A third Gwynedd councillor has announced he will be standing in May’s Senedd elections for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, increasing the confirmed field of candidates to six.
With Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas confirming he will not be seeking re-election for the constituency he’s held since the Assembly’s inception in 1999, Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives were the first to reveal their candidates, namely Mabon ap Gwynfor and Charlie Evans.
This was followed last month by Garndolbenmaen councillor Stephen Churchman, for the Liberal Democrats and Blaenau Ffestiniog-based county councillor, Llais Gwynedd’s Glyn Daniels, throwing their hats in the ring alongside Cian Ireland for Welsh Labour.
This week, Peter Read became the latest to announce his candidature by representing Neil McEvoy’s Propel party in the May 6 poll.
Cllr Read, elected to represent Abererch in both Llais Gwynedd and Plaid Cymru colours since 2008, last year became the group leader of Propel – also known as the Welsh National Party – following a high profile defection and remains the authority’s Disability Champion.
First coming to public prominence in 1995 when he survived a hang gliding accident which left him paraplegic, it’s thought that Cllr Read would become the first disabled person elected to the Senedd if backed by the voters of Dwyfor Meirionnydd in May.
A native of Rhydyclafdy and a mechanic by trade, he ran Llŷn Tyres in Pwllheli for many years.
Aged 28, he suffered the horrific accident and was hospitalised for 18 months at Oswestry’s Gobowen hospital.
While the accident left him paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair, Cllr Read says that the experience released in him an “inner strength to fight adversity and prove that anything is possible with sheer determination and hard work”.
Following discharge, he returned to work as a Honda Quad seller and repairer.
“I am a proud Welshman and it is a privilege to put myself as candidate in Dwyfor Meirionydd, where I was born and bred,” he said.
“I will never forget all the love and support I received after my accident
all those years ago.
“The accident made me the man I am today and I want to give something back, being a strong voice in the Senedd.”
He went on to claim that downgrades of A&E departments has seen facilities such as Alltwen “become little more than care homes”.
“I owe a great deal to the NHS but many in Meirionnydd are disadvantaged by having to travel up to 70 miles to access hospital healthcare,” said Cllr Read.
“These needs could be made available on a more local basis.
“Blaenau Ffestiniog Hospital, for example, is one that I feel should be reinstated as a fully packaged facility, which would include consultants and specialists being available on site, thus reducing patient travelling times.”
The next Senedd election is set to take place on May 6.