Lancaster’s newest Green councillor on why she’s ready for the challenge

The first Green city councillor to represent a rural ward in north Lancashire is used to taking on challenges.

By Louise Bryning
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 10:54 am

Coun Sally Maddocks now represents Ellel ward alongside Conservative Richard Austen-Baker.

“Rural areas are traditionally Tory strongholds but now people, especially young people, living in the countryside want a better planet for their children,” said Sally, 61.

While acknowledging that trying to tackle climate change as individuals can be overwhelming, another motivation for Sally joining the Green Party three years ago was their emphasis on community.

Coun Sally Maddocks, new Green Party councillor for Ellel ward.

“I’m a big believer in the power of community,” said Sally, who, after a career spent mainly in local government, is now getting used to seeing it from an elected member’s perspective.

She was a community development project manager for Lancaster City Council for 14 years before joining Lancashire County Council in a similar role.

She has also worked in community engagement for Wyre Borough Council and helping communities was very much at the forefront of her work for Age Concern too.

However, it was commitment to her work at N-Compass, which helps people regain control of their lives, that led the stepmother-of-four to ignore symptoms which eventually led to a breast cancer diagnosis seven years ago.

“I had noticed some dimpling on my breast but didn’t want my career to stop,” said Sally. “I eventually saw a GP and was referred to the breast clinic. I went on my own and two hours later, my world came crashing down.”

So many lumps had formed that Sally had to have a mastectomy followed by gruelling chemotherapy, during which she wore a cold cap to prevent hair loss.

“I didn’t want people to see I’d lost my hair and feel sorry for me,” she said.

Although the treatment means she is now cancer free, the side effects of chemotherapy resulted in major dental work, cataract surgery and an ovarectomy which brought on the menopause at 52.

“It made me lose my confidence and I resigned from my job,” said Sally.

However, as she began to recover, Sally’s confidence returned, and she decided to stand for election in the area where she has lived since 1976 when she became a student at Lancaster University.

A by-election was called when former Conservative Ellel councillor David Whitworth lost his seat for failing to attend any council meetings for six months.

A former Glasson-with-Thurnham parish councillor, Sally is also involved with the Friends of Railway Place, where she lives with husband David, and Glasson Residents’ Group.

Her ward, which covers a wide area including Abbeystead, where the Duke of Westminster has a home, faces many issues, not least proposals for the Bailrigg Garden Village and a recent planning application for 115 houses near Meadow Park in Galgate.

She’s also concerned about speeding on the A588 Lancaster to Poulton-le-Fylde road and the effect on local businesses of a new parking system introduced on the Aquavista car park at Glasson.

Said Sally: “I can see there’s lots of things which need doing here and I just want to use my skills to help.”