At 80 Geoffrey Woollard to fight Cambridgeshire by election after sitting councillor takes £100k a year job with Mayor Palmer

Geoffrey Woollard at the stay in Europe campaign stall

Geoffrey Woollard at the stay in Europe campaign stall - Credit: Archant

Octogenarian Geoffrey Woollard is coming out of retirement to fight a by election caused by the resignation of Soham county councillor Paul Raynes.

Geoffrey Woollard

Geoffrey Woollard - Credit: Archant

Mr Woollard said: “I am still amazed and angered that the people of Soham North and Isleham have been let down by the Conservative gentleman who was elected as their county councillor only last year – supposedly for a full four-year term.

“Now, he has gone and they and we face a by-election to fill the vacancy.”

He said: “I know that I am old – 80 this year – and that age and a ‘dodgy’ knee cramps my style somewhat, but I am putting myself forward as an independent to take the place of the man who has just been appointed to a ‘job for the boys’ with Mayor James Palmer.”

He said he was “already picking up support” having previously been a county councillor for Burwell and a district councillor for Bottisham.

Geoffrey Woollard

Geoffrey Woollard - Credit: Archant

He also served as a town or parish councillor at various times at Swaffham Bulbeck and Swaffham Prior and more recently in Soham.

“My experience of Cambridgeshire local government is pretty comprehensive – I know about councils and how they work - and I believe that I have been useful to people wherever I have been,” he said.

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Mr Woollard is a retired farmer and lives with his wife in Soham: they have two children, two grand-children and three great grandchildren.

“Though I am old my thoughts and actions have always favoured both young and old,” he said.

“I have been involved with several schools and colleges and I am extremely interested in what goes on at the three primary schools in Soham and the one at Isleham, along with Soham Village College and the various post-16 establishments..

“Care of the elderly is a particular passion of mine. And our roads, streets and pavements are in a disgraceful state. They have been neglected: they need urgent attention.”

He said: “I believe that I can offer better representation than can yet another party hack. Independents are not as plentiful as party hacks but I believe them to be more valuable, for they put people first and party politics at the back of the queue.”

Mr Woollard added: “If I succeed when the by-election comes, I guess I will be the oldest ever freshly-elected Cambridgeshire county councillor.

“It will be fun, though, but it is for the electors of Soham North and Isleham (the county ward) to decide my and their future.”

Mr Raynes, a former British diplomat, who was elected last year, has forced the by election after only a year in office after taking on a £100,000 directorship a year of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

He is the second East Cambs councillor to quit and cause a by election – Tom Hunt resigned from the district council after he, too, was offered a post by Mayor Palmer.