BELOW are brief statements from the seven candidates standing for election in the Dunbar and East Linton ward at the East Lothian Council election on Thursday, May 5.

Three of them will be elected.

Dunbar and East Linton ward, which includes Dunbar, East Linton, Innerwick, Oldhamstocks, Spott, Stenton, Tyninghame, West Barns and Whittingehame, currently has 1 councillor each from the Conservatives, Labour and the SNP.

Candidates are listed below in alphabetical order.

Timothy Anderson (Scottish Family Party)

East Lothian Courier:

OUR attempts to obtain, via the Scottish Family Party, a small biography from Mr Anderson were, unfortunately, unsuccessful – here is a summary of some of the party’s policies: The Scottish Family Party says it “wants to support families to make their own decisions and meet their individual needs” and says that it will “scrap the vague and woolly Curriculum for Excellence”, “protect children from vulgar and corrupting sex education”, “honour and celebrate parenthood as a high calling, instead of glorifying career and diminishing the value of home life”, “protect free speech, opposing all hate speech legislation”, “reduce family breakdown by promoting marriage”, “respect life, opposing both abortion on demand and assisted suicide”, and “oppose transgender ideology, especially the confusing of children”.

Jacquie Bell (Lib Dems)

East Lothian Courier:

I HAVE lived in Belhaven with my family for over 30 years. In that time, I have built a track record of getting things done in the local community. Most recently, I was joint co-ordinator of the Covid Response Network in Dunbar and West Barns. I was previously the Lib Dem councillor for the ward and have been a community councillor for over 20 years. I am currently chair of Dunbar and East Lothian Area Partnership and have been a member of many other local organisations, including as a trustee for Dunbar Day Centre. I have campaigned to retain services at Belhaven Hospital, to improve safety on the A1, and for better rail services. If elected, I would be a full-time councillor, listening to the views of all the towns and villages in the ward, representing the views of local people and regularly reporting back to local residents.

Donna Collins (Conservative)

East Lothian Courier:

I WAS born in Dunbar and have lived in the area my whole life. From a background of fishing and farming , I now run my family farm at Thorntonloch. I have been involved in many local groups and organisations over the past 40 years, including the British Red Cross, St Andrew’s Ambulance, the army cadets, the Scouts, and Dunbar's old age pensioners club to name but a few. I have also been a community councillor for Innerwick for the past 12 years. I believe my strong community connections give me a better understanding of the needs of the local people of both Dunbar and East Linton. I loves my home ward and getting out amongst the community, and actively encourage residents to contact me to discuss their issues or merely to have a chat. If elected, I promise to work hard to make a positive difference for the people of the area.

Norman Hampshire (Labour)

East Lothian Courier:

I AM MARRIED to Joan and have three daughters – Adele, Alana and Jemma. I have lived all my life in Dunbar and ran my own business in the town for over 30 years until my retirement. I am a very experienced councillor, having first been elected to the council in 1988. I have served on all of the council’s committees and am now the council leader. The minority Labour Group administration I lead has been praised by Audit Scotland for good financial management. I worked hard to bring forward major multi-million ambitious projects into East Lothian like the QMU Food and Drink Innovation Hub, Cockenzie Energy and Business Park, and many other employment opportunities. During my time on the council, I have been responsible for delivering significant investment and many improvements in Dunbar. I am committed to delivering more affordable housing, improvements in education, adult social care and community facilities.

Mark James (Greens)

East Lothian Courier:

DUNBAR has been my home for 21 years. I moved to live in a community where people knew and had time for each other. I want to build on the many positive aspects of the area. I worked for Sustaining Dunbar providing energy advice, gardening and cycling projects. More recently, I joined its board and sit on the area partnership. I worked for and saw how effective The Ridge has been supporting and training young people. We need more similar opportunities across the county. I am already involved with East Lothian Council (ELC), a member of the Cycle Forum and Local Access Forum. I will represent everyone in my community and focus on effective cross-party working, making tangible improvements to: active travel, safer routes to school, supporting training and jobs, radically improving the council’s housing stock. Above all, I will push ELC to tackle the climate emergency and meet their net-zero targets.

Lyn Jardine (SNP)

East Lothian Courier:

I’VE lived in the ward of Dunbar and East Linton for the last 12 years. I’m married to Innes, who I met at school, and we have an eight-year-old son who keeps us both on our toes. I’ve worked all my life in housing, health and social care, across public and third sectors, as well as self-employed. I now manage our constituency MSP's team across parliament and the constituency, and find the work incredibly rewarding. I have always undertaken a voluntary role wherever I’ve lived. Most recently, I served several years as chair of Women’s Aid East and Midlothian, chair of East Linton Primary School Parent Council and a director of Volunteer Centre East Lothian. Having worked in a number of local authorities across Scotland, and seeing how councillors can create change locally, I feel incredibly privileged to now be standing as a candidate in this election.

Cris Thacker (Independence for Scotland Party)

East Lothian Courier:

I LIVE in Spott with my wife and son. We are active members of the community and, like you, wish to live sustainably. This isn’t as easy, as I work in Edinburgh and our transport infrastructure – especially in our rural settings – could be improved. If more of us worked closer to home, this would help, yet high-paying careers are hard to find locally. As an Agri-marine, industrial and tourism area we are – like Scotland as a whole – blessed with an abundance of natural, technical and human resources that could be better managed to promote a vibrant green economy for those of us that choose Dunbar and East Linton as home. Unlike the centralising, power-hungry SNP, I understand that decision-making is socially, fiscally and politically safer in the hands of our communities rather than wielded arbitrarily by old-school political careerists in Haddington, Edinburgh and, of course, Westminster.