‘Health setbacks will not deter us’

Dave Watts
Dave Watts
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A SOUTH Ribble councillor is fighting a more personal battle leading up to the May election.

Former mayor Dave Watts represents the Bamber Bridge East ward, but his plans to stand for re-election were hindered after he broke his arm in five places.

Dave, 64, of Craigflower Court, was cutting branches off a palm tree in his front garden, when he toppled off the step ladders and landed on his arm.

He said: “It was like something from a compensation advert. I blame the fact that I’d had my hair cut the day before; I was still light-headed!

“I was standing on a 5 ft step ladder to cut the bark, and I thought it was secure, but obviously it wasn’t.

“I needed to do the gardening because of the bad frost we’ve had. I just felt the tree needed a trim so that it could start again, and that’s what I need to do now; start again.

“That’s what life’s all about.”

He added: “It’s the first time I’ve broken anything in 64 years, so I made sure to do it properly, making up for lost time.”

Dave now has a plate in his left arm and is plastered up, so is experiencing a setback in his day-job delivering packages for his courier business because he can’t drive for six weeks.

It’s also meant he now understands the frustration felt by fellow Labour councillor Jim Owen, who has been house-bound for a while recovering from cancer.

“Jim found out he had a brain tumour around Christmas time,” Dave said. “He’s starting to get out and about of the house a bit now, but neither of us can drive at the moment, and it is awful.

“We’re both still standing for election though, and we’ll put on a good show. We just aren’t able to post our own leaflets around Bamber Bridge.”

In February, the Guardian reported how Jim, of Stockdale Crescent, had successfully completed his first round of treatment to battle the brain tumour.

He spent time in Royal Preston Hospital where family and friends kept a close watch by his side.

He had 10 lots of radiotherapy over 10 days, to shrink the growth on the stem of his brain.

Jim said: “Me and Dave are not deterred, and we’re going to try our best at the May elections.

“Things have been reasonably bad and it seems to have all come at once, but we’ll have a go and see what happens.”

He added: “Things aren’t too bad for me at the moment. I’m definitely getting better, and I hope to get over it soon.

“I wish Dave all the best of luck.”

The local authority elections take place on May 5.

*The other candidates standing for the Bamber Bridge East ward at the local elections are Conservatives Pete Barlow and Barbara Nathan.