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Conservative party chairman Francis Maude
26 February 2007

Conservative party chairman Francis Maude has toured Formby with parliamentary candidate Debi Jones.

They visited Formby Cricket, Hockey and Squash Club and the new pool before meeting local Tory councillors at the Conservative Club, Three Tuns Lane.

Mr Maude praised the volunteers at the cricket, hockey and squash club for their dedication.

"The club receives no funding from the council and it is good to see young people having an outlet for purposeful activity," he told The Champion.

The called the Formby pool "a classic example of people taking responsibility for their community".

Conservatives are keen to promote social responsibility, he said.

Neil Edwards of Formby Cricket, Hockey and Squash Club said: "We have been sharing the problems of local clubs - most are reliant on volunteers' help and grant aid but it is not easy to get.

"More and more responsibility is being put on volunteers such as child care and fire risk assessments and it is increasing their workload so much that we desperately need more volunteers.

The club has recently installed a new all-weather pitch with the help of a grant, allowing them to collect income from renting it to other clubs.

Cllr Debi Jones said Mr Maude's visit had been "terrific".

"Francis really appreciates how important the voluntary sector is to the community.

"The whole thrust of Conservative policy is towards social responsibility and today he has seen this in action," she said.

Mr Maude praised Debi as one of the Tories' "star candidates" for election.

"We couldn't have a better candidate than Debi," he said. "I am very optimistic about us winning the new Sefton Central seat. Debi is well known, hard working, committed and good at relating to people. She works non-stop for the local community and that is what people want in politicians."

Former Conservative minister Edwina Currie will speak at a dinner on Friday February 2 at the Hightown Cricket Club.

She is the third prominent Conservative to visit the constituency within the last fortnight, following former Party Leader Michael Howard and Francis Maude.

Hightown Conservative councillor Martyn Barber said: "I am very much looking forward to meeting her, as indeed are many of our members. She was the type of politician I really liked, no nonsense, she told you it as it was.

"It really is wonderful the number of senior Conservatives who are visiting this area, its a great help in the bid to elect cllr Debi Jones as our MP."

Cllr Jones will stand for election in the new Sefton Central constituency in 2009.


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