A MUSICIAN, educator, artist and now a parliamentary candidate.

Well-known throughout the Tyne Valley, Hexham resident Penny Grennan was selected as the Labour party’s candidate for the Hexham constituency at the local hustings last week.

She received 78 per cent of the vote with a total of 137, with Denise Robson, of Gateshead, gaining 21 votes and Anya Cook, of Newcastle, 18.

Penny has lived in Hexham for the past 25 years and has worked in adult education, including managing Hexham Campus . She is also well-known as a member of the Cherry Pickers band.

Politically, she is the Hexham Labour constituency vice-chairwoman with roles including campaign organiser and women’s officer. She is also secretary of the Hexham Labour branch.

She said: “I want to thank the other candidates as they were really good, but I think people are really hungry for a local candidate who is established in the constituency.

“It’s about being accessible, being here and understanding what it is like to live in the constituency, and I have experienced that for 25 years. I established the sensory garden in Hexham with my pupils and I started the Fairtrade group which acquired Fairtrade status for Hexham, so I am definitely somebody who gets things done in the community.”

Penny will have her work cut out to come into power in a Conservative stronghold. Her main priorities include fighting for Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) and climate change.

She said: “One of the things I’m really keen on campaigning against is the WASPI situation as there’s 3.8m of them in the country, and I am one. I have lost £47,000 through the delay in my pension and I have had to go back to work. Regardless of being affected myself, women born between 1950 and 1955 have been seriously affected and our current MP stated myself and other women should do an apprenticeship.

“On climate change, we have to do something about that as it’s a global issue. We need to look at recycling, use of plastic and vehicle usage.”

She added: “I am totally committed to a change in government because our infrastructure is being demolished and a large number of people in this constituency are going to the food bank on a regular basis, which is totally unacceptable. The concept of the ‘working poor’ is going back to Victorian times.”