New councillors take their seats

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TWO new faces have joined the ranks at Widdrington Station and Stobswood Parish Council.

Members Isabell Fraser and Jacek Juszczyk were elected unopposed to fill two vacancies on the authority.

Coun Fraser, who is known as Bell, has lived in Widdrington Station for more than 30 years and previously served as a tenant representative on forums for Castle Morpeth Housing and the former Castle Morpeth Council.

She said: “I have always had an interest in local issues and my main concern is that there is nothing in the village for the children, or for the likes of me.

“For young people to get a house in this area is terrible so that is another issue. I could go on and on.

“I hope to get something done about these issues that I feel are important to me and the community as well.”

The 58-year-old, who lives with her husband William, is also concerned about problems encountered by disabled people and hopes to help change attitudes.

“I was able-bodied and then I had a stroke 12 years ago which left me in a wheelchair,” she said.

“When people see somebody in a wheelchair sometimes they talk over them as if they haven’t got a brain. I want to make a difference and make sure disabled people are seen as people and to show that they are just as capable as anybody else.”

Coun Juszczyk is also a village stalwart, having lived in the community for 17 years.

He previously stood for election about 14 years ago, but was unsuccessful at the time.

“I’m retired now so I have more time. I worked in further education for 34 years and I wanted to put something back into the community by offering my services,” he said.

“I spoke to one or two people in the area and they suggested that as there was an election in the parish I should stand so I put myself forward.”

The councillor, who is 64 and lives with his wife Jacqueline, hopes to be able to offer more support to local organisations and Grange View First School, where he is a governor.

“I want to hopefully bring a little bit of openness to the parish,” he said.

“Secondly, I want to get the parish to support what is going on in the area. It appears to me at the moment that the parish doesn’t seem to support certain voluntary groups that really need support to do well.

“As far as I can see ATAC (Area Training and Activity Centre) does a good job, with volunteers supporting the youth and elderly people, giving them something to do, giving people the opportunity to meet each other, get some training on computers and giving them a social activity.

“The council seems to ignore ATAC, as does everybody else apart from the people who use it.”

The two members were formally sworn in at this month’s parish meeting.