Councillor Lynn Munro insists she’s “not really political” – but she is passionate about the town of Bo’ness, where she has lived for 25 years.
As her accent suggests, Bo’ness is not her home town. Lynn was born and brought up in Crosshills, a small Yorkshire village close to Skipton, where “everyone knew everyone else”.
“I grew up in a household where if you live somewhere you put something back,” she said, describing her route to the job.
When her husband Trevor’s work as an engineer first brought them to Scotland they lived in Edinburgh for eight years – “I don’t think a soul spoke to us in that time,” she remembers.
And when Lynn got a job in Falkirk they looked for somewhere that was suitable for them both to commute.
The house she chose was big enough to run as a bed and breakfast, something she’d always fancied doing.
It was in Bo’ness – and she quickly grew to love the town and particularly its strong sense of community, which she became part of.
As well as the B&B, she also ran an antiques shop.
“When you run a shop you get to know what’s going on,” she said. “You also understand the challenges facing the community.”
One of the challenges she could see first-hand was a lack of people shopping locally. She organised a successful Hallowe’en event, which led to more events that brought the community together – and into Bo’ness town centre businesses.
She also spoke up against regeneration plans that included six-storey flats on the shore, and campaigned to save Kinneil Museum when it was threatened with closure.
As a consequence she and former councillor Adrian Mahoney were among those who set up the Friends of Kinneil. Increasingly, she began to feel that the council in Falkirk was not listening to people in Bo’ness and she stood for election. In the chamber, she is not fond of political bickering.
Her job, she believes, is to hold officers to account by asking questions: have they done what they said they would do, and are we using our money in the best way possible?
She says she is genuinely surprised to find herself leading the Conservative group on Falkirk Council, following the resignation of long-serving leader Malcolm Nicol, but she’s up for the challenge. She said: “I want us to focus on the basics. I want departments to do the ordinary, everyday things well. If you do the basics well, the rest happens.”
Councillor Munro represents Bo’ness alongside SNP member Anne Ritchie and Labour member David Aitchison.
Meanwhile, at Falkirk Council, work has been ongoing to reduce the ever-increasing bill for drugs dished out by GPs in Falkirk and the Forth Valley area – and patients can play their part too.
Members of Falkirk’s Integrated Joint Board were told that there were real savings to be made through changes such as swapping costly drugs for less expensive drugs that were just as effective.
But while the cost of prescriptions for common drugs, such as paracetamol and aspirin, might have hit the headlines recently, it could actually cost more to stop GPs prescribing them.