Returning Wrenthorpe and Outwood councillor outlines Platinum Jubilee celebration hopes and little library plans for Alverthorpe
Nine years is a long time to have a break from anything.
But it seems that for Annemarie Glover, a near decade out of council politics hasn't treated her too badly.
Elected as a new councillor for Wrenthorpe and Outwood West at the local polls last month, it's her second stint in the job after her previous term between 2008 and 2012.
"I sometimes think you miss the camaraderie of the group," a cheerful Councillor Glover says, one month on from her victory and clearly happy to be back in the local Conservative fold.
"And I really like helping people."
"Life was relatively busy a few years ago, being a governor at four schools and spending time in each school. So I never really had the time (to stand again for election).
"Now I just do one school. My daughter's 19 now and I've got the time to be able to commit to it. I was asked to stand, so I thought I'd give it a go.
"I'm not one of these people who can really sit still!"
Following up reports of potholes from local drivers and offering help to residents during a long-running power cut in Wrenthorpe have dominated her first weeks back as an elected member.
But looking ahead, among Councillor Glover's main priorities are setting up a "big weekend" packed with events for the Queen's Platinum Jubillee next year.
Street parties in every corner of the ward, tea dancing in Outwood and a massive celebration in Wrenthorpe Park could all be part of an exciting programme she's working on for the four-day bank holiday next June.
"I feel it's an ideal opportunity to give people something to look forward to," Coun Glover enthuses.
"I've got such plans for it and I'm dreaming big. It's one thing I'd really love to deliver.
"It's something I want to get the whole community involved in and something to bring people together.
"Our Queen's done a cracking job. It's something to get people excited over and I think we all need that focus at the moment.
"Obviously with Covid, we’re hoping at that time we can do it, because you never know what will happen, but that’s what I’d love to do."
Born in Castleford where much of her family still lives, Coun Glover has spent 30 years working at a local bingo hall, where she "does a bit of everything", from calling the numbers, to cooking chips, to looking after the accounts.
Her enjoyment of other people's company is the job's highlight.
"There’s people who come in quite regularly and they’re like family, because you see them that often," Coun Glover says.
"They nip in for a cuppa and to see others. It’s very much a community thing and that’s what I enjoy."
She does admit however, that she's "not a lover of calling" the numbers, the novelty of talking little ducks and garden gates having apparently worn off.
"But when I do do the calling I try to make it as fun as possible," Coun Glover adds. "People have come out for entertainment haven’t they?
"I'm not precious about what jobs I do it and I just really enjoy working there.
"You can't stay in anything for 30 years and not enjoy it, can you?"
Coun Glover's first term as councillor came about after she joined a local community association, which helped secure a children's play area for Grasmere Playing Fields in Alverthorpe.
The site is at the southernmost point of the Wrenthorpe and Outwood West ward.
This time, a passion for books is driving her hopes to get a so-called "little library" for Alverthorpe.
The "little libraries" are community ventures run by volunteers and they've popped up across the district in recent times.
"The libraries are amazing," Coun Glover says.
"I love reading and I think it’s a dying art. People are just too busy or they don't get round to it because they’ve sat and read emails all day.
"Libraries are how you get the kids hooked on reading from an early age."
"I did my work experience at school in Castleford Library and it was amazing.
"With the arrival of the internet, libraries just don’t seem to be as well used. Everything is on the internet now, whereas when I was a kid, you had to go and find stuff out.
"It's an important skill."
Reflecting back on her victory last month, Councillor Glover was able to empathise with the Labour opponent she unseated, Martyn Johnson, having lost to him herself nine years ago.
The rivalry by the sounds of it though, is good-natured.
"I’ve run against Martyn quite a few times," she explains. "Sometimes I’ve won, sometimes I’ve lost.
"Politics is one of those things," she says.
"I spoke to Martyn at the count and I said, "One day you’re the best thing since sliced bread, the next time you’re not. That’s how politics goes.
"Voters in the ward tend to go with national picture. It’s never personal, it’s just politics."
Local Democracy Reporting Service