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Shinty man Russell Jones takes in most votes in Badenoch and Strathspey

Russell Jones joins John Bruce, Muriel Cockburn and Bill Lobban as councillors for Badenoch and Strathspey
Russell Jones joins John Bruce, Muriel Cockburn and Bill Lobban as councillors for Badenoch and Strathspey

Independent candidate Russell Jones has been elected as a councillor for Badenoch and Strathspey after amassing the most first preference votes.

For first time candidate Jones, he says the hard work is just about to begin.

Mr Jones was elected alongside returning councillors John Bruce, Conservative, Muriel Cockburn, SNP and fellow independent Bill Lobban.

Restoring local identity key

Mr Jones, who is heavily involved with Kingussie Camanachd, spoke of his delight.

Independent councillor for Badenoch and Strathspey Russell Jones

He said: “I am pleased to get there. Now the campaigning is over and I am looking forward to start work.

“The numbers were good but I have got to work hard and repay that faith and that is certainly what I intend to do.

“I am a local person, I went to school and I grew up in Badenoch and Strathspey and I am very proud to call Badenoch and Strathspey my home.

“In recent years, for various reasons, maybe a bit of local identity has been lost.

“I would certainly want to bring that back.”

‘It is not a theme park’

Mr Jones says providing housing and jobs for locals are top of his priority.

He also wishes to improve public transport.

In particular, he is keen to protect his local area and ensure it is given the best opportunity to thrive.

He added: “I stood on local issues and that is what I am going to push for.

“We live in a beautiful area. I more than anyone appreciate it. I love going out on the bike and my adventures and all the rest of it.

“It is not a theme park. We have to be allowed to live and work here.”

Result

Mr Jones attracted 1,280 first preference votes with Muriel Cockburn receiving 886.

John Bruce took 861, with Bill Lobban, who served as convener of the Highland Council last time round, attracting 842 first preference votes.

‘It should be about what people in our communities want’

Fellow Independent Morven Reid, who will represent Culloden and Ardersier, said she had been “blown away” by the response.

She said: “When I was first approached to consider standing, it has always been very much about community.

“Politics gets taken into this really grass-roots level and it shouldn’t be.

“It should be about what people in our local communities want.

“We should be working with them, for them and actually feel the same because it is issues that are relevant to each and every one of us.

“Whether it is schools, roads, developments, without infrastructure, the things I have been hearing about time and time again when I have been out on the doorsteps.”

Morven Reid will represent the Culloden and Ardersier Ward.

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