Community stalwart Nev Jones has thrown his hat into the ring for the forthcoming local county council elections.
The popular businessman and philanthropist has lodged a bid to become a Durham County councillor for the Aycliffe East ward of the town – standing on a Lib Dem ticket.
It’s understood he will go up against Labour’s Jim Atkinson, already a sitting county councillor, and former Aycliffe mayor Wendy Hilary, who bids to retain Labour’s other Aycliffe East seat currently held by Sarah Iveson, who’s expected to retire.
Although the Lib Dem party hasn’t traditionally done well in Aycliffe in the past, Nev is expected to give Labour a run for their money due to his work in the community.
The much liked and respected owner of well-known family firm J&C Coaches launched the Aycliffe Community Spirit group three years ago and has raised thousands of pounds for local food banks and other good causes.
He’s also a long-term member of the Aycliffe Rotary Club and has organised community fundraising events for the group over the years.
Nev – whose wife Jo is a nurse at Bewick Crescent Surgery – says his main priority is to reinvigorate Aycliffe’s town centre.
“The town centre, the beating heart of any town, has been deteriorating for many years and the time has come for a big change,” he said.
“I believe that together we can make a big difference. Let’s put some spirit back in to our area, tidy it up and regenerate run down areas.”
Nev has also made Aycliffe’s much-maligned council tax rates a priority, adding: “As your local councillor I will always be there to help when you have problems.
“I will be proactive, getting things done. I will help you when you need help. I will fight the injustice of our unfair council tax and work hard to rebuild a better Newton Aycliffe.”
Nev has worked all of his adult life for the family firm launched by his dad John in 1975.
“I have lived here all my life,” he said.
“I love our town, the people and our green open spaces. I have brought my family up here. It is home.
“I went to school here, first to Sugar Hill Primary and then the Avenue Comprehensive School.
“When I was 17 I joined the family business J&C Coaches, and by the age of 18 I was driving buses and coaches. I have now been running the business with my sister Debbie for many years.
“Over the last year I have seen just how difficult it has been for so many people in our town.
“My wife Jo works as a nurse at Bewick Crescent Surgery, witnessing first hand the impact of Covid. Indeed both of us suffered from Covid in December but have thankfully recovered.
“Sadly, I believe it will take a long time for our town to recover.”
The county council and Aycliffe Town Council elections are due to be held on Thursday, May 6.