Meet the county's youngest councillor

By Matt WhiteFOR most people aged in their mid-20s, the idea of becoming a politician may seem years ahead of their time.However, one 24-year-old is set to challenge this.

By Matt White

FOR most people aged in their mid-20s, the idea of becoming a politician may seem years ahead of their time.

However, one 24-year-old is set to challenge this. For Ben Redsell, who lives in Melton, has been elected Suffolk's youngest county councillor.

The Conservative candidate won the Woodbridge by-election on Thursday with a majority of 123, polling 990 votes.

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"We have been campaigning for five weeks, working from eight in the morning until after dark. I am pleased that all the hard work has paid off," he said.

Mr Redsell stood at the age of 21 as an Independent candidate for Woodbridge against Conservative Nigel Barratt in June 2001, but lost the contest.

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However, following Mr Barratt's resignation this year, the Conservatives chose Mr Redsell to stand in his place.

Mr Redsell was born in Buckinghamshire, but grew up in Burgh. He attended Woodbridge School and Farlingaye Sixth Form, from where his interest in politics stemmed.

After Labour's 1997 General Election victory, the sixth-form held its own mock elections and that inspired Mr Redsell to strive to make a difference in the world around him.

"I have always been interested in current affairs and this encouraged me to get involved in politics," he said.

Mr Redsell felt young people should take a more active interest in politics and added: "People only become involved in something if they think it affects them."

He comes from a farming family, which has not been heavily involved with politics before, although his grandfather, from Hasketon, was a district councillor.

Now he is an elected councillor, Mr Redsell hoped to influence the local issues that are important to him. "Woodbridge deserves an independent voice. I can fight for this for Woodbridge, but also as a Conservative for Suffolk," he said.

Mr Redsell is also a Woodbridge town councillor and the Conservative Party agent in Ipswich.

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