Orkney Islands Council has named Heather Woodbridge as Scotland's youngest local authority leader.

The 29-year-old also becomes the first woman to lead the island council, almost 50 years after the first council was elected.

Ms Woodbridge grew up in the community of North Ronaldsay, attended the island primary school and then Kirkwall Grammar School.

She then studied Ecology at the University of Stirling before moving home to Orkney after she completed her studies.

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In October 2020, the then 26-year-old was elected as the youngest councillor in the history of Orkney Islands Council following a by-election which was called following the passing of her father, Councillor Kevin Woodbridge.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Orkney Council confirmed: "Councillor Heather Woodbridge has been elected as Political Leader at #Orkney Islands Council, with Sandy Cowie to become Deputy Leader.

"Heather was elected unopposed after Councillor Lindsay Hall withdrew his candidacy.

"She was nominated by Councillor Leslie Manson, with Councillor Duncan Tullock seconding the nomination."


Responding to news of Ms Woodbridge's appointment as leader of Orkney Islands Council, Cosla President, Councillor Shona Morrison, said:  “I would like to extend my congratulations to Heather Woodbridge on becoming the new Leader of Orkney Islands Council (OIC). Not only is she one of the youngest Council Leaders in Scotland, she is the first female OIC Leader, almost 50 years after the first OIC was elected.

“Heather sits on Cosla’s Barriers to Elected Office Group where she is a valued member and contributes significantly on issues like Councillors safety and has views on being a young woman in a rural ward. It is good to see her breaking down the barriers further and I wish her well in her new role and look forward to working with her starting at Cosla Leaders meeting on Friday.”