Ann's straight talking and no-nonsense approach (along with her media profile since retiring) ensures there is never an empty seat nor a dull moment when she visits. Walking down a road is a nightmare: drivers hoot, people ask for selfies and passers-by shout and whistle. As you walk along you can feel heads turn and hear people say "is that who I think it is...." The only other politician with such reach is Boris Johnson.
When last year we launched the West Kent 500+ Club and needed a big name to front it up, Ann readily agreed. Her face on the front of the flyer and her signature on the letter ensures they are read. And her endorsement has played no small part in the fact that over half of our 800 500+ Club members are from outside the party's membership list.
Last night Ann returned to Kent to host a Cheese and Wine Reception for our 500+ Club members. Whilst here she picked the October, November and December winning numbers (£5,300 in prizes) and also presented "dividend cheques" to the five West Kent Associations for over £10,000 (that's right - over £10,000 raised from the 500+ Club in year one).
Ann is now almost 70 years of age. She has forged a lucrative career outside parliament: TV, Pantomime, lecturing on cruise ships and even an appearance at the English National Opera. She doesn't traipse back to Kent because she needs the money (we don't even pay her expenses) nor the attention (she gets that everywhere she goes). She does it because she supports the Conservative Party and wishes to help us win.
We need more Ann Widdecombes and fewer Stephen Phillips!
|Officers from Chatham & Aylesford receive their 500+ Club profit share of £1882.|