The Mayor of Garstang, Sandra Perkins, is savouring the taste of electroal success after she seized the town seat in the county council elections.
Independent candidate Sandra, who had vowed “to move heaven and earth” to get Garstang tip re-opened, faced a nail-biting recount before learning she had, by just 61 votes, ousted the Conservatives after their 39-year reign representing the division.
In the most closely fought county poll in decades, the local vote split mainly three ways, with Coun Perkins, already a town councillor, clinching victory with 1,495 votes.
Sitting Tory County Coun. Val Wilson, who had represented the area for 12 years, came second with 1,434 votes.
UKIP candidate and former Conservative councillor Simon Noble gained 1,117 votes and Labour’s Ben Whittingham was fourth with 659. Just over a third of the electorate voted.
Coun Perkins said: “It was absolutely nerve racking.”
No party gained sufficient seats to take overall control of the county council and she revealed: “I have already been courted by the Labour party.
“But I’ve been elected as an Independent and an Independent I will stay.”
She paid tribute to the many well-wishers who had sent her cards, flowers and text messages, saying: “It’s very humbling, I just hope I can deliver – but it won’t be for want of trying!”
A busy weekend followed the election with many mayoral engagements, but she and key members of her team took time out to celebrate with a fish and chips champagne meal following the count at the Fleetwood Marine Hall.
She said: “I think that the closure of the tip was uppermost in most people’s minds and I think that people were ready for a change.
“A lot of people are fed up with party politics – they want somebody to go and fight their corner without being constrained.
“I don’t believe that, as a local politician, you should have to kow-tow to London.”
Recalling that 8,000 people had signed a petition to keep the Garstang tip open, she said: “There are questions I would personally like answering about the tip.
“I want some answers as to why, when they said they would listen to the alternatives we could put forward, nothing was ever done and our suggestions never followed up.”
Another priority will be to protect local schools and arrange monthly surgeries.
Yorkshire-born Mrs Perkins, a grandparent of two, is a former primary school and beauty teacher. She has lived in Garstang for six years and was widowed last year.