‘The job is full on, but it’s brilliant, I love it’

A PHONE interview with Deputy Sue Aldwell during lockdown is like a soothing bath for the brain.

Before becoming a States of Guernsey deputy Sue Aldwell was well-known for her community spirit and grass-roots politics, serving as parish constable on the Torteval douzaine. 		 (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29253124)
Before becoming a States of Guernsey deputy Sue Aldwell was well-known for her community spirit and grass-roots politics, serving as parish constable on the Torteval douzaine. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29253124)

During week three of lockdown she was managing to stay positive and upbeat with warm laughter and a calm can-do attitude towards her new job. ‘I like people, I like to work in a team, and hopefully I have a sense of humour, which I think helps a lot.

‘The job is full on, but it’s brilliant, I love it. If someone phones me up because they need help I can actually probably do something about that, or I know who I can speak to about that, and I get on and deal with it. And what could be better than being able to make someone’s life better, that’s what we’re here for. We’re here to make things better.

‘The House is very good-natured, I like them, there is a team spirit, they’re a cracking bunch.’

Deputy Aldwell was the second-placed newcomer in last year’s general election and polled nearly 10,000 votes.

Her success was intriguing, after all she was not a high-flying legal eagle, or known for sporting prowess. Instead, the 1950s policeman’s daughter had taken the traditional route – she was well-known for her community spirit and grass-roots politics, serving as parish constable on the Torteval douzaine.

During the election campaign she wore out the shoe leather.

‘I walked the 10 parishes, I went to every parish, I started off in the Vale and people were so pleased to see somebody from Torteval.

‘I really made the effort and I really went out there. I’m very much a people person and I’ve always got involved with parish events, like the big parish parties. I used to help organise the Liberation parties and I always got involved in the Scarecrow Festival.

‘I like people, I like to talk, I can talk the hind legs off a donkey.

‘We get lots of emails and invariably if I can answer it I will pick up the phone to that person and they will be quite surprised.’

On the committee for Education, Sport & Culture, Deputy Aldwell is at the heart of finding a solution to a problem that has dogged the States for years.

So is it a lot of pressure and does she lose sleep over it?

‘Not at all, my husband will tell you I go to bed at 10pm and I wake up at 7am.

‘We have a great team, we have brilliant officers in Education, we all work really well together, and when we get there we will get there, the majority of the work is done. I can honestly say we don’t lose sleep over it because we know where we’re heading, we know where we’re going, we’ve got the officers behind us. We have huge respect for the teachers and we’ll get there when we get there – and it won’t be long.’

Deputy Aldwell’s adult son has special needs and there is a strong sense that he is intrinsic to her positive outlook and make-it-happen spirit.

The two of them were just back from a walk. ‘It was wonderful, the sun was out, it was 12 degrees, all I could think about was how lucky we were’.

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