Wednesday, May 07, 2014

A flavour of the candidates standing in Croydon


Croydon born and bred, Tracey Hagues' career went from a Dance degree via working in the family hotel to becoming a qualified and experienced project manager in the energy sector. As mother of 2 young children she knows the pressures parents face.  An experienced campaigner on environmental and animal rights issues, she has championed health issues - including 3 years on the Scrutiny sub-committee for health.  Tracey is also 6th on the London Region European Election list this coming May.  

Shasha Khan lives in Croydon with his young family and is co-leader of the Croydon Green Party. He regularly appears in the local newspapers and has stood for parliamentary elections on three occasions. Shasha has been a leading campaigner against the incinerator, filing the judicial review proceedings challenging Lib Dem controlled Sutton Council’s decision to allow a municipal waste incinerator on the border of Croydon and Sutton.  
He is the Operations Director for his family's business. In 2000 he received an entry in the book ‘Asians in the Millennium' for his charity work. In 2007 he was selected by London Sustainability Exchange to be a Diverse London Ambassador. Shasha has actively supported many campaigns in Croydon. These include Save Our Schools, which he co-founded. He is a trustee of the Bensham Manor Community Centre. One final thing, you are reading  his blog. Please look around it! 

Gordon Ross was the general election candidate for Croydon South in 2010 and has been involved in a number of Green campaigns in the south of the borough.  Gordon is a biology graduate with a varied career working in microbiology, interior design and transport surveying.  Currently, Gordon has been campaigning for Croydon Council to pay all its employees the London Living Wage as a minimum. Gordon can speak a number of languages, including Russian, German, French and Afrikaans, something which comes in handy on the campaign trail!


Esther Sutton is an award winning publican in Croydon. Lots of news coverage here about her good work


Former nurse and lecturer Bernice Golberg is standing in Ashburton ward. She features on our blog: here

Chris Sciberras has lived in Croydon for the past 28 years, and is married with two grown up children. He works at the London School of Economics as a lecturer in English for Academic Purposes. In Croydon, Chris is actively involved in the campaign to stop the South London incinerator, especially in fund raising. He has also given presentations to local residents’ associations on the toxic health effects of incineration and alternatives to it. Chris is also interested in sustainable transport issues and has been campaigning for the extension of the 130 bus to Thornton Heath for many years. In his spare time Chris is a keen allotment gardener and also loves walking in the countryside. He is also a parishioner of the church of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Addiscombe. This summer he is walking another stage of the camino in Spain.  


Brendan Walsh, 41, Civil Engineer.
Vice Chairman of Croydon transition Town.
Treasurer of Croydon Green Party
Originally from Cork, Ireland, Brendan has lived in Bensham Manor for 14 years. 

After joining the Green Party in 2010 Brendan has become increasingly involved in local politics and activities especially through the work of Croydon Transition Town who are creating community run gardens throughout Croydon. With the Green Party he has been Treasurer since 2011 and has been an activist in the Stop the Incinerator campaign since joining the Green Party until the present day.

Brendan can be found most Sundays at the Thornton heath Recreation ground in Bensham Manor, the first garden created by Croydon Transition Town. Brendan is currently working on a partnership with Brigstock Medical Centre who are interested in using gardening as a healing and therapy aid for some of it's patients. It is hoped to establish a Community garden in the grounds of the BMC soon.

Brendan is also working with Woodside candidate Andrew Enebe in bringing community owned energy projects to Croydon under the title of Croydon Power. Other projects include the Give and Take stall in Surrey Street (think freecycle in person). Brendan has signed the space4cycling pledge to help make cycling safer in Bensham manor.


Pravina Ellis lived in Croydon since 1998.
Previously worked in healthcare.
Since 2011 has volunteered at Woodside School and Croydon Museum and last year worked as Homework Helper in Broad Green Library.
Now assists adult learners at CALAT.
Also helps with:
  • Croydon LETS that exchanges goods and services amongst members using a ‘barter’ system
  • CRNN which promotes the use of cotton nappies to reduce the cost & impact of waste disposal
  • Activities at 49th Croydon Scouts
Pravina is concerned about local issues:

  • The lack of accountability concerning the ‘Regeneration Fund’ to help 2011 riot victims
  • Reduced library provision in the borough since service management was out-sourced
  • Reduced provision for affordable leisure activities for the young and adults
  • More cycle lanes & lower charges public transport to help residents & improve air quality
  • Fly tipping
  • Crime in Broad Green and West Croydon


Jay Ginn has lived in Coulsdon for over 40 years; her two sons attended local schools. She worked as senior science technician in a Coulsdon school, acting as a TU rep for staff and as delegate to Croydon Trades Council. After gaining a degree and MSc she was employed at Surrey University, researching class, gender and ethnic inequalities in health and material circumstances, publishing several books and gaining her PhD. She is now a Visiting Professor at Kings College London and contributes to several NGOs that reflect her concern for equality and social justice by acting as trustee or consultant. She supports the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) and is working to develop Green Party policy on banking reform and a Citizens Income. As a keen gardener, growing her own organic veggies, she is currently helping to ‘green’ Coulsdon South station with flowers and shrubs.


Ruud Skipper is in the last months of a physics degree at Oxford University. A raising awareness of the impact of climate change has lead to Ruud being involved in the research and production of new sources of renewable energy, he has also participated in a number of climate change campaigns. Ruud believes in the right to equality and the right of all individuals to participate fully in society, he has volunteered supporting adults with physical and learning disabilities to access education for over six years. He supports at the Coulsdon adult education center during his breaks from university, and is looking forward to further increasing his community involvement when he returns full time to Croydon in June.


Saima Raza was raised in Croydon and following her undergraduate and postgraduate education in Law, pursued work with international and national charities. She has worked as a domestic violence advocate across London, as a researcher for international organisations and environmental programmes, taught English to migrant workers and produced climate change literature and publications for NGO’s in Africa. Saima currently works with a number of environmental education organisations in London and with the Green Team of a primary school in Croydon promoting sustainability.  Having worked and volunteered within the third sector for the past eight years, she has seen first-hand the affects of housing policies and welfare reform on the most vulnerable families in society and advocated on the behalf of families fleeing domestic abuse. 
She feels more needs to be done in terms of raising awareness of the environmental issues and their relevance to our daily lives. She is an advocate for local food and permaculture principles, less dependence on fossil fuels and a non-discriminatory system that allows all to enjoy equal opportunities - Saima believes the introduction of the revised university fees is in contravention of this. Saima believes in improving funding for the social care and community support sectors to give families the opportunity to flourish.
Saima will be undertaking conservation work in Asia later this year and is looking forward to reviving her PhD which will investigate communities displaced due to environmental disasters and the role of international law. In her spare time, Saima grows herbs and vegetables, practices the acoustic guitar, photographing nature and exploring Croydon’s many green spaces!


Yasmin Halai- Carter is an entrepreneur, a mother and a campaigner.   Yasmin set up her first business in 1999 in the business consumables sector where she worked for ten years. It was the waste and environmental damage she saw here, and often in products that were being described by their manufacturers as green, that made Yasmin an ardent campaigner for sustainable business.  In her own words ‘sustainable business is successful business, if you can look after people, planet and profit then business can be an incredible force for good. If you can’t then sooner or later it will all fall apart.’  In recently times business has taken a back seat for Yasmin to family concerns. Although she still helps her husband Bruce run Ethstat, the ethical stationery company, her primary focus has moved to educating her children and is a carer for her Mother who has Dementia and her Father who is disabled.   
Yasmin believes that the Green Party is a positive choice rather than a protest vote, a vote for a positive future rather than a look at the past.

Martin Cousins is a resident of New Addington and works in the transport sector. Martin is a supporter of Crystal Palace and AFC Croydon Athletic, a fan of punk music and enjoys real ale.  Martin believes the council needs to do far more to protect front line services from the cuts, which are hitting the residents of New Addington disproportionately. Martin wants the council to do more to encourage people to take up sports, and believes the first step should be for the council to abolish charges for sports clubs to use park pitches.  Martin is one of many 'Young Greens' standing in Croydon.

JIm Clugston has lived in New Addington for many years, is a staunch family man , likes art, history science and ancient rock music.
He was late coming to any political party but chose the Greens when he did so, coming to believe that Greens are the only party that is willing to address both local and national issues and can make a  difference to people. hence putting his name forward
Believes in sensible long term solutions to our problems, fracking and incineration are not the answers to energy and waste issues as these are not good solutions when other people friendly ones are available

Positive change is possible he believes through cooperation and consideration


Marie Norfield (Norbury ward)

Marie Norfield has lived in Norbury for 27 years. 
For much of that time she was a career civil servant in the departments 
of employment and education. Marie also worked for two years teaching 
English as a foreign language locally. 

Now retired, in 2013 Marie planned and organised the planting of a Bee and Butterfly border in Norbury Hall Park and is collaborating with other residents to formalise a Friends of Norbury Hall Park group. The Friends key aim for 2014 is for more sustainable planting throughout the park to help turn Norbury into a greener local area.

Marie was one of the inaugural members and secretary of the Scots Estate Residents Association (SERA). 
She has contributed to local clean-up campaigns against fly-tipping, 
and against the closure of Norbury Library, where she informally leads 
a monthly reading group. Marie successfully bid for funding for SERA 
and also helped establish a barn dance in its annual programme of 

Raj Mehta (Norbury)

Raj Mehta is a longtime Norbury resident (20 years) and a Croydonion born and bred. More information about Raj can be found on his web site.


Jo Wittams (Selhurst)

Jo Wittams has lived in Selhurst since 2002 and her two young sons attend local schools. Jo has worked for a range of NGOs including those tackling the arms trade, combatting gender inequality and highlighting the mental health needs of people with learning disabilities. She currently works for an organisation which aims to reduce extreme income and wealth inequality in the UK, as research shows it is damaging for everyone. As a Breastfeeding Counsellor, Jo regularly volunteers at a local children's centre and facilitates antenatal sessions for local parents to be. Jo ran a campaign to raise awareness about the cuts to school crossing patrols in 2013, and believes road safety remains a key issue for Selhurst. 


Peter Underwood (Selsdon and Ballards)

Peter Underwood moved to Selsdon over 12 years ago after working for the Benefits Agency in Croydon through most of the 1990s. Later in his civil service career Peter worked in the policy unit of the Department for Work and Pensions and also produced the UK renewable energy strategy at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

On leaving the civil service in 2011, Peter spent three years volunteering with local charities including the Friends of Littleheath Woods, the Conservation Volunteers and National Trust. Peter is also an active member of the Croydon Friends of the Earth group and a member of Amnesty International and Trees for Life.


Liz and Andy Bebington are both standing in their home ward of Shirley, where they have lived for over 39 years. They are retired, help care for their four grandchildren, and are active in their local churches.. 
Liz Bebington (Shirley)
Croydon-born Liz began her working life as a Probation Officer and then worked for two Croydon charities - supporting single parents with  Croydon Welcare in the 1980's, and then after a break caring for her father, supporting and developing local Good Neighbour Groups with Croydon Neighbourhood Care Association from 1993 until 2005. She  ran a local Brownie Pack for 30 years and is still involved in various support roles for Girlguiding locally. She is passionate about the value to the community of the voluntary sector and the support such groups need and has a particular interest in adult social care.. 

Andy Bebington (Shirley)

Andy is chairman of Croydon Citizens Advice Bureau and is (or has been) Treasurer for a number of charities in the town, after a life working in financial services. He is a keen cyclist and enjoys travel.

Elaine Garrod has lived most of her life in Croydon and studied at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and the University of Kent where she studied languages and translation. She works as a graphic designer now and as well as the Green Party also belongs to Friends of the Earth, Amnesty International, Action Aid and Greenpeace. Her principle concerns are global human rights and environmental improvement, which she sees as being inextricably interlinked. She does voluntary work teaching English conversation classes to foreign (mainly Bangladeshi) women. She is standing for the Green Party because she wants to help make Croydon a cleaner, safer, fairer place for all its citizens to live in. Her other interests are history, arts and crafts, role-play gaming and keeping fit.


Julie Wade (Thornton Heath)

Julie Wade (now retired) worked as teacher for 25 years. She volunteers in much of her spare time. Her son Joe Wade is the BAFTA award winning writer of the Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Stefan Szczelkun (Thornton Heath ward)

Stefan Szczelkun, whose father was a Polish pilot in the RAF, has lived in Thornton Heath for six years. He is currently in the process of retiring from his job as lecturer at University of Westminster and is planning to spend more time doing experimental visual art and photography projects. Stefan is a parent and has a particular interest in inclusive education and play facilities, and the safety of young people in the area. Since moving to Thornton Heath he has taken an interest in the rich musical heritage of the area and would like to see this become more celebrated. His wife co-founded Friends of Grangewood Park.


Les Kenny-Green (Upper Norwood)

Les Kenny-Green is ex British army (as a teenager). He saw active service in Bosnia.
He went from army to circus and has worked on stage and screen as an actor.  
Most notable work- 
West end : A Few Good Men, Haymarket
Film: The Bank Job and Marc Price's Magpie which is currently in the US cinemas.
Also, lots of adverts and motion capture work.
He has lived all over London including five years moving around the Thames and canals on a narrow boat
He has an allotment in Spa Hill which he does volunteer days at.
He has also worked as a volunteer Special Constable for the Met. He believes our drug laws need reforming as a matter of urgency, as they force victims to become criminals as well as making other criminals rich.


Martyn Post (Waddon)

Martyn Post has lived in Croydon his whole life, except for three years away at university.   Martyn is currently working as a librarian at a further education college, he has experienced first hand how the cuts have hit younger people the hardest and believes the council needs to be doing more to help create jobs in the borough.  Martyn is a former member of the Liberal Democrats, and is shocked by the decision of Sutton Council to build the incinerator on the border of Sutton and Croydon.  Martyn is one of a number of Young Greens that are standing in Croydon.  

Grace Onions (Waddon)

Grace Onions lives in Waddon with her family, having moved there in 1996. She gained an honours degree in Environmental Conservation while working full time in 2000.
Being active and helping within the local community has always been important to Grace, starting with taking a joint lead role in Croydon Real Nappy Network, stemming from a voluntary position at the Women’s Environmental Network. She continues to campaign strongly against the building of a waste incinerator on the Waddon ward boundary, assists the parent-teacher associations at two schools, is an active member of the Croydon Friends of the Earth and joins many Greenpeace campaigns. She also works as a personal assistant for two autistic boys to give their parents a break, learning that carers play a vital role in society. As a member of Soroptimist International she supports local, national and international initiatives to transform the lives of women and girls across the globe. Growing organic fruit and vegetables and learning to play the piano take up any remaining spare time!

Mary Davey (Waddon)

Mary Davey is Chairperson of the Society of Catholic Artists and a retired Croydon schoolteacher.


Barry Buttigieg is a postman and has been working for Royal Mail for 36 years. He has lived in West Thornton for 25 years. He was a former Labour candidate in Croydon but joined the Green Party because of Labour's shift to the right of the political spectrum.

Rebecca Parnell, has the unusual career of making sound effects for video games and film, having won a BAFTA for best sound and is on BAFTA Games Awards jury.
Rebecca has for a long time been deeply concerned with environmental issues but became actively involved after moving to Croydon 5 years ago, with joining Croydon Friends of the Earth and now treasurer. Croydon FOE's local campaign successes were for food waste collection in the area, and Rebecca is currently involved with setting up a FOE Bee World at Heathfield's Ecology Centre to raise awareness on the decline of bees and what can be done to save them.


Clare Trivedi (Woodside)

Clare Trivedi has lived in Croydon since 2002, for the last 5 years in South Croydon. 
As a mother of two young children, she is familiar with the concerns facing families and is personally particularly concerned about the lack of quality school places, crime and the appropriate development of the town centre.

Clare has a degree and MSc in Environmental Biology and for the last 13 years has managed biodiversity conservation projects both internationally and in the UK. Previous to this she worked on climate change and energy policy issues. She is currently leading a consortium of organisations in a project to safeguard UK trees and woodlands.

Andrew Enebe (Woodside)

Andrew Enebe is a member of Croydon Transition Town and a founder  of Croydon Power

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