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I was born in 1962 and brought up in a council house in Faxfleet; I went to Howden Comprehensive School, leaving at 16, as my parents could not afford me to stay on….. I served an Apprenticeship at Drax Power Station, attending colleges at Harrogate and Doncaster before qualifying as a mechanical maintenance engineer.
My parents were Liberals - but I saw the error of their ways at a very early age!! ….. I have been a Conservative from as long ago as I care to remember, through the heady days of being constituency Chairman of the Boothferry Young Conservatives in the mid 80’s, including being a member of the panel which originally selected David Davis MP, to now being vice chairman of the Howdenshire Branch, sitting on both the Executive Committee and Campaign Team for our Constituency Party, as well as being a Patron….. This party is my home and nothing would make me more proud than to represent my Community as well as my Party at the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
After the death of my father in 1987, I decided to do something very different - to work in 3rd world development….. I remember having to endure a rather complex selection interview….. I remember being asked “who were my heroes”…….. The panel appeared most shocked when I revealed these to be Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher - and Norman Tebbitt - and to which a rather scruffy, leftward leaning lady retorted, “Well, we normally get people of a more pinkish persuasion here!”
I was offered a posting and spent the next four years in West Africa… For the first two years working for the Overseas Development Agency and, Save the Children introducing technical education into rural secondary schools and the design and construction of buildings.
I spent the second two years working for ActionAid initially designing and then implementing a £200,000 skills training program to provide training for village youth and existing artisans, in their skill area as well as in literacy, numeracy, business skills, and marketing….. Had I done anything like this before? No not really, I learnt how to listen and find answers as I went along! …. Oh!..and I learnt how to speak Mandinka and Wolof!!
In 1992 I returned back to the UK, and did what most 30-year-old men do - I moved back in with my mother living in Newport!
I set up my own business, as something to do whilst I decided on what to do next. Thirteen years later that business is now a successful company employing 8 staff.
I met my wife Nicci a few months after my return and moved to Gilberdyke… We were blessed with the birth of our daughter, Katy in the October of 1998.
Gilberdyke Memorial Hall
In mid 1999 a new committee was formed to run the Gilberdyke War Memorial Hall, after the previous committee stood down after losing a community vote to sell off the Hall for building land….. I was elected to Chair this new organisation from the outset. I spent the next 4 years leading a team of volunteer committee members transforming the Hall into a thriving community resource, generating funds and becoming a self-sustaining business.
I worked with the Parish Council to secure funding for 2 Youth Shelters on the Memorial Hall field….. These proved very successful in giving the youth a place where we want them to congregate - the shelters are cleaned early each morning to remove all the evidence of the night before and have become so successful that the concept is repeated across the East Riding.
Gilberdyke Parish Councillor
I became a Parish Councillor in late 1999, elected as vice chair in 2003 before being elected as Chairman in May 2005….. It was a bold decision for the Parish Council to select me, their youngest member (by half a generation) to lead them….. As Chairman I have modernised the policies and procedures, and been proactive in pursuing issues that make Gilberdyke a better place in which to live.
Under my leadership the Parish Council is now more responsive to Community needs….. I have endeavoured to be a catalyst for others to be creative in putting forward ideas and suggestions, having an open forum for members of the public to speak at the end of each meeting and to listen to and act on their suggestions and views, as well as developing our own ideas….. The Parish Council is to employ a dedicated grants officer to work with organisations operating within the village - to bring more money into the community -
I was originally selected by the Parish Council to become a Community Governor at Gilberdyke School - and after just two years was elected as Chair….. Our proudest achievement has been to see the school lifted into the top 4% of Primary schools in last years OFSTED report….. Working with the Head and Staff we continue with the tasks of implementing the so-called reforms handed down to us by central Government.
Whilst I am Chair, our school will continue with competitive sports, will treat multiculturalism as an understanding of how other cultures live, (rather than a Politically Correct Dogma), we will continue to help those who are gifted and talented to achieve their potential rather than holding them back, those with special needs will get the extra help they require, and for the majority - including my daughter - they will receive the best primary school education we can give them.
My proudest achievement was to devise the Gilberdyke youth project after the community had highlighted youth issues as being their greatest concern…... This is a sustainable project including a purpose built youth building, activities and supervision by youth workers…… There are now in excess of 145 members….. The project gives the youth a sense of belonging, a feeling of ownership, empowerment, and part of the decision-making process. It was a pleasure to lead the team of people who helped me put this project together - but more satisfying to be able pass on the project to that team as my commitments to the Parish Council and School increased.
I want to continue to work with the Gilberdyke youth to develop a youth council or “Parliament” - to bring to them the concept of democracy – to give them a slot at each Parish Council meeting, where they can feel comfortable in bringing forward their concerns, ideas and requests….. This should lead to a bottom up rather than a top down approach to youth issues.
I believe that deep down people want to be self reliant, young people given the chance will jump at independence….. If they’re brought up with a sense of personal responsibility and a belief in their own abilities, they will step forward and take charge of their own lives… It’s up to us to encourage them to take that chance.
One of the most important issues we face is voter apathy, especially amongst younger people, I want to reach out to and represent people of all ages within Howdenshire but especially my generation and younger, to champion their issues and through me allow their voices to be heard…..
Looking at the make up of the Conservative’s on the East Riding Council - my age group and below are not adequately represented.
However successful an individual becomes in whatever field - it is in my view essential that one gives something back in return, many decide to give money to a chosen charity, some perform heroic feats to raise money for the benefit of the infirm or the less well off, and others give time to voluntary organisations….. Over the past years I have chosen to devote a lot of my time, energy, drive, and expertise to the community in which I live.
I do not have exactly the same experience of being a County Councillor that the incumbents possess, but I’m a quick learner who welcomes challenges….. I bring with me the experience of being the Director of a successful company - which gives me the freedom to take time away to focus on other things….. I found that running my Company did not give me all the challenges I was looking for …but was able to find this elsewhere with the Memorial Hall, Parish Council, and School. I envisage continuing to find new challenges in the role of a County Councillor.
Why a County Councillor?
Why do people become Councillors? Prestige? Money? Power?? Or just wanting to represent their community and to have their voices heard? ….. I am able to confirm that my reason is the latter.
A East Riding Councillor is part of the overall decision-making process affecting the whole of the East Yorkshire….. If elected I will contribute – I will be part of this process, pushing forward new and modern ideas, working with my fellow councillors and the council officers to develop policy in areas where I have experience, an interest or the community has a need.
If elected I promise that the one thing you will get from me is honesty. Yes, I will speak my mind, and if I don’t know the answer to something, I’ll do my best to find out….. But at the same time I understand and will support the need for collective responsibility.
I have nothing to hide – I WAS NOT brought up as a Conservative I chose to be. I am who I am…… I will owe it to my ward community if ELECTED, to keep on being me, I am from working class origins, and I think my values reflect that
I believe in a smaller state, lower taxes, more individual responsibility, national sovereignty, the rule of law and a strong national identity. I am Euro-sceptic, Patriotic and believe in flying our National flag.
I believe in simplicity, listening to others and hard work. I love a challenge. I love living life and I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve achieved.
I’ve taken risks along the way, and I have few regrets. But if you’re willing to take that risk and elect me as an East Riding County Councillor for the Howdenshire Ward - I promise you hard work, honesty, and to represent our community to the best of my ability.