A new Liberal Democrat candidate who hopes to be elected as the county councillor for Bellingham has shared his plans for the ward.

Kevin Smith is a retired doctor who lives just outside Bellingham.

His career has involved him initially training in surgery, time spent working in Africa, and then working in occupational health for many different industries.

He retired in 2019, and joined the Lib Dems 16 months ago.

The party approached him to see if he would be willing to stand for the Bellingham ward.

“I thought about it after I was asked, I decided that I would being a councillor with time and energy and being someone who is willing to listen and respond to local needs.”

Kevin, who has lived in Tynedale for 18 years, said he would actively listen to what the residents actually want the money allocated to county councillors, via the Members’ local improvement scheme, to be spent on.

When his step-dad died, he became his mother’s full-time carer last year. Dr Smith said this gave him a much greater appreciation of the issues of community health and social care.

“On a personal and professional level I can bring my knowledge,” he said.

Kevin said last year he was “carer for his family”, and now wants to be a “carer for his community.”

He said his priorities if he is elected are “keeping in touch with the people so their priorities are my priorities” and that he would regularly attend Parish Council meetings.

Other priorities include affordable housing and “making life and livelihoods better”.

The candidate is an environmental campaigner and is a communications volunteer for Transition Tynedale.

Kevin said if restrictions allow, he hopes to be allowed to get out and meet people ahead of the local elections on May 6.