The daughter of a former borough deputy mayor has this morning, Friday March 7, been elected to succeed him on West Norfolk Council.
Sam Sandell polled more than three times as many votes as her opponent, UKIP candidate Jean Smith, in a by-election for the Burnham ward, which was triggered by the death of her father, Garry Sandell, late last year.
Miss Sandell said she was pleased to have the chance to continue the work that her father had done while representing the ward, but added: “The hardest thing is he’s not here.”
Mr Sandell, who served as the borough’s deputy mayor in 2012-13, had held the seat since 1999.
And Miss Sandell revealed that, although her father had considered not standing in next year’s borough elections and had asked her to fight the seat instead, she only decided to stand in the by-election in mid-January, a few weeks after his death.
She paid tribute to the support of her family and colleagues during the campaign, adding: “They all supported my dad and they’ll continue to support me.”
And she felt her strong connection to the area was a crucial factor in the result.
She said: “Because I live so local and worked in the nursery, I know a lot of people.
“I think, if you’re a local person, you have got more to offer and you know what people want and need.”
Turnout was higher than expected, at around 34 per cent. Officials suggest that may have been due to a higher than expected return of postal votes.
The full result is as follows:
Sam Sandell (Conservatve): 374 votes
Jean Smith (UKIP): 103 votes
Ballot papers rejected: 17