THE votes are in and Ryedale District Council has a new councillor.
Cllr Di Keal, a member of the Liberal Democrats, claimed victory in the Norton West Ward by-election on Thursday, defeating her nearest rival by 200 votes.
It is a triumphant return to the council chamber at Ryedale House, Malton, for the current Mayor of Norton who had lost her seat in the 2010 local elections after an eight-year stint on the council.
She defeated Paul Farndale, who was representing the Conservative Party, and Karl Reveley, a member of the Thirsk and Malton Labour Party.
The by-election had been called following the death of Cllr Judith Denniss earlier this year.
Cllr Keal, who has been a member of Norton Town Council for the past 11 years, said: “I am delighted to have been elected again as district councillor for Norton on Derwent West and would like to thank all the people who took the trouble to complete their postal votes and who turned out on a chilly November day to vote for me.
“It was brilliant that people took the time to vote despite the apathy around the Police Commissioner election, and I really appreciate every single person who made the effort to support me and help achieve such a great result.
“I stood for election on my personal record on local issues and it’s great to know that local people appreciate the work I’m doing. I can now look forward to continuing to do my very best to ‘stand up for Norton’ and support the interests of our town at district level again.”
Cllr Keal said she had campaigned on her “solid track record” of supporting local issues, such as Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club and the Skate Park in Norton.
Leader of the Ryedale Liberal Democrats, Cllr Elizabeth Shields, added: “I am absolutely delighted that Cllr Keal has won the by-election and regained her seat on the district council. Her emphatic victory over the opposition indicates the importance that residents place on local matters, particularly in a market town like Norton on Derwent, whose businesses have suffered so much in the past months.
“Di Keal’s hard work on behalf of many people in the town has clearly contributed to her success and we look forward to her participation in the council debates on behalf of Norton and the wider community of the Ryedale district.”
l Cllr Keal received 381 votes, followed by Paul Farndale with 181 votes and Karl Reveley with 75 votes.
The turnout was 23.3 per cent.