The pace is hotting-up for us all, and without the help and support of an enormous team of helpers we simply wouldn't be able to cope. Times like these make me realise how fortunate I am (and our local Associations and candidates are) to have the support of such dedicated volunteers and staff. I am guilty of sometimes taking their goodwill for granted, so I wanted to place on the record how much they contribute and how much we all appreciate their commitment.
So thank you to the West Kent Towers team - here is the roll call:
To our Data Management Team - Thelma Huggett, Joe Mamo, David and Catherine Adams, George Mercieca, Owen and Chris Baldock, Sarah Hamilton, Sue Nuttall, Vivian Branson, David Elliott, Liam Keeble, Michael Payne, Mary and Tim Streater who between them provide 50 hours a week of data-entry cover. This week alone they are going to capure over 6,000 voting intentions and over 1,000 additional pieces of information.
To Gill Levine who comes in each and every week for up to six hours at a time to manage our membership renewals and reminders. Often assisted at peak times by her sister Glynis Coates.
To Max Martin who keeps the books and banks the cheques.
To Brenni Wilson, Joyce Gadd and Pat Gulvin who all run our "remote packing teams" - they open their homes and organise volunteers who, between them, have packed up to 50,000 envelopes in a single day.
To my five sub agents, John Wilson, John Balcombe, Janet Sergison, Steve Sheppard and David Elliott who are handling all the local government nomination papers and share much of the adminitrative burdens of running an election campaign.
To the West Kent Chairman, William Rutherford, and the West Kent Treasurer, Allan Sullivan,who work furiously to smooth ruffled feathers and keep everyone content and legally compliant.
To our service partners: Howard and Andy at LionHouse who provide our IT and phone systems and always respond quickly to calls for help. And to our printer Jason Allen at DA Printers Ltd in Rochester. Although we pay them for their services, they both go above and beyond the call of duty and they never let us down. In particular, to our graphic designer Caroline Spenceley who patiently deals with my twenty phone calls or emails a day asking her to change designs or update copy or move headlines, jpgs or text "a little bit up the page."
But perhaps most importantly of all; to Jon Botten and Matt Boughton, without whose dedication, loyalty, good humour and hard work we simply wouldn't cope. Jon has been with us for four years now and I have seen him grow from a shy and diffident intern to a strong and confident deputy, whose friendship I value and who, on a personal level, I trust implicitly. And Matt - whose first job post university was at West Kent Towers, and has developed into a confident and capable colleague, with an enormous capacity for work - much of it tedious and repetitive, which he undertakes without complaint. Two great guys who are worth their weight in gold.
This post is a tribute to the core team who keep the West Kent Towers show on the road and as such I have not mentioned our Association and branch officers, councillors, candidates and activists who work tirelessly in their own fields, but without whom our work would not get done and we would not win elections.
The Conservative Party is fortunate to have such a magnificent team.