A FORMER chief fire officer has thrown his hat into the political ring.
Brian Hesler, who led Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service from 2004 until he retired in 2010, having started his career as a front-line firefighter in 1978, will be standing as a Conservative for Northumberland County Council in next year’s elections, representing the Rothbury ward in which he lives with his wife and young family.
A governor at Harbottle First School, chairman of the Rothbury Scout Group Executive and an active member of the Royal British Legion, Brian said: “After a career in public service, I want to continue working on behalf of my neighbours. My roles with the fire service and with local voluntary organisations have given me experience of working on behalf of residents of Rothbury and its surrounding villages and I know the area and its challenges extremely well.
“I believe we should be doing more in our area by providing better opportunities for our young people and we also need to focus on the pressures of rural exclusion and the impact on our elderly residents.”
Brian was also chairman of the Northumberland Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership and the Northumbria Local Resilience Forum.
He added: “Taking command of major emergencies and disruptions in the Rothbury area, including the floods and power outages, as well as being involved in dealing with the Raoul Moat incident has given me the insight and confidence to serve the people of Rothbury and the Coquet Valley well. Finalising the deal for the new Rothbury Fire Station as part of our modernising programme is one of my proudest achievements, however I feel that this facility could still be better utilised for our residents. I hope to be given the chance to do much more for our area in years to come.”
He added: “Northumberland Conservatives is committed to maintaining a dedicated and independent fire service for Northumberland, which is one of the reasons I am standing as a Conservative.
“The Lib Dems have wasted time and money pursuing their failed plan for a merger with Cumbria, threatening the future of our service and causing uncertainty for the public and employees alike.”