County Council Elections: Candidates for Torridge

Elections will take place on Thursday, May 6

Elections will take place on Thursday, May 6 - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bideford East 

Annie Brenton – Labour Party 

Annie Brenton

Annie Brenton - Credit: Labour Party

My work in local industry, the NHS and voluntary sector gives me wide experience of local needs. Bideford must get a fairer share of County funding - for Social Care, under-funded schools and the NHS. We need accessible housing for local people and County Council under-used land can provide this. Mending roads for safer cycling and pedestrian use is a priority. Local building developments should consult the community and give jobs to our young people. 

James Craigie – Independent 

James Craigie

James Craigie - Credit: James Craigie

I'm standing because I believe that Bideford deserves someone that will fight the injustices and excuses of County Hall. Instead of someone representing a party, I want to represent all our community so everyone gets a chance to shine and show their talents and skills. To rise to the challenge of decarbonising our economy and protecting ourselves from the consequences of climate change, we must all work together to achieve more than we can alone. 

You may also want to watch:

Will Douglas-Mann – Green Party 

Will Douglas-Mann

Will Douglas-Mann - Credit: Green Party

The Green Party puts combating climate change at the centre of its policies. On current projections sea level rise would put large parts of Bideford under water by the end of this century unless CO2 emissions are drastically reduced. Currently our government, and most of the rest, of the world is making empty promises while greenhouse gas levels continue to rise. 

Most Read

Locally we are campaigning to clean up the River Torridge by banning raw sewage discharges by water companies. 

Jude Gubb – Independent 

Jude Gubb

Jude Gubb - Credit: Jude Gubb

My name is Jude Gubb and I am standing as an independent for Bideford East. I cannot promise miracles, but I can promise to listen and always be approachable. The more independents who get voted in the more power we have into achieving things! I would like to see safer streets and roads with a speed limit in built up areas of 20 mph. Safer cycling routes. And of course, less potholes! 

Linda Hellyer- Conservative Party 

Linda Hellyer

Linda Hellyer - Credit: Conservative Party

Linda is an experienced councillor, with a track record of getting things done. Linda has secured funding for a new library for Bideford. Linda has had dropped crossings and tactile slabs installed to make the town more accessible. She has had roads resurfaced, yellow lines installed and sorted out longstanding drainage issues. Linda will continue to campaign about potholes and improved pavements. Linda will ensure that our local services are not overwhelmed by new developments. 

Stephen Potts – Liberal Democrats 

Stephen Potts

Stephen Potts - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Stephen is an accountant who moved to North Devon ten years ago and works locally. He is passionate about balancing the protection of the environment with the need to create genuine well-paid jobs in North Devon, especially in the aftermath of Covid and Brexit. It is an area which has for too long been ignored and unsupported by both county and national administrations. Hobbies include long coastal walks, appearing in the local Panto and gardening. 

Bideford West and Hartland 

Dylan Billson – Labour Party 

Bert Bruins – Liberal Democrats 

Bert Bruins

Bert Bruins - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Bert has lived in Torridge for 15 years. He has run green businesses and currently works in home care. If elected as a county councillor, Bert will campaign for restoring the central government grant back to pre-2010 levels. He will also highlight the problem of finding carers in rural areas will push to stop the practice by some of "flipping" second homes into businesses, which then leads to no Council Tax being paid on those properties. 

Keith Funnell – Green Party 

Keith Funnell

Keith Funnell - Credit: Green Party

Keith Funnell has lived in Torridge since 1997. His career as a landscape architect has covered the public, private, voluntary and university sectors. Much of this work has involved restoring landscapes damaged by human activity and designing outdoor spaces on school sites. Keith advocates more immediate and comprehensive action on climate change and opposes the creeping privitisation of essential public services. He supports local groups with landscape advice and practical conservation work and is a keen cyclist and swimmer. 

Joel Herron – Independent 

Joel Herron

Joel Herron - Credit: Joel Herron

Hello I’m Joel Herron - an independent candidate with a passion for the environment, education and social care. I’ve been a tree surgeon, a teacher and supported vulnerable children. I am a futurist and recognise that change can be positive, especially if it faces the challenges of climate change. I don’t pretend to be an expert and will seek out expert advice when needed. I represent a community group called Torridge Common Ground. 

Tony Inch – Independent 

Tony Inch

Tony Inch - Credit: TDC

My name is Tony Inch I have been a District Councillor for 17 years and a Devon County Councillor for the last 4 years, I am a local man being born in Woolsery and living most of my life in Bideford I have served on Bideford Council and the Mayor of the Town, I gave up my job four years ago so that I could put all my time working for Bideford West & Hartland and hope that I can go on doing so. 

Paul Jelf- Freedom Alliance Party 

Paul Jelf

Paul Jelf - Credit: Freedom Alliance Party

I have always valued the right to freedom of speech, to make independent health decisions, to operate a business, travel, privacy and to socialise with others. The last fourteen months we have all experienced a rapid erosion of these civil liberties for a virus with a proven 99% recovery rate. 

I am standing to fight and to preserve all these common rights without interference and coercion from government and the mainstream media for future generations. 

Robin Julian – Independent 

Robin Julian

Robin Julian - Credit: Robin Julian

Former County Councillor for the same area in 2013, Robin has been local to Hartland for 19 years and feels the area and particularly the roads have been neglected for the past four years. 

He believes Devon County Council funding is mismanaged into the wrong projects and highlights the lack of support for smaller businesses. 

Jeffrey Wilton-Love – Conservative Party 

Jeff Wilton-Love

Jeff Wilton-Love - Credit: Conservative Party

Over the past 4 years I’ve redeveloped and lobbied for the care sector, standing up for carers at both county and national level even at the Department of Health and Social Care where I proposed a new care model, which we are seeing. 

I’m excited at the opportunity to represent this beautiful Division and be the voice the people deserve; I will stand up on the issues that matter and push for what’s needed.


David Chalmers - Liberal Democrats 

David Chalmers

David Chalmers - Credit: Liberal Democrats

David has a track record of championing local causes and uniting people to get things done. As Mayor of Northam, he has listened to people’s concerns and taken real action to stand up for residents and address the climate emergency. David has the skills, passion, experience, and determination to be a strong voice for Northam at County Hall, provide honest leadership, and bring us the investment in jobs and the improvements in our infrastructure we deserve. 

Leonard Ford - Independent 

Leonard Ford

Leonard Ford - Credit: Leonard Ford

Born and lived in Appledore all of my life, served the area as a parish, district and county Councillor. I served over 10 years as a retained firefighter in the area. However, probably my most rewarding role was a last-minute stand in as Santa Claus at Schooners, Appledore. I am privileged to be a third-generation mayor of Northam Parish. I also took great pride as a Sexton of Northam Cemetery for over twelve years. 

Simon Mathers - Green Party 

Simon Mathers

Simon Mathers - Credit: Green Party

I moved to Bideford in 2004 and our three sons all attended Bideford College. I am active in the sporting community, coaching and refereeing at Bideford Rugby Club.   

I cycle to work and surf regularly at Westward Ho! If elected I would be active in work to reduce plastic pollution around Devon's coasts, improve cycling safety and, as a qualified teacher, would be actively campaigning for the restoration of funding to our schools. 

Dermot McGeough – Conservative Party 

Dermot McGeough

Dermot McGeough - Credit: Conservative Party

Local businessman Dermot McGeough became Torridge district Councillor for Bideford North in 2015 and is known as a passionate campaigner. Including a high-profile petition to support building much-needed UKaid ships at Appledore shipyard, and a campaign for free first-hour parking in Holsworthy centre to give the town’s businesses a much-needed boost, amongst many local causes. 

A local businessman himself, he would dearly love to take his District Council experience to a County level in the upcoming elections. 

Jake McLean - Labour Party 

Jake McLean

Jake McLean - Credit: Labour Party

I am extremely delighted to have been selected to stand as the Labour party candidate for Northam. By ensuring that Northam, Appledore and Westward Ho! residents are treated fairly we can all thrive and enjoy what our area has to offer. That means having access to better quality jobs, and better funded education, health and social care provision. We also need genuinely affordable homes and social housing for local people, improved infrastructure and public transport, plus a return to neighbourhood policing. 

Holsworthy Rural 

Claire Davey-Potts – Liberal Democrats 

Claire Davey Potts

Claire Davey Potts - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Claire was born in Devon and currently works here in education. She feels strongly that everyone should access good quality education, employment, and housing. If elected county councillor, her focus will be on improving transport links and roads, services on which we all depend. She is passionate about caring for the countryside, ensuring we work with rather than against the environment and achieve a sustainable society. Leisure and sports facilities are equally vital and need funding. 

Jim Lowe – Labour Party 

Jim Lowe

Jim Lowe - Credit: Labour Party

A member of Buckland Brewer Parish Council for ten years, six as chair. 

My overriding concern is that the policies for recovery following the Covid pandemic adopted by the Government and Devon County Council must result in a fairer distribution of financial support between urban and rural communities. Rural areas like ours have suffered disproportionately in the past, because we have been constantly pushed to the bottom of the political food chain. 

James Morrish – Conservative Party 

James Morrish

James Morrish - Credit: Conservative Party

Torridge has been my family’s home for generations. 

I have always cared about our local area and people and I see the role as Devon County Councillor an ideal way of being able to ensure that we get the slice of the money cake from County Hall so our roads are up to scratch, our health teams have the tools they need and our young people are given the facilities they yearn for. 

Cathrine Simmons – Green Party 

Cathrine Simmons

Cathrine Simmons - Credit: Green Party

Cathrine has been active in the Green Party for many years and she has lived in the Torridge area for 50 years. Prior to retirement Cathrine’s work was in the housing sector. 

She has held elected roles - Mayor of Torrington, District and Town Councillor. She is standing for election because of the Climate Crisis, every effort must be made to reduce carbon in our atmosphere, we need more and better public transport. Many changes will save you money. Vote Green. 

Pete Watson – Holsworthy Rural 

Pete Watson

Pete Watson - Credit: Independent

I’m an Independent, honest, straight talking, hardworking, reliable, helpful, friendly, supportive realistic, dependable, passionate, influential, experienced Torridge District Councillor. I don’t make promises I can’t keep. Everything won’t be instantly fixed; I’ve been a Councillor long enough to know that’s not how Council’s work. The things that are important to you are the same things that are important to me, sometimes things just need a slightly different approach, policing, affordable housing, farming, schools, hospitals, roads.

Torrington Rural 

Chris Bright – Liberal Democrats 

Chris Bright

Chris Bright - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Chris has lived in Great Torrington all his life. He is very active within the community and, as a Torridge District Councillor, has a track record of speaking up for Torrington’s needs. Chris is frustrated at the state of the area’s roads and aims to get the size criteria of potholes reduced, so defects are eligible for repair much sooner. He wants fairer funding for schools and protection for the environment reflected in every council decision. 

Ruth Funnell – Green Party 

Ruth Funnell

Ruth Funnell - Credit: Green Party

Ruth Funnell has lived in Torridge for eighteen years and has been active in the Green Party since 2005. She is a retired mental health social worker and served for four years on Torrington Town Council. 

Her priorities are action on the climate emergency and on decade long funding cuts to local schools, social care, youth services and libraries. 

Her interests outside politics are swimming, choral singing and dog walking on our wonderful Commons. 

Andrew Saywell – Conservative Party 

Andrew Saywell

Andrew Saywell - Credit: Conservative Party

Andrew Saywell is the ONLY candidate in Torrington Rural with a clear plan to lead us to recovery following the pandemic. He has a proven track record over the last four years of getting things done. His priorities if re-elected are the recovery of our local economy with better broadband and new work hubs for home workers, continuing to fight for better local health and social care services, and getting more local roads resurfaced. 

Siobhan Strode – Labour Party 

Siobhan Strode

Siobhan Strode - Credit: Labour Party

As a businesswoman, teacher, governor, proud Great Torrington Councillor, and as a parent, I feel so incredibly lucky to be a part of our community. I’m passionate about making positive change and I want to ensure that your needs are heard; because - despite Tory-led County Council lip service - our services here have been decimated and funding slashed since 2010. We deserve better, don’t we? A vote for me is a vote for change. 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter