Practice nurse secures comfortable victory in Leiston by-election

Susan Geater has been elected to represent Leiston at Suffolk Coastal District Council. Picture: SCD

Susan Geater has been elected to represent Leiston at Suffolk Coastal District Council. Picture: SCDC - Credit: Archant

A born and bred Leiston nurse has been elected to represent the town after a comfortable by-election victory in an all-female contest.

Susan Geater said she was “very pleased” with the result of the Suffolk Coastal District Council poll, which was announced today.

Mrs Geater, 61, a Conservative candidate, secured 612 votes, which put her securely ahead of her nearest rival, Labour’s Freda Casagrande on 336.

The other two candidates, Sammy Betson, an independent, and the Liberal Democrats’ Jules Ewart secured 293 and 213 votes respectively.

Mrs Geater, who was born in Leiston and has worked as a practice nurse in the town for around 30 years, said she was looking forward to her new role.

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“I’ll have to learn the ropes,” she added.

“I’m very new and I want to make sure that I learn it well and gather experience so that when issues arise I can address them.”

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When asked if she had any initial policies to push for, Mrs Geater said she wanted to see the town’s sports centre refurbished.

“There will be other plans that come up in the future,” she added.

“I want to be able to address any of the town’s problems as effectively as I can.”

The by-election was called last month following the resignation of former Conservative councillor Ian Pratt, who was one of two members representing Leiston at SCDC.

People in the town were invited to nominate candidates - and all four successful nominations were women. The town has a rich heritage in producing female politicians – Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who became the first female mayor of Aldeburgh had links with the town.

Mrs Geater said it was “nice” to be part of an all-female candidate list. “We all knew each other already, so we were able to talk to each other and discuss matters,” she added. “We knew Leiston would have been well represented by any of us. I would have been happy to have supported any of the others had they won.”

Mrs Geater has been a member of Leiston Town Council for around 10 years but this is her first time on the higher tier of local government.

The poll, which was held from 7am-10pm on Thursday, had a turn-out of 1,455, which was 30.4% of the Leiston’s 4,790-strong electorate.

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