A CAMPAIGNER who tried to save a Basingstoke care home from closure is gearing up for another battle – this time to become a borough councillor.
Debbie Long, of Appletree Close, Oakley, will run for UKIP as a potential borough councillor for the Buckskin ward in Basingstoke in May.
Mrs Long, whose 75-year-old father is a resident at Deeside, in Alliston Way, South Ham, was chairman of the Save Deeside campaign group.
Despite their efforts failing when Hampshire County Council decided to close the home, the mother-of-three, who is a full-time IT account manager, said the fact she was involved in the hard-fought campaign helped her to decide to run for the Buckskin seat on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
She told The Gazette: “I was told I had a massive influence to get Roy Perry (Hampshire County Council leader) involved, and it was a huge achievement to make Hampshire County Council stand up and realise how passionate people were about elderly people and, in particular, dementia sufferers.
“The thing that came out of it was the public support and it was from all ages, young and old. We believed in what we were doing, and we had Hampshire County Council on the ropes.”
She added: “I had no political input but obviously as time went on, I realised if you don’t stand up and be counted, they are just going to do what they want to do.
“I want to be the people’s voice, I want the community to come together and I want to bring back the old-fashioned values and support for looking after the elderly.
“But it is not just about the elderly. I am also passionate about young people.
“I am an ordinary person and have decided to make a stand to try and make a difference.
“I have had lots of campaign advice from Basingstoke UKIP leader Alan Stone and Hampshire County Councillor for Andover South Tony Hooke. They want me on board because I was so passionate about Deeside.”
Mr Stone, the UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for the Basingstoke seat, said: “Debbie is a brilliant campaigner and she is not afraid to get involved.
“She is very passionate about local people and about people in general, and is a real asset to UKIP.”