BELOW are brief profiles of the eight candidates standing for election in the Preston, Seton, Gosford ward at the East Lothian Council election on Thursday, May 4.

Four of them will be elected.

Preston, Seton, Gosford currently has 2 Labour councillors and 2 SNP.

Candidates are listed below in alphabetical order.

Lachlan Bruce (Conservative)

East Lothian Courier:

LACHLAN Bruce is the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for the Preston, Seton and Gosford ward. A lifelong resident of East Lothian, he currently works in the Scottish Parliament, as a Head of Office, helping to deal with constituents’ issues and problems. He specialises in helping MSPs deal with issues that affect armed forces veterans in Scotland. Previously, he worked for the Better Together campaign. He said: “I am standing because I firmly believe that we need a councillor that will stand up for Preston, Seton and Gosford against the SNP in East Lothian and at Holyrood.”


Ghill Donald (Liberal Democrats)

East Lothian Courier:

GHILL Donald lives in Aberlady and has extensive business experience. He was active in the Better Together and the Stronger In referendum campaigns. He said: “I see local councils feeling the effects of the centralising SNP Government’s cost-cutting programme ever more acutely.” And he added: “Council tax rises hide the Scottish Government’s failures in education, health and policing, while the economic consequence of separation from the UK could be a road to bankruptcy, with austerity measures matching those suffered by Greece in 2010.”


Neil Gilbert (SNP)

East Lothian Courier:

NEIL Gilbert is a retired police officer living in Longniddry. He said: “My priorities if elected are simple: housing, education and social care. There are almost 4,000 people on the council house waiting list and their waiting time has more than doubled since 2012. I am keen to see the attainment gap close using the £1.5m of extra funding our schools are receiving specifically for this purpose. Finally social care – East Lothian residents spend longer in hospital than necessary because of the underfunding of care packages. Making this a priority will allow people to return home sooner and save money.”


Willie Innes (Labour)

East Lothian Courier:

WILLIE Innes has been proud to represent local people since 1988. Married to Janis for 25 years, he has lived in Prestonpans since 1981. Willie has been involved in a number of local organisations and was one of the founders of Preston Village Cricket Club. A lifelong supporter of the Labour Party, Willie inherited his values from his mother, who was involved in the trade unions throughout her life. He brings a wealth of experience, having chaired a number of council committees, and most recently has led the council through very difficult financial times, achieving its best ever financial audit.


Fiona O'Donnell (Labour)

East Lothian Courier:

FIONA O’Donnell served as the Member of Parliament for East Lothian from 2010 to 2015. During that time, she helped thousands of local people. She said: “If elected, I will use my experience and commitment to be a strong voice for local communities. I will always put those communities and local people first.” Fiona works for a charity in East Lothian which supports adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems, and is passionate about making a positive change in people’s lives. She added: “I will be a hard-working and effective representative for the ward.”


Lesley Orr (Greens)

East Lothian Courier:

LESLEY Orr is a historian, writer and gender justice activist with long-standing involvement in the movement to eradicate violence against women. She works at the University of Edinburgh and has lived in Prestonpans for eight years. Lesley wants to see greater power and participation in the hands of local people to improve services, transport and support levels for carers. She said: “Poverty is a reality for too many in the county and it’s vital that more women are involved in discussions and decisions about the things that matter in this community.”


Brian Weddell (Labour)

East Lothian Courier:

BRIAN Weddell lives in Prestonpans with his wife Kerri and daughter Ellie and is a member of Prestonpans Community Council. He has been a vociferous critic of ScotRail and is particularly interested in ensuring that there are jobs opportunities for local people with the redevelopment of the Cockenzie Power Station site. Brian has considerable local government experience, having previously been a councillor on both Lothian Region and the City of Edinburgh Council. However, he said: “My first priority as a councillor will be to represent the interests of local people.”


Janis Wilson (SNP)

East Lothian Courier:

JANIS Wilson lives in Prestonpans with her teenage daughter, who is currently in sixth year at Preston Lodge High School. She is a student at the University of Edinburgh, doing an MA in social anthropology with South Asian studies. She graduates this summer. She said: “Education is very important to me and I am keen to ensure folk from all backgrounds have the same access to education that I have had. I believe that people are the backbone of any community and working closely with the community is key to improving quality of life for everyone, not just the privileged.”