I am honoured to have been selected as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Hartlepool.
I have strong roots in Hartlepool, with family here dating back over 100 years, at various times living on Caroline Street, Darlington Street, Richmond Street, Hutton Avenue, and York Road. Several were married in St Hilda’s Church and the original Holy Trinity Church. My Great Great Grandfather was the blacksmith who made the gates that still hang at the entrance to Stranton Grange Cemetery. His son (my Great Uncle) was a porter at the Hartlepool Workhouse. They are both buried in Stranton Grange Cemetery and a number of their descendants still live in the town, working in local business and retail including at the indoor market.
My Dad is a life-long Hartlepool United FC supporter, and I have cheered along with him at many games at Victoria Park and elsewhere.
I grew up in the North East seaside town of Bridlington, just down the coast from Hartlepool, where I went to a local comprehensive school, and worked in a harbour-front shop and as a lifeguard in the town’s leisure centre. My Dad works at a local engineering firm there and my Mum works at the local hospital, itself subject to departmental closures and in danger of further changes which have put her job at risk.
My Dad lost his job in the early 90s recession when I was eleven but sought every opportunity to put bread on the table for his family. This determination and desire to work hard and remain busy influenced me hugely and is part of what makes me a Conservative. I have twice lost my own job in the recent recession and used this early lesson to guide my own actions by volunteering for charities and taking on work experience whilst job-hunting. I also worked throughout my time at university to help pay for my education.
I studied a BA in History & Politics and a masters’ degree in Defence & Security Analysis, both at Lancaster University. I have subsequently worked at the Department of Trade and Industry and as a constituency campaign manager, a role in which I helped to save a local hospital from closure. I am currently Senior Corporate Affairs Manager at a large British soft drinks company, and over the last decade have held similar roles at the world’s largest retail bookmaker and at an agency specialising in planning, property development and environmental issues. I also run my own consultancy, working across a range of industries including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, waste management and recycling.
I am a lifelong swimming fan, a former qualified lifeguard and swimming teacher, and the manager of my local masters swimming team. In 2014 I swam from Alcatraz to the San Francisco mainland, raising £1,600 for children’s mental health charity Young Minds.
I am an active campaigner for greater swimming provision and teaching, particularly for young people, encouraging it to be taught not just as a sport but also as a lifesaving technique.
I am also passionate about supporting those with mental health issues. I am a former trustee of Mind, the UK’s largest mental health charity, for which I raised £1,600 in the Great London Swim, and I have worked voluntarily for an autism society. In addition I support the World Wildlife Fund, the Shark Trust, and the Aspinall Foundation, which engages in conservation activities for endangered species. I am a huge fan of history and am passionate about preserving and promoting our heritage.