96-year-old could become UK's oldest councillor

A 96-year-old woman in Newcastle could become the UK's oldest councillor following this week's local council elections.
Florence Kirkby has vowed to stand up for the elderly and for teachers if she wins a seat for the Conservatives in the newly created Manor Park ward in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Believed to the oldest candidate standing in the elections on Thursday, she says she is "looking to the future".The nonagenarian, from Gosforth, spent her entire career in education, as a teacher, headmistress and on the governing body of Newcastle University, receiving an MBE for her services to education in 2013.:: Local elections - all you need to know
96-year-old could become UK's oldest councillor

Miss Kirkby spent her entire career in education
She said: "If I am elected I will be looking to the future for Newcastle. My particular interest is in education and in health."Ms Kirkby believes the coverage of older people is often unfairly negative and aims to change how they are perceived."There needs to be a voice for older people - about a quarter of people in their 80s and 90s are in homes or being cared for, so that leaves three-quarters who are looking after themselves," she said."When you hear about older people (in the media), it's usually that there are too many of them and they are absorbing all the resources of the health service. There's no acknowledgement about what they can contribute."I thought it was time there was somebody who could take a stand."
96-year-old could become UK's oldest councillor

The Newcastle candidate says older people need a voice
Ms Kirkby says she acknowledges the pressures in education today, but says things have not changed that much."Education today is the same as it has always been - controversial. At the moment schools are being asked to do rather a lot without necessarily having more staff to do it."Born in 1921, Ms Kirkby had an early introduction to politics from her father, an early member of the Labour Party and a close friend of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.:: Local elections - why you should care
96-year-old could become UK's oldest councillor

Ms Kirkby was born in 1921
Aged 18 when the Second World War broke out, she said the conflict taught her just how important democracy is.So, what advice does a 96-year-old candidate have for first-time voters?
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"I would advise them to read carefully all the information and make up their own minds and not be too guided by people they know... If you want more money to be spent on education, be prepared that something will have to be done to raise it.":: Sky News will bring you live coverage of the local election results on web, mobile and TV on Thursday night and throughout Friday. A live blog and results tracker will be running throughout the night, while a special programme from midnight to 6am will come from various count locations, providing analysis of the results as they come in.
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