ANOTHER of the candidates for this year's May elections has launched his campaign.

Paul Bennett, who represents Pickersleigh on Malvern Hills District Council, is standing as the Lib Dem candidate for Langland Great Malvern (Langland Division).

He said: "We have all had one heck of a year and I would like to pay thank and pay tribute to all those people who kept us going.

"The NHS staff of course but also the carers, supermarket/shop workers, refuse collection staff, teachers, volunteers and emergency services. You all deserve knighthoods in my book.

"I will be standing for the first time as a County Councillor to make local life better for you.

"I owe you so much myself. During this time I lost half a lung to illness but fortunately, you made sure I got through all of this like so many of us.

"I just want to tell you what I will be doing for you if you choose me as your County Councillor.

"I will be working with an all-party group of councillors and MPs to join the Malvern Hills, Wye Valley and Forest of Dean protected Areas of Outstanding Beauty together and form "The Shires" National Park.

"This would not abolish or affect the Malvern Hills Trust in any way and it is important to stress that all of us voters will have a vote on the idea after a lot of feasibility work.

"Over the next four years, I will also be promoting a joint NHS/University of Worcester Teaching Hospital for a site on this side of the River Severn in St Johns.

"This will take pressure off Worcester Royal but also massively enhance the University of Worcester's medical careers offer for local young people and produce thousands of jobs for here and across the country.

"I will be campaigning to keep Malvern Hills College open with support from all of our local councils, add to our schools funding and raise the quality of education here for all.

"There are huge problems in social housing to tackle which I feel very passionate about and we need a better system of social care.

"Our roads, cycle routes and pavements are a County Council responsibility and I can bring my customary detail and determination to them.

"I work hard and stand up for what is right. I think most of the people who I have met would not fault me on that and I will bring new energy and ideas to the County Council, which can only help."