A PROMINENT Darlington trader has pledged to bring humanity back to politics, after announcing her plans to stand for election as a councillor.

Beryl Hankin, owner of Guru Boutique, in Blackwellgate, hopes to be elected to serve as an independent councillor in the Park East ward of the town

The 71-year-old has lived and worked in Darlington all her life and has managed the Guru Boutique, in Blackwellgate, for more than 40 years.

A tireless campaigner for the town and its traders, she was inspired to stand for election after becoming frustrated with what many people see as a lack of communication and understanding between Darlington Borough Council and residents.

Saying she will not stand against anyone but will instead stand for everyone, Ms Hankin has promised to keep people at the heart of politics.

She said: “I’m totally committed to Darlington, I know my town and want to bring people from all persuasions together to help its future, while avoiding unnecessary conflicts and mistakes.

“Darlington has been hurting a lot in the past few years and it needs putting back together again, not just for the good of businesses but for its people.”

Ms Hankin has pledged to focus on social issues at the heart of the town, to fight for a better deal for the North-East, to address commercial issues in a “struggling town centre” and to develop more community projects.

If elected as a councillor, she promises to bring “better communication and a bit of humanity” to the role.

She said: “So much trouble could be avoided if people knew all the facts and the reasons behind decisions made by the council.

“I don’t promise grand gestures but I promise to do my best to keep people informed and to try and make a difference for them – I’ll help to join the dots and build bridges.

“If I did manage to get elected, I’d have more chance of making a difference as I’d be fearless, open and unbiased in that role and not have to toe a party line.

“I’ve spent all my life trying to make the town a better place and make lives better – I try to do that every day but I might be able to do it better on the council.”

If elected, Ms Hankin says she will be accessible and approachable and has invited anyone with issues or questions to drop into her shop to discuss further.