Simon Rake is one of the new crop of Liberal Democrat South Hams District Councillors.

He represents Blackawton and Stoke Fleming but he is not completely new to politics having been a parish councillor for the past 12 years and latterly Chairman.

Simon is a linguist: ‘‘I used to live in Paris and have spent the past 25 years as a translator specialising in finance and economics.’’

Before this Simon studied theatre at Dartington College and even had a stand-up comedy act.

He did various secretarial work before moving to Paris and doing a variety of jobs before joining the bank Societe Generale where he edited research and was trained as a financial analyst.

Simon and his wife moved to Devon in 1996 and have two sons.

His interest in the community sparked his interest in politics: ‘‘I was always very involved in the local community and became a member of the parish councillor,” he said.

‘‘Julian Brazil (now Leader of SHDC) approached me and asked if I would be interested in standing for the District Council four years ago.

‘‘I missed out by 11 votes but managed to get in this time’’

‘‘The Liberal Democrats most aligned with my views but I’m very much interested in the community focus.”

‘He has two main passions as hobbies — - walking and bridge: ‘‘The great thing about living in the South Hams is that you can stick a pin in the map and if you go there you will find treasures and treats.

‘‘My love of walking also helped me when I was out campaigning as I visited some pretty remote places and people were often very surprised to see me. Nothing beats old fashioned shoe leather.’’

Simon said his first priority is housing: “We are facing a crisis and this means that key workers such as teachers, nurses, firefighters and police can’t find an affordable place to live,” he said.

‘‘My second priority is biodiversity and climate change. It’s vital to fight global warming and look after our planet.

‘‘Thirdly the council needs to improve the way it communicates with the electorate.”

Simon added: ‘‘Proportional representation would be a game changer for everyone who is a democrat. Never mind a liberal democrat. Everyone’s vote would count.”