A SCIENTIST who helped prove the link between smoking and lung cancer is the new Mayor of Taunton Deane.

Cllr Vivienne Stock-Williams took up her year in office after being selected by fellow councillors at Taunton Deane Borough Council's annual meeting at Wellington School on Thursday.

Her chosen charities are the Children’s Hospice South West, Reminiscence Learning and the Somerset National Gardens Scheme.

Mrs Stock-Williams grew up in Essex and on leaving school became a student nurse at St George’s Hospital, London, which led to a career in the medical research field.

She worked at the Chester Beatty Cancer Research Institute before joining a Medical Research Council epidemiological team at London University, working to prove the causal link between smoking and lung cancer.

She was among several members of the team invited to move to Oxford University to continue their epidemiological cancer research work, where she remained for 14 years, taking time out to study for a psychology degree and returning to lead a team studying the long-term effects of hormone replacement therapy.

The family moved north when her husband Ian’s employment took him to Cheshire, where they brought up their son on the family smallholding.

In 1999, Mr Stock-Williams work brought the family to the Wellington area, where Mrs Stock-Williams became an advisor at the Citizens Advice Bureau for several years – first, as a volunteer, subsequently as a staff member and latterly as a trustee.

In 2003, she was elected to Wellington Town Council and in 2012 became the town’s first woman Mayor.

She was elected to the Deane in 2007, representing Wellington Rockwell Green and West Ward.

She was the executive member for corporate resources from 2011 to 2015, when she was elected as Deputy Mayor.

She returned to her medical roots as the authority's first member of the Somerset Health and Wellbeing Board when responsibility for Public Health was returned to local government.

She is a governor at Wellington’s almshouses, the Hospital of Sir John Popham, and Wellington School.

Mrs Stock-Williams is also the town council’s representative on the Wellington One Team, and a member of the inter-generational Archie Project Steering Group, which aspires to make Wellington a dementia-friendly town.

She succeeds Cllr Marcia Hill as Mayor.

The Deputy Mayor for the year is Cllr Hazel Prior-Sankey, who was Mayoress in 2002-2003 when her husband, Adrian, serviced as the first citizen.

Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow said: ‘‘Taking on the role of Mayor of Taunton Deane is a serious commitment and important for the whole community.

"Vivienne Stock-Williams has a superb track record in terms of the roles she has already undertaken for Taunton Deane and Wellington Town Council as well as much experience in her working life in research and health and wellbeing.

"I have no doubt that she will make an excellent ambassador for Taunton Deane.

"I wish her all the very best in her new and exciting role.’