I first won a seat on Sefton Borough Council in 1999 in Molyneux ward (which was then made up of Aintree Village, Melling, Thornton, Ince Blundell and Sefton Parishes) by taking it from Labour.
The Labour candidate and sitting councillor back then was a friend of mine and fellow trade union officer! I genuinely felt bad about beating him. His name? Tim Hale.
16 years later and the boot was almost on the other foot as I was in the process of losing my Park Ward (Lydiate, Sefton & Lunt Villages and western Maghull) Sefton Council seat to a Labour candidate whilst Tim was in the process of winning a seat for the Labour Party in Formby’s Ravenmeols ward.
I think it fair to say that Tim expected to lose to Formby’s new environmental movement party FRAGOFF but he just scrapped in some 16 years after I took his Sefton Council seat off him!
We had a long chat about the old days as trade union officers in the Civil Service and of course how bad we both felt on a personal level about me taking his Sefton Council seat all those years ago.
But there was another a parallel with the 1999 election count for me. My mates in the Lib Dems have always ribbed me about the look on my face when I won in 1999 – they call it my rabbit in the headlight moment as I and indeed they were shocked that we had won a seat we did not expect to pick up until the following round of local elections. Of course I was also pondering how I was going to be able to look my old friend Tim in the face again!
Well it happened again in last week’s Parish Council’s election count – another rabbit in the headlight moment for me. What was it? My winning a seat on Lydiate Parish Council again. Winning was just not a possibility in my mind; Labour were going to sweep the board and that was that. Imagine my complete shock when I was told I had been re-elected to Lydiate Parish Council, I was utterly speechless for a few moments and did my second rabbit in the headlight moment at an election count.
My best wishes to Tim. On a political level I obviously did not want him to win as I have worked closely with Fragoff with whom I share many environmental concerns. On a personal level I am happy for Tim who has been out of office for 16 years all because of me! I also realise that Tim has been dealing with the illness of a close family member in recent times and hope his long awaited return to Sefton Council is just the thing to lift his family’s spirits.