A road safety campaigner from Northumberland is to become a county councillor, following a resounding victory at the polls.
Liberal Democrat Kate Cairns, who took up campaigning after her sister Eilidh was killed when knocked off her bike by an heavy goods vehicle, has won the by-election for the Longhoughton ward of Northumberland County Council.
She clinched just under half the vote in the five horse race to fill the vacancy created by the death of Coun John Taylor.
Mrs Cairns spoke of her delight at being chosen to represent the “special” place where she was born and grew up.
Mrs Cairns trained as a civil engineer and now works as an independent sustainability consultant in the construction industry, living at Newton by the Sea with her young family.
Her sister was hit while heading to work in London where she was living in February 2009.
Since then Mrs Cairns 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 improve drivers’ visibility, 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.
Mrs Cairns is also a governor at Ellingham First School and member of Newton-by-the-Sea Parish Council.
Her mother Heather is a serving county councillor for the Lib Dems, at Alnwick.
Mrs Cairns clinched 742 votes, 49.4% of the total, in Thursday’s race to replace long serving independent Coun Taylor, who died last month.
In second was Conservative John Hope with 352 votes, with independent Pamela Pattinson in third with 208.
Fourth was the UK Independence Party’s Michael Weatheritt with 146 votes and in last was Nicola Morrison, of council rulers Labour with just 48.
Turnout was 44%.
Mrs Cairns said: “I am delighted to have been chosen by the people of the Longhoughton ward to be their councillor. The people and the place are very special to me; I was born, brought up and educated here and I am now raising my children here too.
“I want to thank everyone for their time on the doorstep, and those who voted for me.
“I am looking forward to representing the views of all of Longhoughton ward residents and applying my understanding of the challenges of living in this part of rural Northumberland. I will be a strong voice at County Hall campaigning to improve local transport, education, services and jobs.
“Following in the footsteps of the late John Taylor, I will take the responsibility of being a councillor very seriously. I already have a number of issues to work on that residents have raised with me in conversations on the doorstep and I look forward to hearing more.”