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Blue Peter's Radzi thrilled to see mum elected in Wolverhampton

By Marion Brennan | Wolverhampton | Politics | Published:

Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya says he is thrilled after his mother was elected as a Black Country councillor.

Winning candidate Barbara McGarrity with son Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya and daughter Rufaro

Barbara McGarrity, a retired mental health nurse, won Spring Vale for Labour in last night's Wolverhampton Council elections.

And Wolverhampton-born Radzi, 31, who hotfooted it to the count at Aldersley Leisure Centre after presenting a live show from Manchester earlier in the day, says he could not be more proud of his mom.

"I'm really proud of my mum and what she has achieved as a woman with no political experience," he said.

"She was a single mum for a very long time, working in a full-time job and at the same time managed to get herself a degree – the first in her family to do so, which we're massively proud of.

"Then roll on another 15 years, having semi-retired, she decided she wanted to help the community in way that would be really personal, really direct, and so here were in Aldersley Stadium, a place where I used to train in athletics when I was at school – much lactic acid coursed through these veins in this very room.

"So there's a strange sense of nostalgia, pride and something a bit surreal. There's a big wide TV screen showing the results of the 2018 elections coming through on the BBC, and my mum's one of them."

Radzi Chinyanganya (left) with his mother, newly elected councillor Barbara McGarrity (right)

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Radzi, who also presents the ITV show Cannonball and was part of BBC's team for the Winter Olympics in South Korea, added: "My granddad, who was from Dundee and a very working-class man, would be absolutely pumped up for my mum if he was here.

"He worked in a factory, lost a leg in the Second World War, he wouldn't believe she could be in this position. It feels like a real milestone in our family."

Councillor McGarrity, who lives in Tettenhall, said she had been thinking of standing for around three years having previously put her interest in the Labour Party to one side to bring up her family.

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"Since I retired, I decided to put my efforts into the Labour Party and rekindle the interest I had in the party before the children were born," she says.

"When Labour were in power many years ago, they brought in CAMHS, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, which is where I worked and they really blossomed those services but the Conservatives made cuts and the effects of that continue to this day."

She said she will be working to improve the social housing stock, and to reduce fly-tipping, litter-dropping and dog-fouling, the issues which most concerned the residents of Spring Vale on a day to day basis.

The seat was previously held by former mayor Malcolm Gwinnett, who stood down after 28 years representing Spring Vale for the Lib Dems and UKIP.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan
@Marion_EStar

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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