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Week three - Chris Foote Wood Liberal Democrat Bishop Auckland

Election diaries

On Tuesday last week I went to see supporter Jane HackworthYoung who lives in the village of Mickleton in Teesdale. Jane is the great-great granddaughter of Timothy Hackworth, a pioneer railway engineer and great rival of George Stephenson. She is an ex-Labour councillor and well known in Shildon, which is in my constituency.

I drop into the Teesdale District Council offices in Barnard Castle. Things are frantic - the 5pm deadline for registering for a postal vote is rapidly approaching.

Next day I am taken on a tour of Evenwood Engineering by plant manager Neil Atkinson.

I'm impressed. Neil is one of a new breed of manager, neither the 'dirty fingernail' type, nor the university graduate without practical training. He did an apprenticeship and went to college. He's had to recruit engineers from Poland - ammunition I can use against the 'send 'em all home' brigade.

On Thursday, I decide to do a last minute leaflet. I need to tell the public about Jane and others coming over to us from the Labour ranks (this being a Labour-held seat). I tell my printer I want it by Friday. 'But Friday's tomorrow, ' he protests.

So it is. How time flies when you're enjoying yourself.

It's no bank holiday Monday for me and our delivery teams. That leaflet must go out. Fortunately, the weather is kind. Monday finds me in the village of Staindrop, talking to the locals who are very considerately out in their gardens. I wouldn't knock on doors on a bank holiday. But what a reception, miles better than when I stood here four years ago. Mustn't get too optimistic - it's a huge Labour majority. But it could happen.

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