HAMPSHIRE County Council has welcomed its first new senior coroner in 28 years.

Following the retirement of Grahame Short, Chris Wilkinson has taken up the position. He has spent years of his career as assistant coroner in East and West Sussex, as well as being a partner in a private law firm.

Chris Wilkinson said: “I am absolutely delighted and immensely proud to be taking on the role of Hampshire’s senior coroner. I am committed to a vision of excellence.

"By seeking to keep families of the bereaved at the heart of the coronial service, I aim to ensure that those affected by death and loss are recognised fully and appropriately in their grief and that the process of the investigation of the death can continue to be delivered in a caring and empathetic manner at all levels.

"I am keen to build on and develop an efficient, accessible, just and high-quality service to carry Hampshire’s coroner service into a new era."

The news comes as Hampshire’s four coroner jurisdictions are under consultation to be merged into one new service, to provide a more consistent and high-performing service across the entire county.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans, said: "This is a very significant and exciting appointment as it represents the potential for a much more joined up approach to Hampshire’s coroner service.

"Chris has a wealth of experience and expertise that he brings to this role, and we look forward to seeing the coroner’s service develop under his trusted leadership."