Former PA to Deep Purple’s lead singer is Cranbrook’s new community development worker

PUBLISHED: 14:20 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:20 03 December 2019

New community development worker Aynsley Jones. Picture: Contributed

New community development worker Aynsley Jones. Picture: Contributed


A former personal assistant to the lead singer of Deep Purple has taken the job of community development worker in Cranbrook.

As well as assisting Ian Gillan for a year in 2007, Aynsley Jones has worked in Ethiopia and China, run a school in Italy and - more recently - co-managed the Axminster Health and Well-being Centre.

In her new role, she said she wants to help make Cranbrook 'a healthy, happy, safe and vibrant town, while contributing to the residents' health and well-being'.

"I will use the town's assets to improve the quality of community life, and assist the town council and partner organisations to work together for the benefit of the local population," she said.

"As part of this vision I would like everyone in Cranbrook to feel they are part of a vibrant and prosperous community, regardless of their background.

"In this role, I will be facing many positive challenges, which add to the diversity of a community."

The provision of youth facilities in Cranbrook, including the long-awaited skate park, has proved difficult over the last few years.

While Cranbrook Town Council has been keen to move the project forward, the district council has been reluctant to decide on a location 'in isolation', before the locations had been decided for other developments and facilities which could be affected by the skate park.

But Mrs Jones is determined to find solutions.

She said: "As many of us know, the delivery of additional community facilities is just one of the challenges we are confronting, but this doesn't mean we cannot find other ways to deliver activities.

"I am also really looking forward to working with the Cranbrook youth to discover ways in which they can grow safely, actively listening to parents, increasing social groups, accessing funding for under-represented sectors of the community and most importantly having a lot of fun along the way."

Cranbrook residents had the chance to meet Mrs Jones and chat informally about local issues at a community walk on Monday, November 25.

Afterwards she said the event had been a success.

"The community walk was well attended, and all residents were keen to tell us their views about living in Cranbrook," she said.

"All were happy to be living in such a beautiful area. Most of the talks were based on future groups, community development and how residents could become more involved. It was such a success that we will be holding a once a month walk and talk for residents."

The walk was also attended by country park ranger Alice Lloyd, who said: "It was a really lovely evening. There were around 10-12 people who showed up across a range of ages. There were lots of positive vibes and it was great to have a chance to chat with some of the people of Cranbrook about their views."

Local residents can also meet Aynsley at the Christmas lights switch-on on Friday, December 6, at 7.30pm, or email her at to raise any local issues.

She will also be launching a questionnaire on health and wellbeing in early December; it will be available on the town council's website and Facebook page.

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