I’VE already thanked those who voted me on to Cowling parish council on May 6, but the thanks have to be extended to those 555 of the electorate of the village who turned out to vote.

In near six decades of having the franchise I’ve not seen such astonishing local hustings. Telegraph poles adorned with manifestos and personal details, Cowling Chat on Facebook plastered with same, promises for change hurled around like brides’ bouquets, discussion and debate through masks outside the Bay Horse. I’ve never lived in any village where this extraordinary interest in the local polls has shown itself at all, let alone to almost soapbox level.

Our turnout of 30 per cent would appear lower than the other local wards, but their electorates were far smaller than ours and Cowling’s linear structure as a village is always a factor in turnout. That so many did cast their votes shows that parish pump politics still have importance if promoted strongly enough. The turnout was more than creditable.

The elections resulted in there being no fewer than four women on our council, seemingly a first for the village and perhaps a local glass ceiling broken? Their energy and ideas will serve the village well.

The new council has its locals and 'offcumdens', it’s aged from 35 to 75, and still has some of the previous council members for continuity and experience. We new councillors, and we are many, are nervous in our inexperience but determined to do the job right. And again, thanks to all of you who voted us in. We will all try to make a difference.

Cllr Allan Friswell