Newly-elected Gainsborough East councillor Mark Binns in pledge to residents
A newly-elected district councillor has pledged to honour the memory of the colleague he succeeded by dealing with problems on his ward.
Liberal Democrat Mark Binns won the Gainsborough East by-election, prompted by the death last October of his friend and fellow party member Mel Starkey.
The 41-year-old, who has also served as a town councillor for the past six years, has claimed he has "big shoes to fill".
Long-serving Cllr Starkey was a former postman, Gainsborough town mayor and also acted as chairman of the West Lindsey authority during a 30-year public service career.
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He represented a ward which is recognised as one of the 11 most deprived areas in the East Midlands region.
"Cllr Starkey was well respected, he knew everyone in the ward – so if I'm going to reach his level, then I've got to work as hard as I can," said Cllr Binns, of Acacia Avenue in the town.
"At the end of the day you've got to put the political part behind and do what's expected.
"I want to work with others to achieve more for the residents of Gainsborough East ward and I'm looking forward to working with people to resolve problems.
"As a town councillor in the ward I've already assisted many residents with housing issues.
"I've helped community groups to source vital funding and campaigned for a local chemist in Queensway, which was achieved last year.
"And I've met the new police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick for a tour of the ward because I want to keep the streets safe.
"I've been voted in and now it's time to roll up my sleeves and do the job people have entrusted me to do.
"When I signed up to be a councillor I signed up to work to improve things for the people and make sure they get a better deal.
"I didn't expect to win. When the results were announced I was really shocked. I couldn't sleep that night."
Born in Hull, Cllr Binns moved to Gainsborough with his family as a young child. He studied engineering and science at college.
He lives with his 18-year-old son, Michael, and is an active member of Gainsborough's St John Ambulance detachment, earning a 13-year service award.
West Lindsey district Council chief executive Manjeet Gill said: " He is experienced as a councillor and has lobbied for improvements and made them stick.
"Now he is a district and a town councillor he will have more weight to achieve more for the area.
"He is clearly passionate about the communities in Gainsborough East ward."