Eastbourne council elections: Labour Party candidates

These are the Labour Party candidates standing in the Eastbourne council elections in May

Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 12:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 12:32 pm

Voting takes place throughout the day on Thursday May 2 with the election count on Friday May 3 and the results due in the mid afternoon.

Labour is fielding 23 candidates in the nine wards across the borough.



Geraldine Rolfe

Geraldine moved to Eastbourne in January 2017 and is Labour Women’s officer, a member of Unite, group treasurer, branch equalities officer and vice chair of Co-op East Sussex Branch. She is campaigning for more fairness, more equality and community. She studied at the Open University and gained a BA (Hons) in politics. Geraldine said her 25 years in the NHS has kept the health service very close to my heart and says the “ruthless privatisation of the NHS must be stopped while people still have a chance to save our services so we can still enjoy health care for all at the point of need”.

Louis Thorburn

Louis moved to Eastbourne aged seven and attended Ratton School. He has worked and volunteered in international development, including teaching reproductive health, employment skills and working at a water and health charity in Africa and Asia. Louis says he will bring this experience to benefit his community. Growing up in Eastbourne, he says he has seen the rapid changes to the town over the last 15 years and says while it’s massive growth has brought great benefits to Eastbourne, it also brings challenges as local councils face cuts and dwindling budgets. Louis says he will fight against the “austerity measures being imposed on the most vulnerable, representing and welcoming every constituent to be a part of a Devonshire for the many, not just the few”.

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Helen McCabe Owen

Helen is a Labour supporter born and bred. As a child in the 1970s, Helen said she grew up on the picket line with the miners and was on the marches for jobs in the 1980s up north. She moved to Eastbourne 16 years ago and has worked in the community for the last 10 years and is part of the Eastbourne Strategic Partnership representing the volunteer sector. Helen has worked as a marketing manager for local companies in Eastbourne and set up her own charitable marketing company Helen Owen Marketing Owen Enterprises CIC, where the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people are helped with free training and work experience opportunities. She is chair of Community Stuff, a local community group that provides activities to children and adults in the community, and works part time for the East Sussex Credit Union.


Graham Dean


Graham has previously been a Labour councillor in Croydon and worked for many years in local government. He believes councils can be effective and achieve more if run for the benefit of the many; particularly people who rely on council services to achieve a decent quality of life. Graham said he “knows we can have better quality services by working together as businesses, voluntary and community groups and public services” and would promote building homes for the homeless, supporting the frail and disadvantaged, mending roads, helping young and old feel safe and improving our environment.

Wendy Lambert

Wendy is a local teacher who has lived in Hampden Park with her family for 24 years. She said, “We love Hampden Park but a decade of cuts have made life harder for residents. We’ve seen maternity services cut at our hospital and care services closed. We see reduced police presence and our schools and libraries face huge cuts. As a teacher for 39 years, I am committed to protecting and improving local services for all. I believe we should be investing in our community and I’m standing to bring about positive change for our community.”

Margaret Robinson


Margaret Robinson is a retired SRN nurse. She previously lived for 15 years in Hampden Park and her three eldest children grew up in Willingdon Trees. She returned to Hampden Park two years ago. Margaret set up a community association with the help of friends and went on to train as a community development worker. She has been a councillor for eight years and was deputy mayor in 2010. Margaret says she looks forward to helping the community of Hampden Park.


Julie Hart

Julie was born in Eastbourne and has lived in Langney all her life. She has worked at Tesco for the past 15 years and is a shop steward for Usdaw. She passionately believes in workers rights and that it’s time for change with Labour being the only party that represents this for its residents. Julie said she is all for progress but feels developments too often fail local residents. She said, “We see houses built all over Eastbourne but they’re unaffordable. This has to change. Our youngsters are our future and we have a responsibility to them.”

Lee Comfort

Lee has lived in Eastbourne all of his life and in Langney for 20 years. He works for a local solicitor’s firm and previously at Sainsbury’s for 12 years where he was the Unite union rep. He said, “I am standing for Labour because it is the only party that can and will fight against the cuts we are experiencing. As a new parent I have witnessed first hand the reduction in support for new parents. I am fearful of what is going to be left of our schools by the time my son is old enough to attend. I will defend the vulnerable in our society and fight to keep our services going.”

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Roy Noble

Roy has lived in Eastbourne for 12 years and been an active community campaigner. He worked predominantly in Children’s Services and said he understand the needs to protect the most vulnerable and marginalised young people in society. He said he believed in focusing on the needs on the local community and ensuring services such as libraries and post offices are available for all. He said, “Regeneration should benefit everyone and not just those with financial means. It is important there is investment in preventative and support services to ensure young people and the elderly have a voice in the care and opportunities available for them. I also believe those who are homeless need the support and care to help them with their life choices.”


Janee Sa

Janee is a Chinese woman and says her interest in social injustice and improving people’s lives started at a young age. She qualified as a teacher and later retrained as a social worker, working until she retired. She said, “My expertise has been with children and families including children with severe disabilities and mental health work. Moving to Eastbourne recently, I am definitely at home here. I have started many new initiatives for the Labour Party and led significant fund-raising activities. I am also standing as a co-operative candidate as I believe in the values of the Co-op party that politics is for the people.”


Rue Franklin

Rue is a long time Eastbourne resident, Labour supporter and socialist. As a local resident he has been a school governor for many years and a long term trustee of Furniture Now. He continues to be involved in local charities and is an active local campaigner. He says he believes everyone should have the best chance in life. He said, “In our wealthy country that means standing up for dignity and human rights so people have decent homes, safe communities and well-funded schools and care services. I believe we have a responsibility to protect our environment for our lifetime and for future generations.”

Jake Lambert

A well-known local campaigner on everything from school cuts to Save the DGH, Jake is a local teacher who has lived in Eastbourne for more than 20 years. He lives in Old Town with his wife Louise and their toddler son. Jake said, “I love the community spirit of Old Town and that’s why we chose to settle our family here. As your councillor, I will be a strong voice for our community, standing up to protect our services and our environment, caring for the most vulnerable and offering a real alternative for residents who believe our town could and should be better.”

Sarah Richards

Sarah has lived in Old Town for ten years with her husband Paul and their two boys. She is a language teacher in local language schools and volunteers at a drop-in centre to give English classes to women who are looking to settle in Eastbourne. She loves the community of Old Town and wants to help keep it a safe and friendly place to live. Her priorities include pedestrian safety to make the morning walk to school safer for children. She wants more neighbourhood police to prevent the rising vandalism in our parks and streets and says she will fight to stop the cuts to our schools and care services.


Jill Shacklock

Jill has lived with her family in Eastbourne since 1997. She started her career teaching in schools but has worked for the University of Brighton for more than 30 years. Jill says she wants to ensure “council tax payers’ money is spent effectively, for the benefit of the many” and will fight against damaging cuts – the short-term savings that lead to permanent loss of vital services – and promote environmental protections such as Plastic Free Eastbourne, the Clean Air Campaign and cheaper and better public transport.

David Bishop

David grew up in Peacehaven and moved to Eastbourne eight years ago. His career has been varied: serving five years in the Royal Marines, working as a teacher and currently running his own business as well as working part-time for St Wilfrid’s Hospice. David says he is passionate about the environment and social injustice and if elected, will focus on reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and addressing parking issues within the ward.

John Lambert

John has lived in Ratton Ward with his family for the past 27 years and has been active in the Labour Party for some considerable time. Having recently retired as a teacher and university lecturer after 37 years, John believes a properly funded state education system that values all children equally that needs to be invested. John says that if elected, he will challenge the decisions of the council which he believes are “damaging local services and will offer an alternative strategy based on investment in our local community which will improve the living environment for all”.


Ian Culshaw

Ian has lived and worked in the town for all of his life. After a career in the building trade, Ian worked for many years on Eastbourne Bandstand and other seafront services. Now retired, Ian remains actively involved in charity fundraising: he was part of a team shortlisted for an Eastbourne Community Award last year. As a regular bus user, Ian said he wants to ensure “we retain decent bus links to all parts of our town especially in the evenings and weekends”. He believes the free bus pass is a lifeline for many older people. Ian said it was introduced by Labour and he will fight any proposals to take this away.

Farol Pernet

Farol has been a registered nurse for 30 years and is says she is standing to support the community she lives in. Farol says she has seen how cuts in funding for schools, hospitals and adult social care are “causing hardship for many people locally, especially women and children”. She says she will highlight the fact women are “at the sharp end of cuts, changes to our benefit system and rising housing prices. Farol believes that often lower paid, women are predominantly the carers for children, the disabled and of elderly relatives. She says she is passionate about fighting injustice and giving a voice to the weak and vulnerable.


Dave Brinson

Dave is a teacher at a local school and has been active in the Eastbourne Labour Party for 25 years. As secretary of the National Education Union in East Sussex, Dave says he is passionate about education and has led many local campaigns against proposed county council cuts to services such as schools’ music, and the English language service. He is secretary of the Trades Union Council in Eastbourne. Dave is vice-chair of the Eastbourne Royal British Legion and has a strong interest in the campaigns to support the mental health and wellbeing of those leaving the forces. Dave said he is proud to be standing with the support of the Co-operative Party which promotes co-operative and ethical values, such as Fairtrade and the campaign against the so-called “legal loan sharks”.

Phil Mills

Phil is a retired Post Office worker who has been active in the Trade Union and labour movement for more than 40 years and is currently a member of Unite and the Co-Operative Party. Previous community experience includes having served as a school governor for 15 years, treasurer of the Forest Hill Youth Project and was an elected member of London Borough of Lewisham between 1998 and 2002. Phil said, “I find it appalling that in the fifth richest economy in the world, we have had eight years of austerity drastically affecting the poorest in society and have a housing crisis that leaves citizens homeless, sofa surfing or living in sub-standard rental accommodation. There has to be a change of priorities to put people first.”

Rachael Norris

Rachael has lived in St Anthony’s for nearly 20 years and is a mother of three children all of whom attended the local Stafford and Roselands schools. She is a working mum and runs her own teddy bear business. Rachael is an environmental campaigner and says one of her major concerns is the effect of air pollution especially on children. She said, “Having seen the rapid increase in homeless people in Eastbourne in recent years I want to take action to make a difference locally on this issue. I will listen to the concerns of residents and work hard for people in the ward.”


Gill Poole

Gill says she is standing to ensure “Labour’s principles of equality and justice for all are reflected locally”. She trained in psychological counselling and has practiced in a community setting. Before making her home in Eastbourne Gill worked for 24 years in East London comprehensives, teaching English and English as an Additional Language. She said, “As a former teacher I’m shocked at the effect the policy of austerity has had on Eastbourne services, particularly in schools where fewer teachers are trying to cope with larger classes and fewer resources. Homelessness and the lack of affordable housing are also top of my agenda. We all need a stable home to support family and working life. If not reversed, these irresponsible cuts to council funding will blight a generation.”

Paul Richards

Paul moved to Eastbourne 10 years ago to bring up his family. He works as an adviser to charities, companies and trade unions. Paul believes Eastbourne needs Labour councillors because “the Lib Dems and Tories have let local people down”. Paul joined Labour in the 1980s and is a member of Unite.

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