Liberal Democrats were celebrating in Highbridge last night (Thursday) after their candidate won the Highbridge and Burnham Marine district council by-election.

Helen Groves won the vacant seat on Sedgemoor District Council with 379 votes while Bill Hancock (Con) was second with 288. Sally Williams (Ind) polled 253 votes, Richard Holcombe (Lab) polled 249 and Purple Watkins (Ind) had 68.

The turnout was down from previous council elections in the ward at just 22.1%, possibly due to the wintry weather conditions.

Cllr Groves told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “I would like to thank the residents of Highbridge and Burnham Marine for both their support and their generosity of spirit in the weeks leading up to this election. I am tremendously grateful to all those who braved the -3°C temperatures to come out and vote and I will repay their trust every single day for the next two years by ensuring their views truly are heard at Sedgemoor.”

“I would also like to extend my thanks to Bill Hancock, Ricky Holcombe, Sally Williams and Purple Watkins. Winter elections are tremendously difficult and they will all have worked very hard to ensure the people of our towns have democratic choice.”

“I sincerely hope that over the course of the next two years the community and I will be able to build a co-operative and effective voice for Highbridge and Burnham Marine at Sedgemoor District Council.”

Burnham and Highbridge MP Tessa Munt, who was present at last night’s election count in Highbridge Community Centre, said she was “delighted” with the result, adding: “I am extremely pleased for Helen – she is very tenacious and determined. Helen will fight hard to get a good deal for Highbridge and Burnham.”

The election was called after Liberal Democrat Joe Leach stood down from his seat last year, as reported by Burnham-On-Sea.com here.

The count of the votes took place in Highbridge Community Centre and was overseen by Sedgemoor District Council’s election team

Candidates Helen Groves, Richard Holcombe, Purple Watkins and Sally Williams. Bill Hancock did not attend last night’s count

The Labour Party said it was pleased with its increased share of the vote