AN INDEPENDENT candidate in Otley Town Council elections is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father and uncle.

Callum Francis, who is standing in Danefield Ward, says he has a wealth of experience and he believes there is a "real need to get some new blood on the town council and especially some opposition to the current 13 that form the present council along with a Green member".

He says having worked alongside his father Nigel and his late uncle Gerard Francis on various projects in the town, he is far more knowledgeable about Otley and its problems than most people.

Callum Francis was brought up and educated in Otley. On leaving school he attended Leeds City College and studied IT for three years, gaining a certificate and diploma. Upon completing the course, he worked part time for his grandfather at Leeds Road Service Station before getting full time employment with Otley based builders merchants B&TS where he works both in the office and on their trade counters.

He said, like the other members of the Francis family, he is committed to raising funds for various charity and community groups. He serves on various committees including the Otley Vintage Transport Extravaganza and the charity Hang on to a Dream. He is also responsible for the graphic design work on the O.V.T.E. and the Otley Snowman Trail as well as for various other events in the town including the St Gemma’s Fashion Show.

Mr Francis says his interests are based very much on the community at large. He enjoys nothing more than walking up the Chevin and through the surrounding countryside. He says his camera is always with him as he enjoys taking photos of the scenery and wildlife. He also enjoys doing radio voiceovers and experimenting with technology and gets a great deal of satisfaction from rebuilding and upgrading computers.

He said “I know that my father and late uncle constantly fought to protect the lands East of Otley from bypass and everything accompanying it for over 40 years. I cannot stand by and idly watch the historic and beautiful fields and meadows East of Otley being destroyed, especially the Irish fields which are a significant part of Otley’s history. Simply put, how would the people of York feel about the destruction of the Knavesmire."