I have been a councillor for Tressell Ward since 2006, but first became a Hastings Borough councillor in 2000, initially representing Ore Ward and the old Broomgrove Ward.
I am a socialist, I believe in social justice, equality and fairness. I would like to see a more equitable society where wealth is distributed more fairly, and where people are encouraged to contribute their skills and abilities to the benefit of everyone, rather than their own personal gain. Everyone has a right to a reasonable, comfortable standard of living, with access to all the benefits of a modern, advanced society. But no-one has the right to expect more than their fair share: a society motivated by greed will never be a happy one. I am also a strong believer in public services, provided by the public sector: such services should be efficiently run for the public good, not for private profit. Overall though, I believe the most important issue facing us today is climate change: if we can’t sort out that one, then we’ve all had it. My greatest achievement as a Tressell councillor is, I think, saving Speckled Wood and getting it included in the council’s local plan as protected open space
On a personal level, I live outside the ward in St. Leonards, with my partner, two cats and three chickens. I also have a grown-up daughter, who lives in London. I was originally a microbiologist, but later worked in local government in London and the West Midlands, at the Audit Commission, and later as a consultant to Government, local government and others, on performance management issues. I spend my spare time gardening and writing, having written a couple of novels, amongst other things. I also own a 1958 MG Magnette.
I served as Leader of Hastings Borough Council from 2015 – 2020, and am currently a member of the council’s cabinet, where I hold the finance and property portfolio. I am a member of various other organisations (in a personal capacity) including Unite trade union, Cuba Solidarity Campaign, National Trust, and the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway Association!
I also stood as the Labour candidate for Hastings & Rye in the 2017 and 2019 general elections.,
I have lived in Hastings for 26 years, 13 of these in Tressell ward. Although always a worker, I hadn’t found a chosen career path by my early twenties, so decided to return to college to study Health and Social Care. I later worked at the Conquest Hospital as a physiotherapy assistant in orthopaedics after years caring for the elderly. I then became a single parent and decided to spend some time at home before returning to work, but volunteering for my local residents’ association around my family commitments.
This led to many years of, firstly, working in the Ore Valley developing services and activities and drawing in essential funding to support the community, to then moving on to support young homeless 16-25 year-olds. Learning and experience enabled me to move into management, developing and managing community services for older people at the Isabel Blackman Centre.
I was made redundant due to public sector funding cuts. I fought hard alongside the Labour Party to ensure that some services where maintained and the centre for older people remained open. This was the final straw – I decided I wanted to be more active and involved in local politics. I had previously considered becoming a councillor before, but felt I wouldn’t be able to dedicate the time. Now I have, I can be fully committed to the role – my determination and local knowledge can only be a benefit to my constituents and the Labour Party. I am presently completing a degree in leadership and management and supporting the family business. I will continue to fight for services to remain local where they are needed.I love walking, don’t drive and travel by bus. As well as Hastings Council, I now represent you also on East Sussex County Council, where I will take whatever opportunities there are to influence decisions and represent your voice as residents.