North Dorset Labour Party has announced its candidates for the Dorset Unitary Council Elections on 2 May.

Pat Osborne, Chair of North Dorset Labour Party, said: “Local members have selected the strongest team of candidates I’ve seen in the North Dorset area from any party for quite some time.

The team has diverse range of experiences, and the skills and integrity needed to deliver on our transformational manifesto pledges.

Meanwhile, the Tories will continue to field many of the same people that have failed residents in the past in an attempt to cling to power in order to bungle their way through the transition into the new unitary authority, in much the same way their party has handled Brexit.”

Labour’s Dorset manifesto, released on 15 March to coincide with the start of campaigning for the Dorset Council elections on 2 May, contains over 100 manifesto pledges to deliver the democratic transformational change that they believe will enable the people of Dorset to lead richer lives for generations to come.

The full manifesto can be found at (from 15 March).

Pat Osborne
Pat Osborne

Pat Osborne – Labour Party Candidate for Blandford

I’m a member of Blandford Forum Town Council, Chair of North Dorset Labour Party, and a former Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Dorset.

As a working father with two young children, I care deeply about securing a sustainable future for our community, our local economy, and our environment.

I’m a former youth worker and Youth Centre Management Committee Chair, and the current Town Council representative to Blandford Youth Centre. I have recently trained to become a Health Walk Leader.

Doro Russell
Doro Russell

Doro Russell – Labour Party Candidate for Blandford

I am a teacher, a National Education Union representative, and a former Labour Party campaign coordinator.

As a committed campaigner for social justice I have volunteered in the Verne Immigration Detention Centre while calling for an end to indefinite detention.

I have also worked closely with organisations supporting homeless people in the UK and those forced to flee their homes because of war.

I am a member of the Stour Valley Canoe Club and a regular participant at Parkrun.

Dennis Wardleworth
Dennis Wardleworth

Dennis Wardleworth – Labour Party Candidate for Cranborne Chase

I am a retired scientist, now a writer and art historian.

On the world stage the greatest threats are climate change, and, once again, nuclear weapons.

On our local stage the greatest threats are further cuts to the local government grant which has fallen by 60% since 2010 with a further £8billion of cuts planned by 2025. The Government says that local government will have more to spend next year – by raising council tax.

Many people in Dorset are comfortably off, but many are struggling with high rents and the consequences of cuts and austerity. Austerity has failed. We need new voices in Dorset.

Alan Cross
Alan Cross

Alan Cross – Labour Party Candidate for Hill Forts and Upper Tarrants

I’m a former School Governor and still retain a place on The Blandford School Foundation Board.

Growing up in Blandford, I was able to progress through good local state schools to Southampton University where I graduated with a B.A. in History and Politics, before enjoying a 33 year career with Hall and Woodhouse Limited in a number of management roles.

Today, a decade of Tory Austerity has depleted Dorset of so much of the financial support needed to adequately fund our local schools and social services, not to mention the squeeze on affordable housing.

I live in Pimperne with my wife, Coral.

Emma Bratley
Emma Bratley

Emma Bratley – Labour Party Candidate for Puddletown and Lower Winterborne

I’m a small business owner in Milborne St Andrew and also work locally for a conservation charity.

As the mother of two children and volunteer SEN support worker at my local school, I’m very concerned about the pressures our schools are under from Tory Austerity and witness the daily struggles that teaching and support staff experience in the face of continual funding cuts.

I’m a qualified Dorset Ambassador, Treasurer of North Dorset Labour Party, and an active member of the ‘Friends of School’ for our local village school.

Steve Gerry
Steve Gerry

Steve Gerry – Labour Party Candidate for Stour and Allen Vale

I’m a member of Sturminster Marshall Parish Council, a Trustee of Sturminster Marshall Hall Committee, and a former Parent Governor for Sturminster Marshall First School.

As a Parish Councillor I have recently been campaigning on behalf of young and elderly people in my community who are being forced to move away from their families and friends because of a lack of suitable, affordable homes.

I am passionate about improving our environment and combating climate change and work to provide more traffic-free transport links as a Trustee of the North Dorset Trailway Network.

Haydn White
Haydn White

Haydn White – Labour Party Candidate for Winterborne North

I’ve lived in the area for over 40 years and I’m a retired headteacher. I taught in Blandford’s secondary schools and have been Mayor of Blandford three times.

As Chair and vice chair of the Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils, I’ve endeavoured to make sure that Parish Councils have an important role in the new Dorset Council, particularly in planning.

As a trustee of two of the area’s largest charities I have been able to assist students going to higher education as well as general help for others.

William Kenealy
William Kenealy

William Kenealy – Labour Party Candidate for Shaftesbury

I’m Chair of Melbury Abbas and Cann Parish Council and a Director for the Cranborne Chase Landscape Trust and Community Roadwatch (UK) CIC.

As a retired Senior Project Manager, I’ll use my experience and skills to ensure that the Council plans strategically to meet the challenges of future growth with limited funding, while still putting the welfare and needs of the people of Shaftesbury first and foremost.

I’ve previously worked at the British Museum, Buckingham Palace and the Greater London Authority as Senior Project Manager for Trafalgar and Parliaments Squares following a 21 year career in the Navy.

Melanie Costas
Melanie Costas

Melanie Costas – Labour Party Candidate for Shaftesbury

I was an active member of the successful SoB! (Save Our Beds) campaign which stopped the removal of 15 beds from Westminster Memorial Hospital, and the Dorset CCG mental health consultation that successfully challenged rural/urban mental health inequality.

I’ve worked in both local authority and voluntary sectors, including charities such as Addaction, and have directly experienced the unnecessary difficulties and challenges that disabled people face under the current Conservative government.

I’ve been a health and social care worker since 2001, delivering a range of frontline services including substance misuse, community care, hospital social care, rehabilitation and smoking cessation.

Sam Skey
Sam Skey

Sam Skey – Labour Party Candidate for Beacon

I grew up in and around North Dorset before taking roles with Oxfordshire County Council and the NHS in Worthing following university.

I actively support local customs and traditions, organising Morris dancing at Gold Hill Fair, supporting Shaftesbury Snowdrop Festival Lantern Parade, and directed the Outdoor Nativity play for Churches Together in Shaftesbury.

I volunteer for Shaftesbury Arts Centre and The Exchange in Sturminster and have campaigned for an off-road cycle route between Gillingham and Shaftesbury.

I moved back to the Shaftesbury area in 2010 and live here with my partner, an NHS Community Nurse, and two children.

Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor – Labour Party Candidate for Gillingham

I’ve lived in Gillingham for 20 years and worked in Education throughout that time, first as a teacher and now as Regulatory Officer for a small exam board specialising in STEM based qualifications.

I have helped my local primary school over many years with support in IT
and saved them over £20,000 by using free and open source technology,
something I have been involved with for decades.

I believe a better future is possible for all the people of Gillingham
and solutions can be found with the right approach.

Phil Wilson
Phil Wilson

Phil Wilson – Labour Party Candidate for Gillingham

I’m a retired Local Authority Policy Manager, a Board member of the 3 Rivers Partnership, and a spokesperson and co-ordinator of the Save Bay Campaign.

Having worked as a local government officer for 30 years, I understand how important it is to have local councillors that roll up their sleeves and work for you, and don’t just appear every four years to demand your vote.

Gillingham residents need Labour representatives that will listen to local people and fight on their behalf to ensure that Gillingham gets the services we need.

Fiona Cullen
Fiona Cullen

Fiona Cullen – Labour Party Candidate for Gillingham

I’ve been a stay at home mum for 20 years, I run a small business teaching craft classes, and I’m Secretary and founding member of Gillingham Branch Labour Party.

As the mother of two young adults I’m passionate about ensuring that young people get a fair start in life. With Dorset’s high house price/ low wage economy too many of Gillingham’s young people feel they need to move away to get on. I want to give young people more good reasons to stay.

James McKenzie
James McKenzie

James McKenzie – Labour Party Candidate for Verwood

Under the Tories local services in Verwood have been in decline for years.

Lack of public transport is reducing the independence of local people and increasing the number of cars on our roads. This must be addressed.

We also need more facilities and services that will encourage children and young in our community to come together to take part in enjoyable, but meaningful activities.

And as the area continues to grow, Verwood is in need of a local upper school.

These are my goals.

Sandra Turner
Sandra Turner

Sandra Turner – Labour Party Candidate for Verwood

I’m a former school governor, Secretary of the Congregational Church in Stalbridge, and have served as a Director and Trustee on both national and international church bodies.

As a science teacher in an inner-city secondary school for 20 years I developed a passion for social justice that I eventually took into full-time Christian Ministry in Salford.

I moved to Verwood in 2009 after retirement to be closer to my daughter and continue to play a significant role in church life, supporting a Food Bank, Parent and Baby/Toddler Groups, and ‘Messy Church’.

Maryanne Pike
Maryanne Pike

Maryanne Pike – Labour Party Candidate for Verwood

I’m now retired having spent twenty-five years teaching in East Dorset schools.

I am therefore well aware of the needs and concerns of the educational sector and I care passionately about ensuring that all children and young people have the opportunities they deserve.

I am also involved with care of the elderly, especially those living with dementia, and would relish the opportunity to influence policy ensuring that the increasingly elderly population in our local area are treated with respect, and that they and their families receive the support and care they need.

Peter Parsons
Peter Parsons

Peter Parsons ­­– Labour Party Candidate for Cranborne and Alderholt

I’ve lived in Cranborne for 25 years after relocating from Leicestershire.

I believe that in order for our rural communities to flourish, we must prevent them from becoming commuter dormitory villages.

This means building more affordable starter homes on new developments for local people and opposing plans that don’t give proper consideration to the improvements needed to infrastructure.

It also means preserving the architectural integrity of the local area and maintaining rural lifelines like bus services, village shops, post offices, village halls, sports clubs, and pubs that hold our communities together.

Craig White
Craig White

Craig White – Labour Party Candidate for Sturminster Newton

I’ve lived in Sturminster Newton for over twenty years and grew up in the nearby village of Marnhull.

Over the years I have been a member of the Town Council and have also been involved with Sturminster Youth Football, SNADS Youth, the Dorset Doddlers, and Taboo Theatre Company.

I currently run Rural Redemption Theatre, a community theatre company, based in the town.

I will stop at nothing to ensure that Sturminster Newton has a real voice on the new council and will fight for investment in our community’s social development and business infrastructure.

Kevin Shillington
Kevin Shillington

Kevin Shillington – Labour Party Candidate for Blackmore Vale

As a professional historian I’ll bring an analytical mind to the Council Chamber, combined with a passion for social justice and a strong critique of the Tory obsession with privatisation.

In particular, I would seek to strengthen the voice of local people in the Blackmore Vale to ensure that your interests are heard at County Hall and not lost in the centralisation of a Unitary Council.

I would stand against planning policies that too often favour developers at the expense of local people’s real and urgent needs in housing and the health service.

Pippa Shillington
Pippa Shillington

Pippa Shillington – Labour Party Candidate for Blackmore Vale

As a nurse, matron and community practice teacher, I’ve been an active trade union member, representing NHS workers for many years.

I’ve also actively opposed the creeping privatisation of the health service as a member of an NHS Joint-Staff Consultative Committee.

As your elected representative I’d use my experience as a campaigner to fight for proper health services for the people of Stalbridge and Marnhull. That Stalbridge now has no GP is an utter disgrace.

As an advocate for young people I support the campaign to give votes to 16 year olds.

Notes to editors:

For more information contact Pat Osborne on 07917 831 009.


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