Remembering Cllr Ed Townsend: How you can help keep the Liberal Democrat flame alive in Newport

Cllr Ed TownsendWhen we lost Dad the day before the Assembly elections, we were struck by the kindness shown by the Liberal Democrats. The messages of support and the respect Dad was held in meant a great deal to us.

We loved Dad as children and had a huge admiration of him as Lib Dem members as well.

Ed – as he was known by everyone else – had been a long-standing member, first of the Liberals and then the Liberal Democrats. He joined after Margaret Thatcher won her second term, saying then that he felt he had to do something.

He cut his early campaigning teeth in election campaigns in Birkenhead.

In the years since he moved to Newport in South Wales, he came just over 800 votes behind Labour in the Assembly elections, and only 1650 behind them in the 2010 General Election.

Alongside his team, Ed took the Lib Dems from one seat to nine in Newport City Council. He also led the local Lib Dems into the first non-Labour Council coalition in Newport. Although working with the Conservatives wasn’t his first instinct, he did it so the people of Newport could have a change from the status quo that had prevailed for almost 28 years. That’s time enough for any one party.

Ed worked hard to win, but also to represent the local area. He loved campaigning, and he prided himself on fighting for residents in his area. That has come through in the moving letters and notes we have had from residents paying tribute to his service.

That hard work was vindicated in 2012. Despite a poor night for the Lib Dems locally, where we lost 8 out of 9 seats, Ed himself kept his seat.

By one vote.

With the by-election to take place on 28 July,  we need all the help we can get. In the recent Assembly elections, the Welsh Liberal Democrats struggled, losing all but Kirsty’s seat. In 2012, our local councillor base was reduced. With the next Welsh local elections taking place in 2017, this is our chance to retain this seat and show the people of Newport we are still here.

And show Labour that we are still fighting strong.

This won’t be easy. We only won by one vote. That means this election is on a knife-edge.

Carmel, our Mum – Ed’s wife – will be standing for the party. She was a councillor until 2012 for the area, and has a local record in her own right.

But we need all the help we can get. Both in terms of activity on the ground – but as importantly, with donations to help us fight the campaign. So soon after the Assembly elections, our fighting fund is depleted.

Can you help?

If you can volunteer for canvassing, delivery or phonecalls, please contact [email protected], or text 07734 408275.

If you can help with a donation, large or small, please do so. Even just £10 can help us keep the fight going in Newport a little longer. You can donate here.

Ed – Dad – was a good man. As his children, we have our many memories to keep us going. And many of those memories involve his activism, his dedication and loyalty to the Liberal Democrats.

It is our hope that across the party, those who knew Dad can rally round, and help take the fightback to Labour in Newport.

And… what is better than a winnable election to bring a minibus or coach full of new members to get a taste of a local campaign? Good practice for a snap election?

With your help, we can win by much more than one vote this time.

Thank you.

* Oliver Townsend is Oliver Townsend is Prospective Senedd candidate for Islwyn and Chair of Newport and Severnside Liberal Democrats

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3 Comments

  • Ed’s death was a great loss to Newport. People I know who live that way (Labour supporters living in St Julians) were shocked and very sad at the news, saying he was a great councillor. 2010 was a huge ‘so nearly’ moment in the Welsh Labour heartlands.
    All the best to Carmel for reprising the challenge.

  • Richard Easter 2nd Jul '16 - 12:39pm

    Deepest sympathies to his family, friends and community.

  • Sandy Walkington 3rd Jul '16 - 6:12pm

    Huge respect to Ed for the way he came so close to making it in previously barren territory – electoral success is such a lottery for any of us and we don’t always win where we work bloody hard. It was also my pleasure to be a close colleague of Ed at BT when he represented the company in Wales. A great loss, good luck to Carmel!

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