|Address|| c/o Cheltenham Liberal Democrats 16 Hewlett Road|
Cheltenham, GL52 6AA, United Kingdom
|| October 12, 1962
|Contributor||Easily Offended Man|
|Last Modifed||User 215|
Apr 23, 2005 07:47am
|Info||Martin Horwood was born in the old St.Paul’s maternity hospital in Cheltenham in 1962. |
His parents lived first in St.Mark’s and then in Leckhampton, where his mother still lives today. Martin joined the Cheltenham Young Liberals while still at school here in 1979, inspired by the Liberal Party’s local campaigning and their commitment to issues like the environment and third world development.
He went to Oxford University to read Modern History in 1981, and was elected President of the Oxford Student Liberal Society and then Chair of the party’s national student wing, the Union of Liberal Students.
After graduating and leaving student politics, Martin worked first in a London advertising agency and then in the voluntary sector. In 1990 he moved to Oxford to work for Oxfam and was elected as a local district and parish councillor there. Martin fought the 1992 general election in Oxford East while Nigel Jones won Cheltenham for the Lib Dems. During his stay at Oxfam, Martin’s teams raised tens of millions of pounds for the poor in developing countries, including £2.5m for victims of the Rwanda genocide.
Martin always kept in touch with family and friends in Cheltenham and joined groups like the Leckhampton Green Land Action Group (of which his father Don was later chairman) to support the campaign against over-development around the town.
In 1995 he married Dr Shona Arora who was then training in public health medicine. They moved to India for a year, Martin working for Oxfam and Shona for the UN programme on AIDS and a small charity working on sexual health in the slums of Delhi.
They returned to the UK, Martin becoming the first Director of Fundraising at the Alzheimer’s Society, the leading care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers. Martin led the team that won the charity Tesco Charity of the Year, earning £16,000 for the Cheltenham branch of the Society alone. On one visit home, he spoke at the Cheltenham branch meeting alongside his friend Andy Pennington, who later died tragically in the notorious sword attack in which Nigel Jones was also injured.
While living in London, Martin stood again for parliament in the Tory stronghold covering the City of London and Westminster (Martin has never stood for election in an area in which he didn’t already live and work).
Martin returned home to Cheltenham in 2001 to work for local business Target Direct which works mainly with charity clients, including the British Heart Foundation, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Cheltenham’s own National Star College. He became their Head of Consultancy. Shona was appointed Director of Public Health for Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.
Martin and Shona have a daughter Maya, now 3, and son Sam, born last April – both born in Cheltenham General. Martin supported local campaigns like the Save Battledown campaign in defence of the children’s ward at the General – and he was a supporter before he was an election candidate, not least because Maya was treated on Battledown ward as an outpatient.
Last year Nigel Jones unexpectedly announced that he was standing down due to ill health, following two heart attacks. Martin was democratically chosen by local party members to be the new Lib Dem candidate. He was quickly endorsed by Nigel and by the other contestants for the candidacy including his old friend Robins chairman Paul Baker.
Since being selected Martin has used his new position to campaign vigorously on the key local issues he cares about:
· Attending and speaking at public NHS meetings in defence of Battledown ward, lobbying decision-makers and publicising the campaign. He recently met Health Secretary John Reid in support of the all-party campaign. He was the only parliamentary candidate to lobby the Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Primary Care Trust meeting that considered the Battledown decision.
· Submitting a powerful response to the South West Regional Assembly’s plans for the local green belt and speaking at the public consultation in defence of our green spaces. Martin was the only parliamentary candidate to do so.
· Launched a crime survey across Cheltenham and raised concerns about low-level crime and disorder and serious vandalism – particularly in our parks and shopping areas. He met the Chief Constable of Gloucestershire to discuss the situation and Cheltenham’s need for more police on the beat.
· He has lobbied all the three rail companies expected to bid for the new Greater Western franchise, seeking assurances from them about the future of services to Cheltenham Spa station.
Martin expects to win Cheltenham again for the Liberal Democrats but there is no doubt it will be a close contest. If you’d like to help in Martin’s campaign, click here.