The respected regeneration expert who has helped spearhead efforts to transform West Cumbria for more than 30 years has offered his support to local health campaigner Rachel Holliday to become Copeland’s next MP.
Professor John Fyfe CBE, who was a leading figure in the regeneration of the region by setting up the West Cumbria Development Agency partnership between the county council, British Nuclear Fuels and Allerdale and Copeland district councils, said Rachel had all the skills to become a “strong voice for Copeland in Westminster.”
Professor Fyfe, who was also a special advisor to former Labour Cabinet Minister Barbara Castle, and received his CBE for his regeneration work in West Cumbria, added:
“Rachel’s work in launching the Calderwood House hostel for the homeless and her passion to protect local services shows she’s just the person Copeland needs to lead them into the future and not back to the past.
“Rachel’s clearly shown she’s a proud Cumbrian woman who gets things done and will stand up for her people.
“I think Rachel will make an excellent Labour candidate and MP for Copeland. She has the right background and values to serve the community she loves and become a strong voice for Copeland in Westminster.”
Professor Fyfe’s regeneration was spurred on by the closure of Haig Pit, which was shut in 1986 after 70 years with the loss of 3,500 jobs. Professor Fyfe’s regeneration helped to deliver the Westlakes Science Park, Lakes College, the University of Cumbria and West Cumberland Hospital.
Rachel Holliday, who studied at Lakes College and whose father and grandfather worked as miners at Haig Pit, said: “I’m absolutely honoured to have Professor Fyfe’s support. To receive the praise and support of a man who has done so much for West Cumbria is very humbling. I’m particularly proud because his work helped create the new college I studied at and also supported our mining community after the closure of Haig Pit.
“The fact that Sellafield Ltd’s offices in Whitehaven John Fyfe House are named after him shows the high regard in which our community values his continuing contribution to our region.
“If selected as Labour’s candidate and elected as Copeland’s MP, I will liaise closely with Professor Fyfe to ensure how we can best continue that regeneration, boost local businesses and create more jobs.
“Professor Fyfe is one of many people who have kindly offered their support to my campaign to be Copeland’s Voice. Whatever happens, I can’t thank them enough for showing their faith in me.
“Since I announced my bid to stand as Labour’s candidate I’ve been overwhelmed by the very positive response. I hope I can reward their faith in my becoming Labour’s candidate.”
Rachel, who was named Cumbrian Woman of the Year and Social Entrepreneur of the Year, is well known locally as the founder and Company Director of Time to Change (West Cumbria) Project – a social enterprise that tackles homelessness and poverty in West Cumbria.
Calderwood House, the homeless hostel in Egremont, opened in October 2015, creating ten new jobs for local people. Rachel leads this award-winning project which has changed the lives of many ex-servicemen. Rachel’s work was even supported and praised by the Cumbrian Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner.
Rachel, 37, whose father and grandfather were miners, has been active in the ‘We Need West Cumberland Hospital’ campaign for the past three years and has pledged to stop services being transferred to Carlisle. She has also said she’d support Sellafield workers in their fight to keep their pensions rights.