‘Massive’ improvements help change cllr’s mind about standing again

A COUNCILLOR has decided he will stand for re-election after an improvement in health – and finding a fellow independent candidate to fight alongside.
Cllr Michael Bennett-Sylvester with fellow independent candidate Jodi Ryalls.Cllr Michael Bennett-Sylvester with fellow independent candidate Jodi Ryalls.
Cllr Michael Bennett-Sylvester with fellow independent candidate Jodi Ryalls.

Cllr Michael Bennett-Sylvester announced in January that personal circumstances meant he would not be on the RMBC ballot sheets come May.

But several changes have convinced him to fight for another term in the Dalton & Thrybergh ward – this time with East Herringthorpe resident Jodi Ryalls in tow.

She has fundraising and campaigning experience, including being a staunch backer of the Sam’s Army cause set up after Sam Haycock drowned at Ulley in 2021.

Jodi said: “I hope to be a voice for my community as areas like mine don’t tend to see councillors living there.

“As a parent of children with SEND statements I also know how difficult it can be getting help for your child and hope to speak on behalf of families struggling with the system.”

All 59 seats on Rotherham Council will be up for grabs in the local elections taking place on May 2.

“There are three factors that have made me change my mind on standing,” said Cllr Bennett-Sylvester, who described the improvements since January as “massive”.

“I’ve still got a big operation to come sometime in the future but, through a strict diet and treatment, my health has seen a significant upturn in the past couple of months.

“I’m receiving extra support from the council’s democratic services, especially with my surgery casework.

“I have among the highest number of cases on the system for any councillor due to my community activity and rather than logging on late at night after my main work, I’m now ringing cases through where a far faster typist than me enters them onto the system.”

The third reason, he added, was Jodi’s decision to stand as a fellow independent in the traditionally Labour dominated ward.

Cllr Bennett-Sylvester said: “Jodi is brilliant. I’ve admired her community work and she’ll offer straightforward opinions in the council that come from living on East Herringthorpe.

“Between us we’ll be an effective partnership and, should I be lucky enough to get in, the workload I’ve had to carry will be substantially reduced.”