THE countdown is on to the local council elections on May 22 and Labour has announced the four candidates who will be contesting seats in Prestwich and Whitefield.

  • SCHOOL governor Eamonn O’Brien, aged 22, of Butterstile Lane, Prestwich, will contest the St Mary’s Ward seat currently occupied by Liberal Democrat Cllr Donal O’Hanlon.

Mr O’Brien studied at St Monica’s RC High School in Prestwich, Holy Cross College in Bury and at the University of Manchester.

A governor at Prestwich Arts College, he is currently studying a part-time history masters and working as a president of the Manchester Universities’ Catholic chaplaincy.

Mr O’Brien, who is a keen rugby union fan, said: “My interests and activities in Prestwich include supporting localism and regeneration. For example, I have recently begun promoting the new Bury Credit Union in Prestwich, the Village Greens Co-op and Prestwich Carnival.

“I attend Our Lady of Dolours Church and serve there as a reader.”

  • TEACHER trainer Dr Catherine Preston, of Deyne Avenue, Prestwich, will contest a seat in Holyrood currently occupied by Bury Lib Dem leader, Cllr Tim Pickstone. Dr Preston, who also works as a music education consultant, is a mother of two and said she wants to “limit the impact of the coalition Government in Bury”.

She added: “I have lived in Prestwich for 25 years and have taught in Bury schools for the majority of that time.

“My most recent full-time post was a director of music at Philips High School in Whitefield.”

Dr Preston plays in the Bolton Chamber Orchestra and has taken part in the Manchester Shine Marathon Walk for the last three years, raising money for Cancer Research UK.

“Now is the right time for me to use my work and life experiences, health and energy to make a difference for people of all ages and social backgrounds in Bury to create a unified, fairer and kinder community,” she added.

  • Standing in Besses ward will be Mary Whitby, of Whitefield.

She will be contesting the seat that will be left vacant by Cllr Ken Audin, who is retiring from politics.

Mary is the chairman of governors at Mersey Drive Primary School in Whitefield and has 38 years of experience in education.

She has campaigned to get a pharmacy in Besses and for a 20mph speed limit in residential roads.

She said: “If I am elected, I want to be at the forefront of campaigning against the savage cuts being imposed on Bury by this Government.

“I know the importance of the NHS and care services in supporting residents of this ward and I will use the experience gained as a trade union representative to fight for a fair deal for the people of Besses.”

  • Defending his seat in Sedgley ward will be Cllr Alan Quinn, of Whittaker Lane, Prestwich, who was elected in May 2010.

He said: “Since my election, I’ve worked hard representing many constituents and organisations, making sure the voice of Prestwich is heard in the town hall.

“As a member of the Heaton Park consultative group I’ve made sure that the voice of Prestwich is heard regarding the concerts.

“Locally I’m a member of the Prestwich Carnival committee, involved in Prestwich Festival and I’m a governor of Parrenthorn High School and Park View Primary Schools.”