Jill Clark defeated former Elizabeth College vice-principal Rick James in a vote from the States of Election, involving jurats, law officers, deputies and parish officials, by 53 votes to 34.
Mrs Clark was being proposed for the first time, having been persuaded to consider the role.
‘A couple of jurats and a good friend of mine had mentioned it to me and I didn’t really ever think it would be something that people would want me to do,’ she said, ‘but after speaking to a few people, they said “go for it”.’
She then researched the role and applied accordingly. However, she said she was under no illusion as to the challenges jurats can be called upon to confront.
‘I’ve been warned that you have to listen to – and potentially see – some fairly gruesome things, but I’ve done a lot of work with the Child Youth Community Tribunal, dealing with families who are very vulnerable, so I’m hoping I’m going to be used to it,’ she said.
In proposing Mrs Clark, Deputy Heidi Soulsby described her as ‘an ambassador for Guernsey’ through her chairing of Face Equality International – an alliance of charities and support groups around the world which seek to improve the lives of people with facial differences and their families.
Her involvement in the alliance – and previously with the charity Changing Faces – had come about as a result of her own experience of enduring a prolonged series of surgical procedures over a period of 10 years.
Deputy Soulsby described the surgical journey Mrs Clark had been on, including having her skull rebuilt and her face remodelled several times, employing the use of 300 pieces of titanium. These surgeries had resulted from an accident involving a speedboat, which also prompted a long-running legal case.
Speaking at her home, after formally receiving the news of her election from HM Sheriff Jason Savident, she said the accident had made her ‘a lot more determined’.
‘I think I had a new appreciation of the value of life because I very nearly died,’ she said, ‘and I just wanted to make sure that my experiences were put to good use.’
Mrs Clark will have to give up her involvement with the CYCT and her committee involvement with the Institute of Directors, but hopes to continue with her various training roles, including at the Guernsey Training Agency.
Deputy Soulsby had highlighted Mrs Clark’s community involvement, including being on the judging panel of the Community Foundation Awards, helping to raise £3m. for Grow Ltd, and contributing to the organisation of this summer’s Island Games.
Seconding the nomination was Chief Minister Peter Ferbrache, who noted her experience in business with Nestle, Rowntree and Specsavers, where she became director of customer services.