They may have different reasons for joining but all four of Helston’s new town councillors are united in their passion for the town in which they live.
For Lloyd Harris it was a near-death experience that prompted him to change his outlook on life and fuel him with an urge to do something positive for his town.
He said: “I had a heart condition that I found out about last September. I walked into the doctor’s surgery and they thought I was having a heart attack – at the age of 39. They dialled the ambulance then and there.”
Thankfully it was not a heart attack but actually the result of years of high blood pressure, which has now been brought under control. It was a moment, however, that proved a wakeup call.
“I was off work for nearly three months and this was part of the reason for standing for the council. I wanted to do something with my life that had an impact for other people as well. That’s one of the driving forces,” said Mr Harris, now aged 40, who is a member for the north ward.
As a youth rugby coach for the Cornish Pirates and a player himself for Helston Rugby Club, Mr Harris – who used to work for Wards Vauxhall at Hilltop and is now with the Hayle branch of Lloyds Bank – was hardly wasting his life.
But he said: “I wanted to be part of the council, to bring us all together to have a united council that works for the better of the town. I suppose I want Helston to get better and achieve its potential.”
Sadly, despite playing the Fairy Godmother in the Helston Theatre Company production of Cinderella, Nicola Roberts has no magic wand she can wave to sort out the town.
However, she has promised hard work and a passion for the town that she fell in love with when she moved from London many years ago, believing it “had everything.”
Mrs Roberts, who lives at Gweal Wartha and works at Helston Garages, said: “I stood because I moan like the rest, and I thought ‘Let me put my money where my mouth is and my head above the parapet.’ It’s a new voice.
“I think the town is going in the right direction – I would just like to do my bit to help.”
Mrs Roberts is a councillor for the north ward and said there were parts of this she would like to see regenerated.
She has already joined the committee for play and young people, saying: “I’m interested in redeveloping the play parks if we can.”
Someone that needs no introduction is Gillian Geer, who is already a familiar face in the town and now a councillor for the east ward.
She said it was now time for people to “stop moaning and do something.”
With many of the problems actually the responsibility of Cornwall Council, which had no money, she said: “I think the way to go is to try and enthuse people to act as a group, as the Helston Business Improvement Partnership has done.”
Mrs Geer is well known for her role in the town’s theatre scene, as a member of Helston Theatre Company and Helston Methodist Drama Group, and is in charge of the Hal-an-Tow on Flora Day.
She also runs Gillian’s Tubs in Meneage Street, a one-stop-shop for dry goods and other food items, and said people were welcome to call in to chat and share their thoughts on the town.
“The town councillors are not paid. They are there to do the best they can for nothing – you can’t ask more of people than that,” she added.
Completing the foursome is Martine Knight, who has been a regular attendee on the public benches and has now made her way down to the table to represent the east ward.
She said: “I just thought there was a time for new blood on the council and I thought, ‘It’s no good just to keep coming and observing’ – if you feel strongly about it you sometimes have to put your money where your mouth is.”
Mrs Knight, who runs a business Grave Concerns tending graves on behalf of those unable to do so, was until recently secretary of Helston Old Cornwall Society and is a member of Helston Business Improvement Partnership.
Her main concern on the council is to make sure taxpayers get best value for money and make sure “every penny spent is good value.”
Mrs Knight thanked everyone who voted for her, saying she was “very grateful.”