Lesley Mansell is the Labour Party candidate for the West of England Metro Mayor election, taking place on May 4 2017.
“I’ve lived and worked in the West of England for twenty years, making Radstock my home.
I moved to the area in 1997, having grown up on a council estate in Leicester, where I was told by my school teacher I should expect to be “factory fodder”.
I refused to accept this, working hard at school – despite being told off for reading New Musical Express in assembly – and setting my sights on being a train driver. I was to be disappointed in this ambition, starting work instead as a nursery nurse.
I became a single mother, engaged in casual work, doing several jobs at once to make ends meet. Then I started a career in engineering, working up to be a production planner in a large factory manufacturing clocks and fire alarms. I was lucky as at that time I managed to get a place in nursery for my daughter.
It was while working here I joined the trade union that is now Unite and became the factory union convenor. Inspired by the suffragettes and civil rights campaigner Angela Davis, I became active in the union, particularly in the fight for equality. I campaigned for rights at work for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans people which we now have, alongside rights for women, black and disabled people. I was awarded the TUC Women’s Gold Badge for this work in 2005.
Like many others I was made redundant and went to university as a mature student. This led to a career change for me, when I began to work in equality, drawing on my trade union experience and that gained from working as a volunteer setting up a Women’s Centre among other things.
I worked at Bristol City Council as the Women’s Officer in the equalities department but have ten years experience working in local authorities.
I am now employed in the NHS, as the Equality and Diversity manager for North Bristol NHS Trust, working hard to ensure patients and staff are treated fairly, equally and with respect. Due to my efforts the Trust has become a leader in good practice in equality.
I have five grandchildren and in my spare time I enjoy listening to reggae, blues, classical music, West Coast psychedelic rock and collect autographs.”
Lesley would like to thank the following trade unions for their support:
Published and promoted by Rebecca Ward on behalf of Lesley Mansell, both of Tony Benn House, Bristol, BS1 6AY