Northumberland road safety campaigner in bid to become councillor

Road safety campaigner Kate Cairns is standing for election to Northumberland County Council

Fiona Hall and Kate Cairns, who lost her sister Eilidh while cycling to work
Fiona Hall and Kate Cairns, who lost her sister Eilidh while cycling to work

A Northumberland woman who took up bike safety campaigning following the death of her sister is bidding to become a county councillor.

Kate Cairns, from Newton by the Sea, lost her sister Eilidh after she was knocked off her bike by an heavy goods vehicle in London five years ago.

Kate has since campaigned at European level for changes to legislation which would require HGVs to be redesigned to improve drivers’ visibility.

She has now been chosen as the Liberal candidate for the Longhoughton division of Northumberland County Council, following the death of Coun John Taylor earlier this month.

Kate grew up in the Alnwick area and was educated at schools in Embleton, Seahouses and the town itself.

She trained as a civil engineer and now works as an independent sustainability advisor, living at Newton by the Sea with her young family.

Her sister was hit while cycling to work in the capital where she was living in February 2009.

Since then Kate has campaigned at local, national and European level, setting up the See Me Save Me campaign to eliminate lorry blind spots.

Her campaigning helped secure a vote in the European Parliament in April on proposals which would see lorry cabs redesigned to eliminate their blindspots, with a large majority of MEPs voting in favour. The next step is for the European Union’s Council of Ministers to approve the directive at its meeting this month.

Kate is also a governor at Ellingham First School and member of Newton-by-the-Sea Parish Council.

She has now been chosen as the Lib Dem candidate for the Longhoughton division, following the death of long serving independent Coun Taylor earlier this month.

Kate’s mother Heather is a serving county councillor for the Lib Dems, at Alnwick.

She said: “It would be a real honour to be chosen by local residents to be their voice on Northumberland County Council. I am committed to working in the local community and have the experience, energy and enthusiasm to be a strong champion for this rural part of Northumberland.

“I want to bring my professional experience gathered across the UK and abroad to help meet the needs of local people, to support local business, and to preserve the beautiful natural environment of our county.

“From my campaign work I have learned I can make the most difference from within the decision making process. Longhoughton division covers a large area and several villages and I am looking forward to meeting people across the area to find out more about their priorities for their new councillor.”

Conservative and Labour parties in the county are still in the process of choosing their candidates for the by-election.

The UK Independence Party has chosen Michael Weatheritt, the chairman of its Alnwick branch.

The poll takes place on July 24, with the deadline for nominations June 27.

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