Gareth Wilson

Liberal Democrat Campaigner for Haddenham & Aldreth Learn more

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Jonathan Chatfield writes

by Gareth Wilson on 26 April, 2010

Dear All,

I have always resisted the temptation to start an online diary or blog. But I thought you might be interested in 48 hours in the life of a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate.

Yesterday morning saw me up bright and early to drive to Ely. All candidates (seven of us now) had been invited to Kings Junior School assembly where five children were taking part in a mock election. I went as it was just such a mock election that had started my political career when I was 16! As I was the only candidate to turn up, I was given a special introduction to all the teachers and pupils. The young people presenting were fantastic and they also took me on a tour of the school.

It was then onto the Ely Volunteering Centre to meet Avril the manager (also Ely Town Crier) and other volunteers. What a tremendous work they do including taking elderly people to hospital appointments, helping look after local gardens and much, much more.

A quick phonecall to the Ely Weekly News and then it was 90 minutes of canvassing with Sheila Friend-Smith in Ely – another great response on the door-step with many older voters reminding me they knew Clement Freud when he was the local Liberal MP and what big shoes I had to fill! We met Labour voters who were “loaning” us their votes round here and even a life-long Conservative who said this time she was voting Lib Dem.

After a brief stop for a sandwich (eaten in the car), it was onto Soham to meet Mums and Dads (plus many grandparents) outside one of the schools. We had five of us doing this, so were able to split ourselves and cover both Soham schools. Many young Mums greeted us warmly and said they were voting Lib Dem – some admitting this would be their first time ever voting, having been too disillusioned to vote previously.

There is something happening in this election and it is very exciting.

Today was Ely market at 0915 to tour the Farmers’ market and meet literally hundreds of people. A quick drive to Burwell to chat to people coming in and out of the Co-op. One rather amusing moment was when one of the shop workers rushed out to ask me if I was Nick Clegg. Then across to Soham for a walkabout on the High Street. Then to Fordham outside another Co-op and chatting to one of our newest members who has joined the Lib Dems after being so impressed with Nick Clegg in the recent debates.

We have had 15 new members who have joined the SE Cambs Lib Dems in the last 10 days – something is happening in this campaign!

Back to Soham for a sandwich and coffee – we chose a cafe on the High Street and sat outside. The chap sitting next to us told us he would be voting Lib Dem and asked if he could help deliver some leaflets over the next 10 days – it is so good when people approach you and ask to help – another sign of the changes taking place.

Saturday ended with 90 minutes canvassing in Stretham and then 60 minutes canvassing in Impington and now tackling the emails (I am receiving about 120 emails every day – many from local residents who want to know my views on a variety of subjects before casting their vote – people are so engaged in the issues this time).

Please do get involved in whatever way you can – we have just 10 days in which to achieve a quite tremendous result in SE Cambs.

You can continue to contact me at

With best wishes,

Jonathan Chatfield

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