Council co-opts new member after vote

Bew Sleaford Town Councillor Stephanie Dale. EMN-170623-165527001
Bew Sleaford Town Councillor Stephanie Dale. EMN-170623-165527001

Sleaford appointed what is thought to be its first transgender town councillor at a co-option meeting last week.

Coach driver Stephanie Dale, who has lived in the town since 2002, was selected as new member for Mareham Ward by the casting vote of the vice-chairman after members were evenly split on who to choose from two candidates.

Coun Dale, 49, is an administrator for the Love Sleaford Facebook site which she described as “one of the more positive sites”.

She told The Standard her goal is to serve the community wherever needed to get things done while hopefully encouraging positivity about the town and its development. She is keen to see improvements in the town’s transport infrastructure to reduce car congestion by encouraging more bus services from outlying villages, which would potentially bring in more shoppers too.

She also jointly runs the Sleaford LGBT group and Facebook site and said: “We are in the process of re-launching that to keep it fresh and generate new interest. We meet monthly as a support group with events such as going to nightclubs, outings or just meeting for coffee.”

In joining the council her aim was not to promote awareness as a transgender person, although she said that would be a bonus. She added: “Me being transgender is a very small part of what and who I am. I am still undergoing the early stages of transition and awaiting the operation.

“My goal is to do the best that I can for the community.”

Having only been openly transgender for a year, she was pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed at the local community’s acceptance of diversity.

Newly elected Conservative Councillor Melody Shanahan-Kluth was welcomed at Wednesday’s council meeting too, saying: “I really hope I can do my best and do things for Sleaford town and council.”