A newcomer on the political scene says she cannot help the fact she is married to a celebrity and is vowing to fight the upcoming local elections on her own merits.

Sue Howes is a long-time Richmond resident who works with several charities, having at various times in her life been a teacher in Hounslow , a probation officer and an entrepreneur. Despite all this her name is probably not well known, but perhaps it would be if she was to go out canvassing calling herself Mrs Greg Dyke.

Yes, Sue is also the wife of the Hayes-born former director general of the BBC who now holds the top job at the Football Association and was previously chairman of Brentford FC . It’s not a fact she is ashamed of, however nor is it one she particularly wants people to focus on when deciding whether or not to vote for her.

She said: "I was actually approached by the Richmond Liberal Democrats to be a candidate for Twickenham Riverside and I did not decide to do it lightly. I remember attending an early meeting and being shocked at how partisan everything is. The Conservatives all trotted out the same comment on the same issue just to toe the party line.

“Greg and I were historically Labour supporters until the Iraq war when we felt so betrayed by Tony Blair. I would always put issues first, and the Lib Dem philosophy is definitely closer to how I feel about the world these days.”

Sue was working as a probation officer when she met the multi-careered Greg in 1975 but they didn’t get together until 1983 and have only actually been married for four years. They moved to Southampton for three years while Greg worked for TVS before returning to the Richmond area when he moved back to LWT in the late eighties - this time to live in St Margarets, at the time part of Hounslow borough.

Sue Howes with Greg Dyke
Sue Howes with Greg Dyke
 

Sue found herself at The Green School, in Isleworth, where she taught A-level sociology to sixth formers including pupils from Hounslow Manor, Brentford School for Girls and Isleworth and Syon School. She did this for 11 years, (during which time their part of St Margarets defected to Richmond borough), before deciding to start her own business.

She set up a business which produced and sold educational videos (later DVDs) and ran it successfully for 15 years before returning to her first love of helping people. She became a trustee of the charity Safe Ground which works with ex-offenders to turn their lives around. She and Greg had their four children locally and put them through Richmond schools, but when they all left home they moved from St Margarets to their current home in East Twickenham.

So have all these careers and all these experiences been a cover for a deep desire to hold elected office?“No, I’m not a career politician at all,” she says. So her husband hasn’t influenced her political leanings, but how about the fortunes of his beloved Brentford FC?

“I’m afraid I’m not much a football fan,” she admits “But my children all adore Brentford, especially my oldest son Matt who lives on a boat there. I always feel sorry that someone has to lose, and I was especially sorry when Brentford lost to Doncaster on the last day of last season.

“It would have been such a crowning glory for Greg if he could have left the club with them up in the Championship. I’ve not used Greg’s name when I’ve gone out canvassing, you are who you are is my belief and I am confident I have as good a chance as anyone standing this May. I am a committed supporter of both Human Scale Education which promotes whole school health, and the Richmond inclusive Schools Campaign. As a Lib Dem councillor I would do all I could to ensure that Richmond children receive the best local education possible.

“I have always had a strong belief in the importance of local communities and now have the time and energy to devote to helping make a difference as part of a committed team. “I believe that one of the Council’s major roles should be as a facilitator helping to create viable and active local communities in a range of different parts of the borough.”