DEFENCE industry worker Uwem Udo’s philosophy is that if something needs doing, you should not just complain and expect others to do it.

Uwem is Labour’s candidate in West Devon Borough Council’s Tavistock North Ward and one of his motivations for standing is that he would rather take action: “Most of us naturally expect the authorities to do their duty to put something right. But if there’s a chance to actually have influence on a public body and improve things that we all complain about then I’ll leap at it. So, rather than just complain, I’m the sort of person who is ready to stand up and keep public bodies on their toes and make sure they’re keeping to the high standards the public expects.”

The father of three children aged under 15 is kept busy with their active lives and also runs his own business alongside working for a large company. However, he still has time to adhere to his philosophy of self-help and public service - he was directly involved in Tavistock College helping deal with bullying generally (his older son was bullied) and is on Devon and Cornwall Police scrutiny panel (cross-section of the community membership) ensuring the protection of vulnerable people and adequately preparing young recruits for dealing with complex community issues.

He said: “In my professional work, standards and quality are the basis of everything. I expect that in every area of public life especially. When I was involved with the college over bullying it achieved results, along with the mayor at the time and DMAT. Now the college is more diverse and bullying has reduced. All pupils have benefited from that intervention.”

With his touchline experience supporting his sons’ football, he would like to see council pitches converted to all-weather ones, especially as seasons become wetter with climate change. His experience of project management as a engineer would also be useful to ensure progress of the planned Tavistock to Bere Alston rail link.

The by-election for the Tavistock north ward takes place on Thursday, May 2. There are four candidates: Michael Fife Cook (Independent); Judy Hughes (Conservative); Udo Uwem (Labour); Sara Wood (Green); Holly Greenberry-Pullen (Lib Dem).