brought up in Preston, and started her working life as a teacher in St Albans, a career that would span over 25 years, until she left her position of Assistant Head Teacher at Watford’s Queens School to become Mayor of Watford Borough Council

Now living in Oxhey, Dorothy has been married to fellow Lib Dem councillor Iain Sharpe for 13 years, and has two adult children. In her spare time Dorothy enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, watching rugby and football and visiting old churches. She is an avid viewer of Coronation Street, and serves as an Honorary Vice-President of Watford Football Club.