Conservatives Announce “Best Ever Team of Candidates” for Reading


Reading Conservatives today announced their candidates for the local elections to Reading Borough Council this May. The team includes candidates in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, as well as male and female candidates from a wide range of backgrounds.


Abbey – Richard Nante - Richard is already very involved with his local community. He is a campaigner who has worked with the local police to highlight the concerns of Abbey ward residents and is working with the Neighbourhood Action Group to improve life for all locally. He chairs the South and East Reading PubWatch. Well known locally as pub landlord at the Fisherman's Cottage in the ward, Richard’s 27 years experience of bar management follows 12 years service in the Armed Forces.  

Battle – Imran Ishtiaq - Imran grew up in Battle Ward, having attended the local Primary School on Oxford Road and Secondary School in Tilehurst. He is 28 years of age, married with one son. He is currently a full time Hackney Carriage Driver as well as the Liaison Officer for Thames Valley Police which involves in assisting the general public addressing their concerns in regards to the Council and the Police. He is a member of the Reading Taxi Association as well as a number of other charitable organisations.


Caversham – Tom Stanway - Tom has been a Caversham ward Councillor since 2007.  He has served as an active local Councillor being involved in the Lower Caversham Neighbourhood Action Group, regular attendee of Caversham Globe and worked with the local MP on many issues including trying to solve the problem of St Martin's Precinct.  Tom served as the Chair of Culture and Sport Scrutiny Committee for two years and for the last year has been the Lead Councillor for Culture and Sport. Tom has lived in Caversham since moving to Reading, and currently works for a Dutch Bank based at Thames Valley Park.

Church – Geoff Poland - Geoff is married with one son and runs an Independent Financial Planning business in central Reading which he established in 1990.  Geoff has always taken an active interest in local business issues and was President of the Reading Chamber of Commerce for 8 years giving him a good understanding of the needs and difficulties facing local businesses. He is a founder member and past President of Reading Matins Rotary Club and currently serves on the Community Services team which has undertaken projects at the Battle and Royal Berkshire Hospitals and is currently assisting in the Whitley Wood Community Centre.  He is also a Trustee and Treasurer of “British Community Trust – Peru” which is a project set up by a former Ambassador to the country to provide help and financial support to street children and financially disadvantaged children within that country.


Katesgrove – Leo Lester - Leo (30) has lived in Katesgrove ward since studying at Reading University. He now works for BG Group in Thames Valley Park. He is a school governor and helps out at an after school club. He spent a night sleeping rough to raise the issue of child homelessness in Reading. Leo is an active voice campaigning for local people. He has raised residents' concerns in the Council Chamber, most recently calling for more to be done to stop bullying in schools. In 2010 he organised a petition demanding the Council explain the misuse of council taxpayers' money.


Kentwood – James Anderson - Having grown up in Tilehurst and attended both Park Lane and Little Heath school in Reading James (25) now lives with his wife in Kentwood ward. James started his professional life working in various sales roles but has always been actively involved in local voluntary community work, helping young people from across Reading with Lighthouse Kidz Church and ‘The Gap’ community youth club. James has a passion for Social Action and voluntary community work and now works as the Social Action manager for a national organisation. 


Minster – Alanzo Seville - Alanzo was born in Reading and has spent a large part of his life in and around the local area. For many years he has been actively involved within the local community; working with young people at play schemes during the school holidays, and more recently speaking up for the community at local forums. Alanzo works for a firm of financial advisors and is a director of a care support provider. His business interests include providing care for vulnerable people and financial services to those who otherwise would not be able to access these services. Alanzo is passionate about ensuring that people have control of their communities and believes in the Conservative principle that the views of local people should be the most important factor in any decisions being made by Reading Borough Council.


Norcot – Nazia Bashir - Nazia has lived in Reading most of her life, graduated with a LLB Law Degree & a Diploma in Law in Legal Practice. At present she is working for a local firm as well as being involved in voluntary work for the local community. Nazia, first got involved in politics whilst studying for her Law Degree at University, which has inspired and furthered her interest in this particular area to be able to represent and be the voice for her local residents and ward. Nazia, has been taking time to talk to local residents in the area, to find out whether they have any local concerns or issues that they would like her to address for them.  She is a dedicated, committed and hard working individual, who will make a tremendous difference to her ward if selected and given the opportunity.

Park – Wazir Hussain - Wazir is married and has 3 children and he has lived and worked in Reading since 1984.  His children all went to Katesgrove Primary School with his daughter going on to Maiden Erlegh School and his sons to Reading School.  Wazir and his wife set up and grew a successful retail business in central Reading.  As a result they know lots of people who were their customers and who regularly popped in for their local supplies.  Wazir sold the business to concentrate on managing the properties bought in the town over the last 20 years. First elected onto Reading Borough Council in 2007,  Wazir enjoys working hard for the whole of Park Ward’s community and is pleased that his linguistic abilities enable him to represent this multicultural area.

Peppard – Richard Willis – Richard (44) was first elected in Peppard ward in 2007, having previously represented neighbouring Thames Ward from 2001 to 2004. He lives in Caversham Park Village and is a governor of Emmer Green Primary School. He is also a Director of Readibus which provides transport for mobility impaired people. Richard currently works full time for the Royal Air Force as a community relations officer but started his working life as a teacher. Since May 2010 Richard has been the Lead Councillor for Strategic Planning and Transport.


Redlands – Ed Hopper - Ed (35) has lived in Reading since 1998, when he moved here for work. He lives with his wife and two daughters in East Reading where he enjoys an active community life. Ed works a few miles outside Reading so he knows the pressures of commuting by car on Reading’s roads. Ed’s eldest daughter attends school in the town and his younger daughter goes to a local nursery. Ed and his family are involved with their local church and he serves on the Parish Council for the joint parish of St. Luke’s with St. Bartholomew’s.


Southcote – Robert Vickers – Robert has been married for 38 years, to Sandra, who is standing in Tilehurst Ward. They have four children and three grandchildren and Robert has lived in Reading all his life.  After leaving Wilson School, Robert started his working life as an apprentice jig and toolmaker. He has also worked at Dee Road Fire Station, been assistant manager at a rehabilitation centre (which provides work experience for handicapped people) before setting up his own building business which he ran for about 25 years, employing up to 15 people. Robert has lived in Southcote ward for nearly 16 years. Currently he works for a local housing association as a multi-skilled operative where he is also a GMB union shop steward. As part of his work Robert is used to standing up for and representing colleagues and coming up with sensible solutions.


Thames – Jeanette Skeats - Jeanette has lived in Caversham for 33 years with her husband and daughter. She has represented Thames Ward since she was first elected in 1996. During her time on the Council she has been a member of scrutiny panels and committees covering most areas of the Council. Jeanette is Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group and is the Council’s Lead Member for Communities, Voluntary Sector and Enterprise. She is also Chairman of Licensing and Reading in Bloom. Jeanette is a former Chairman of the Caversham Court Gazebo Trust and as such helped initiate a successful bid to the Lottery Heritage Fund. Jeanette served as Mayor of Reading in 2003 – 2004 and as first citizen she promoted and represented the town on many formal occasions working closely with the voluntary sector and local groups fundraising for various charities. Jeanette is a Patron for the Down Syndrome International Swimming Organisation.


Tilehurst – Sandra Vickers - Sandra has been married for 38 years, to Robert, who is standing in Southcote Ward. They have four children and three grandchildren and have lived in Reading all their lives. Sandra was educated at Battle School and then Alfred Sutton Girls School, where she took a secretarial course, and upon leaving went to work for a local building society, Reading Police Station, and finally a Dutch/American company.  She then became a full time mother during which time she helped Robert run his own building business.  When the children were little Sandra helped out at their schools doing fundraising, listening to the children read and cook, helping on outings and anything else where parents were needed. Her hobbies include motor-biking (although only on the back!), camping, wild life study, gardening and sewing, which has now culminated in Sandra running her own business hand making curtains and soft furnishings.


Whitley – Michael Doyle – Michael (27) has lived in the Reading area since 2001, when he moved here for work. He lives in the Whitley area and has worked in the retail and construction sectors. He is a keen marathon runner who has raised money for numerous charities such as Down Syndrome Association, St John’s Hospice and Headway. He is currently studying to be a Physical Education teacher and is passionate about improving the physical fitness of young people.



Cllr Andrew Cumpsty, Leader of Reading Borough Council said: “I am delighted to be able to introduce a team of candidates which represents all ages and backgrounds. We have some very experienced sitting Councillors standing again but also some new candidates who bring a great range of talent and life experience. I believe that this is the best ever team of candidates we have stood in Reading."