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Find the right life balance, urges West Hampstead councillor mourning baby niece

James Yarde to raise money for charity researching baby deaths

08 May, 2018 — By Richard Osley

A LABOUR councillor’s final advice to his successor is to find the right balance between being a local politician and life beyond the walls of the Town Hall.

James Yarde, who is standing down in West Hampstead, said his family had suffered a personal tragedy during his term as councillor, the death of his niece soon after she was born. He is now to spend more time fundraising in her memory.

Answering the New Journal’s call for advice for members who will be inducted on Saturday when the results are known, Cllr Yarde spoke candidly about baby Amelia.

“A significant challenge for all councillors is to find the right balance between council, work, friends and family,” he said. “While I did not cite it in my original statement when I decided to stand down, the loss of my niece, Amelia, in February last year, was certainly a factor. Now I have stepped down, I will be spending even more time with my family in what has been a difficult period for us.”

He added: “I am doing some fundraising in memory of Amelia and this will be a key focus for me over the next few months. Other councillors have been very supportive. There is a great deal of understanding there, and something that new councillors should not be afraid of leaning on.”

Cllr Yarde will take part in the Ride London cycle challenge to Surrey and back on July 29 to raise money for Tommy’s, a charity which researches miscarriage, stillbirth and premature births with the aim of halving the number of deaths in pregnancy. He said of his niece: “We can treasure the time that we had with her and be assured that all she ever knew was love.”


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