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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Seagull joins resort mayoral race
Sammy: Ban on wheelie bin lids
Sammy the Seagull has joined the race to become mayor of Torbay.

The Devon resort voted last month to become the first authority in the South West to be led by a US-style directly-elected mayor.

Sammy, who has his own website, hopes to follow the success of Hartlepool United mascot H'angus who became mayor of Hartlepool in 2002.

So far, nobody else has publicly pinned their hopes on taking up the post, expected to pay about 60,000 a year.

Someone is just as likely to dress up as a seagull and bag a load of votes
Jack Critchlow

Sammy has a website in preparation for the first elections to chose a mayor in October.

The website was inspired by teaching assistant Jack Critchlow who wrote to local paper the Herald Express about his disillusionment over the contest.

Mr Critchlow wrote: "Personally, I'll be looking for someone who has been around a long time and knows the area, a candidate who is at ease with folk, whoever they are.

"There again, someone is just as likely to dress up as a seagull, call themselves Sammy or suchlike, and bag a load of votes from that great well of disillusion out there.

"Anyone fancy sponsoring me?"

Free bananas

No-one has come forward to sponsor Mr Critchlow, but now, to Mr Critchlow's surprise, an anonymous web designer has created a website for Sammy.

And while H'angus called for free bananas for children, Sammy has his own demands.

They include all wheelie bins to have their lids removed and Torquay United have to drop the nickname the Gulls, because in Sammy's opinion it gives seagulls a bad name.

But being mayor of Torbay Council which has an annual budget of 150m, is no joke.

The council was rated as among the worst performers in the country in 2002 by the Audit Commission.

At the end of last year it had moved from "poor" under council assessments to "fair".

Paul Lucas, Torbay's returning officer, said: "We need to remember that Torbay has a turnover of 250m.

"We are talking about a big business with a wide array of responsibilities."


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