Wakefield's longest-serving councillor among Labour quartet standing down ahead of local elections

Four Wakefield councillors, including the district's longest-serving elected member, have confirmed they are stepping down ahead of the local elections.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 9:29 am

Graham Stokes, who has represented the Knottingley ward for Labour since 1983, has announced his retirement.

His party colleagues Ros Lund, who serves the Wakefield East ward, Pontefract South's Celia Loughran and Martyn Ward from Ackworth and North Elmsall are also leaving council politics.

All four seats are due to be contested in May, following the postponement of last year's polls because of coronavirus.

Knottingley councillor Graham Stokes has served on the local authority since 1983.

Coun Stokes said: "Being a councillor has been a pleasure, really fantastic.

"I’ve done it for 38 years and I've got to that age where I think it’s time somebody else had a go.

"Organising the Knottingley Carnival was a highlight and something I really enjoyed doing.

"I’m still involved with other activities so I’ll be keeping busy."

Councillor Celia Loughran has repeatedly campaigned for better public transport during her time in office.

Coun Lund, who's represented Wakefield East since 2008, said she was stepping down to spend more time with her family.

"It’s been a brilliant place to represent," she said. "It’s a ward with many challenges but some great multi-cultural communities as well.

"I hope I’ve made things better for them and I wish them all the best.

"I think it’s the right decision but I shall miss the job tremendously."

Coun Martyn Ward has represented Ackworth and North Elmsall since 2012.

Former social worker Coun Loughran has been an effective campaigner during her time in office, calling for better public transport in Pontefract and voicing concerns about cutbacks to youth services.

She said: "I’ve really enjoyed being a councillor and it’s a very important role. I’ve done two terms plus a year and there’s other things I’d like to get involved in.

"I’m going to have a break and then I’m hoping to be involved in some specific projects that will still involve some campaigning."

Coun Ward, who until recently was a member of the council's deputy Cabinet, said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s been a very good experience for the most part and it’s a privileged position.

"I went into the job to help people and I hope I’ve done that."

Labour has selected new candidates to fight for all four seats at the polls on May 6.

Local Democracy Reporting Service