Somerton and Frome diary – Libby alights on our spatulas!

Photo above – In the Frome HQ, showing off Sarah Dyke’s image and their spatulas, are Holly Gunning (l) and Councillor Emily Pearlstone (r)


It doesn’t seem a long time ago. That was when I last visited Somerton and Frome to campaign for my good friend, David Rendel, in the general election. It was a mark of the chutzpah of David Rendel that he took on the challenge of Somerton and Frome after being MP for Newbury for 12 years.

In the event, the seat was won, with a large majority, by a Conservative newcomer, one David Warburton.

Since then, David Rendel was taken from us far too early and David Warburton has had, let’s say, a somewhat mixed career as an MP which has led him to resigning mid-Parliament.

So, this history resonated with me yesterday as I took a lovely train journey to Frome to help Sarah Dyke in the by-election. I rode to Westbury on the mainline from Paddington to the South-West and then it was just a ten minute journey to Frome.

Firstly, I have to say well done to the team for finding an HQ right next to the train station as well as next to a superb bakery and with an avenue of attractive art to look at as you approach the HQ entrance! The HQ also has an excellent back yard for the egress and exit of poster-laden vehicles!

Holly Gunning greeted me at the front desk.

I’ve attended most parliamentary by-election campaigns since Newbury in 1993. So I have had a reasonable experience of walking into a by-election HQ. It is extremely important that volunteers feel wanted when they walk in.

Full marks to Holly. I think she stands out as one of the most welcoming, friendly and enthusiastic front desk holders that I have come across!

I spent yesterday delivering newspapers and leaflets. I was able to appreciate what a wonderful town Frome is – with its superb old buildings and streets.

I was greatly blessed in that my delivery rounds ended at The Griffin Frome. What a superb pub! It has its own brewery, which used to be behind the bar but got too big so is in a local industrial unit now. Their cool “Hazy Daisy” Pale Ale was very welcome after a hot day’s delivering.

Oh. I nearly forgot. This was the first time I have seen a by-election HQ offering volunteers a free supply of delivery spatulas! (I apologise if I have missed that in previous campaigns). How wonderful! (I had brought my own spatula so it felt at home.) I thought this innovation deserved celebrating with the photo above of Holly Gunning (left) and Councillor Emily Pearlstone (right) using the spatulas to point to Sarah Dyke’s large photo in the HQ.

I mean, for goodness sake, they’ve even got spatulas with Libby on them! (Below)

There are details on how to help in our current by-election campaigns here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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