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Page last updated at 11:11 GMT, Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Tom Bletsoe begins a life in politics at the age of 18
Tom Bletsoe
Tom Bletsoe wants to make St Ives a town people like to live in

An 18-year-old from Cambridgeshire has become one of the country's youngest councillors.

Tom Bletsoe officially registered as the Independent representative for St Ives town council's South ward on 15 February 2011.

The A-level student said: "A lot of people have said I'm not old enough.

"I tell them that I'm bringing youth, enthusiasm, energy, a new voice and diversity to the town council by making sure that all ages are represented."

Tom Bletsoe won 41% of the votes in the council's by-election on 10 February 2010.

"When I heard there was a vacancy on the council I started talking to people about going for it," he said.

"Some of my friends were a bit sceptical and thought I was crazy, but I did get a lot of support from them, and from my family and teachers."

Town plan

He campaigned on issues he referred to as "his passions" - enthusing St Ives' youngsters to become more involved in the future of the town, and encouraging the council to provide more activities for teenagers.

"I also really wanted to get involved in the St Ives Town Plan," Tom said.

"Questionnaires were sent out and the responses have been collated now. I'm really looking forward to getting on with that in the spring."

The plan examines four areas of regeneration for the town - environment, community, transport and the economy.

"That includes ensuring that the town is served by reliable public transport links," he said. "And reminding people that the guided busway is not just there to take people out of St Ives but to bring them in.

"I want to make sure that St Ives is a really nice place for people to shop, and a town that they want to live in."

Following an article published in The Daily Mail, Tom said he was aware that his story had generated some negative comments about his age.

"Lots of people said that it was ridiculous, that I had no life experience and it was shocking that the country had come to this.

"Some people will always think that way," he said.

"But no one starts with all the experience that they're going to get. You need to work at anything to be the best at it. So, where is a better place to start, really?"

St Ives' ancient giving tradition
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