As your city councillor you’ve seen my ugly mug throughout the year, in this paper, on social media, in our leaflets and letters and, for many of you, in my role as a nurse in A&E. My record speaks for itself.

With only one week to go before the Local Elections I haven’t felt the need to write to this paper over the last few weeks to prove I exist. I’m here week in, week out, working with my colleagues Cllrs Colin Campbell and Ryk Downes and for those of you in Otley our Lib Dem led town council.

Examples of our joint working include securing the reopening of the wards and the creation of an Urgent Treatment Centre at Wharfedale Hospital, we also secured the long term future of Suffolk Court and staved off, for now, the closures of Ellar Ghyll Waste and Recycling Centre, Chippendale Pool in Otley and the Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre in Yeadon.

We continue to work with interested groups and individuals in improving our towns and the streets that we live in. We have created safer residential streets and improved pedestrian safety. Our environmental credentials include improving Wellcroft and Tarn Field play parks, upgrading Wharfemeadows, Manor Garth and Engine Fields paths and campaigning against the erosion of our countryside, green-spaces and Green Belt. We have introduced new electric charging points for cars, increased recycling collection points and planted hundreds of trees in support of the town and city’s declaration of a Climate Emergency. We also continue our campaign for kerbside glass recycling.

And I have literally helped hundreds of residents with their problems and concerns with everything from adult social care to zebra crossings. This more than anything is why I’m your councillor.

I understand that some of my political opponents at this time of year need to get their voices heard by talking down Otley in particular and but I just have to fundamentally disagree because Otley and Yeadon are great places to live, to work and to play.

Of course, there is always more to be done and no one, least me, denies that we have many challenges facing us in these difficult times, like all communities across this great land, but I just don’t recognise the world my opponents portray.

It needs elected members with the experience, skills and knowledge to stand up for our communities, to turn up throughout the year and not just at elections. It needs elected members who think deeply, think widely and are prepared to sometimes make difficult choices and decisions.

Finally, and I make no apology for saying this but Otley and Yeadon would look very different if it were not for your local Lib Dem councillors. In serious times, it needs serious people prepared to do serious work and I hope I have proved to you that I am serious about Otley and Yeadon and for that reason I once again ask you to vote for me.

Thank you, stay safe and stay well.

Sandy Lay,