STUDLEY stalwart Hazel Wright is back on Stratford District Council after a crushing by-election victory.
The Station Road resident, who has campaigned tirelessly for the village for decades, garnered more votes than all the other candidates put together.
However speaking in the wake of her win, she admitted she’d spent a nervous polling day as residents went to vote in the Studley with Sambourne ward.
“I was nervous, I felt I had a real battle on my hands, I just didn’t know what to expect and I was surprised to still have so much support.
“I can’t thank the people who voted for me enough – I just have to live up to their faith in me now!” she said.
The Lib Dem lost her seat to Tory Justin Kerridge eight months ago when Stratford District Council slashed the number of councillors from 53 to 36 as the result of a local government boundary review.
But following the resignation of Nick Moon, who served an eight-month tenure for the Conservatives in the ward before quitting, she opted to put her hat in the ring once more and emerged victorious.
“People were saying it’s about the village and I think people wanted a continuation of what we had already started.
“For me it’s about the local environment, the physical appearance of the villages and the spirit of the locality.
“In Studley there is the issue of the Co-op site while at the entrance to the village we have dirty scruffy signs – what does that say about where we live? Yet we are the gateway to Stratford,” she said.
She admitted she’d had to work hard to get up to speed with the issues faced by Sambourne.
And she vowed to do all she could to improve broadband speeds in Sambourne where many residents work from home.
She also believes, given her years of experience as a district councillor, she will be able to achieve real results despite the authority being Tory-led.
“I’m used to working in a minority and getting results. All too often, it’s easy for the controlling group to just wave things through.
“I on the other hand tend to look at the detail, propose amendments and achieve success that way,” she said.
Following her success she was met by a flood of messages, tweets and calls from well-wishers, including a tweet from Lib Dem leader Tim Farron.
However she said her victory would not have happened without the help of Studley county councillor Clive Rickhards and a dedicated team of helpers.
“People have been fantastic, neighbours have helped out, people have dropped in and lent a hand, I can’t thank them all enough.”
The council is now made up of 30 Conservatives, four Lib Dems, one Labour and one Independent.
Studley with Sambourne by-election Turnout: 39.5 per cent
Hazel Wright (Lib Dem) – 632 votes ELECTED
Paul Beaman (Cons) – 233 votes
Nick Moon (Ind) – 66 votes
Karen Somner-Brown (Lab) – 156 votes
Nigel Rogers (UKIP) – 55 votes