Councillor Dr Lynne Hack has been elected the new mayor of Reigate and Banstead.

Coun Dr Hack, who was elected at the annual council meeting, said she was looking forward to “a very busy and fulfilling year,” which coincides with the 150th anniversary of borough status for the area.

In her inaugural speech as mayor, Coun Dr Hack said: “I am looking forward to a very busy and fulfilling year as mayor of Reigate and Banstead.

“We are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Reigate and Redhill becoming a municipal borough and there will be lots of events to mark the occasion.

“To celebrate our 150 years in existence, I am asking councillors and residents to undertake 150 minutes of volunteering and give something back to our community.

“Each year, we recognise the time and commitment our volunteers contribute at the Volunteer Awards.”

Councillor Steve Farrer was elected deputy mayor at the annual meeting last Thursday (May 23).

Coun Dr Hack named the two charities that she will support during her year in office - Surrey Crimestoppers and The Royal Marsden Hospital.

She said: “My charities for the year are Surrey Crimestoppers, an independent charity enabling people to call and give information about local crime anonymously, and The Royal Marsden Hospital, which researches into the study and treatment of cancer. “I look forward to supporting the work of these charities." Coun Dr Hack's choice of the Royal Marsden Hospital is very much in keeping with her background.

Before developing her interest in local and national politics, she wanted to follow a very different career path as a cancer research scientist.

Her first degree in Genetics, taken at Sheffield University, left her well placed to join the emerging science of Molecular Biology, a discipline that would help explain the genetic flaws concealed within the cancer cell.

These studies began at the prestigious Imperial Cancer Research Fund laboratories in London’s Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Here Coun Dr Hack studied gene alterations in leukaemia cells, before moving to the Medical Oncology Unit of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, and four years of study for her PhD.

She was then recruited to set up a Diagnostic Molecular Biology Laboratory in the Institute of Cancer Research at the Royal Marsden Hospital. Later, she established a Molecular Cytogenetics Laboratory using her knowledge of molecular biology to refine the ways in which chromosomes could be analysed in samples from a wide range of patients.

In the field of cancer genetics, Coun Dr Hack has published more than 60 scientific papers, and has lectured at international conferences on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Her most recent work has focused on the new field of personalised medicine – the use of genetic analysis to identify the best possible treatment for each individual cancer patient.

Coun Dr Hack began her political career in 1999, when she was elected to her first term as borough councillor for Banstead Village Ward, a seat that she has held to the present. Since 1999, she has served on every committee of the council, has held the Cabinet Portfolios for Personnel, Organisational Development, Housing, and Planning, and in 2007, was elected leader of the council.

She has said one of her proudest achievements is the restoration of the first floor of the town hall on its 100th anniversary – a project which won two awards. Coun Dr Hack was also a founding member of the St Margaret’s Church Youth Group.

Born in Chipstead and moving to Banstead when she was eleven, she has lived in the borough virtually all her life. Coun Dr Hack is married to Ian, a partner in a city firm of chartered surveyors, who is also native to the borough, and they have one son Matthew, who is currently studying economics at the University of Kent.