Youngest ever candidate picked for Brighton and Hove council elections

Posted On 01 Apr 2011 at 5:15 am

An 18-year-old on her gap year is the youngest candidate to stand for election in Brighton and Hove.

Clare Calder is running for Labour for a seat on Brighton and Hove City Council.

If elected, she will be following in her parents’ footsteps as they both served on Brighton Borough Council in the 1980s and 90s.

Miss Calder is standing in St Peter’s and North Laine – the ward that her mother, Jean Calder, represented for Labour from 1987 to 1991.

Her father, Andy Winter, who runs Brighton Housing Trust, was a Labour councillor for Regency ward from 1985 to 1992.

Miss Calder recently completed her term as a representative for Brighton and Hove in the UK Youth Parliament.

Delighted

She said: “I’m delighted to have been asked to stand alongside Pete Gillman and James Hallwood in St Peter’s and North Laine where I have lived all my life.

“I intend to do my utmost to help the Labour Party regain control of the city council.

“I may be a young candidate but I have campaigned on issues affecting the ward for over ten years.”

Miss Calder, who suffers from a neurological condition, said: “As a child with a disability, my first campaign was to try to save the old play equipment on The Level, which was much easier for disabled children to use.

“Since then I’ve lobbied for graffiti to be cleaned up and for safety on The Level.”

She also campaigned with her mother to save St Peter’s Church after the Church of England decided to close it.

Their long and difficult campaign succeeded against the odds when the Holy Trinity Brompton took over in 2009.

Miss Calder said: “Each Saturday morning for almost a year I collected signatures on a petition in London Road, listening to people’s accounts of the importance of St Peter’s Church to them and their families.

Priorities

“My priorities, should I be elected, will be safety for young people and older people.

“London Road, in particular, isn’t the safest place and I’d work for changes there.

“My grandmother, whose home was in the ward for almost 40 years, has Alzheimer’s disease.

“Given public sector cuts I’m very concerned about the availability and cost of services for older people and those with health problems.”

Miss Calder, who describes herself as a “feminist, Christian socialist”, was a member of the Brighton and Hove Youth Council from 2008 to 2011.

She was elected to the Youth Parliament in 2009 and served until earlier this year.

She is a voluntary worker in the Age UK shop in London Road.

And, in a personal capacity, she is a volunteer regional co-ordinator for the South East region for the Yes to Fairer Votes Campaign.

Miss Calder is a member of the youth council for the national charity Changing Faces, which campaigns to end discrimination against people with facial and other disfigurements.

Strengthened

Of her neurological illness, she said: “I’m still affected by it but I’ve learnt to manage it effectively.

“I think in many ways it has strengthened me.”

While her dream job in politics would be Chancellor of the Exchequer or Minister for Equalities, she has more mainstream interests.

She has given some thought to becoming a journalist – her mother is a former Argus columnist.

Miss Calder has been a member of Sussex County Cricket Club since the age of six.

And given the chance, she would love to be a Formula 1 driver – or someone who runs her own business.

Before being selected as a candidate, she was planning to read politics and parliamentary studies at Leeds University from September. If elected, she hopes to switch to Sussex, at Falmer.

Her key rivals in the local elections on Thursday 5 May will be the three sitting Green councillors Ian Davey, Lizzie Deane and Pete West.

Councillor West was the party’s first member of the council, winning his seat in 1996 when the ward was called St Peter’s.

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