For most men in their twenties, the idea of spending their Tuesday nights in a council chamber probably doesn’t sound too appealing.
But that’s exactly what 22-year-old Thomas Hirst will be doing after he was co-opted onto Mirfield Town Council this week.
Coun Hirst, a former pupil at Mirfield Free Grammar, was voted in by his follow councillors to represent the Northorpe ward after a vacancy arose.
After taking the declaration of acceptance of office, he played an active part in Tuesday’s meeting, where councillors discussed the budget.
“I enjoyed it,” he said. “It was a bit of a baptism of fire, what with it being the budget, but there’s nothing wrong with going in head first.”
Coun Hirst now lives in Colne Bridge, Huddersfield, but grew up in Mirfield . He said he and his parents were the only members of his close family who do not live in the town.
He is currently studying international politics at the University of Huddersfield and works for community broadcaster Kirklees Local TV.
He previously applied to be co-opted to the town council as a member of UKIP, but was defeated by Colin Fretwell, who has since resigned.
He was Huddersfield branch chairman of UKIP and came third as the party’s candidate in Mirfield in last year’s Kirklees Council election, but has now joined the Conservatives.
“I do feel that being UKIP branch chairman has helped me by getting a wiser head on my shoulders and being a town councillor will certainly develop that,” Coun Hirst said.
“I think the town council should be seen as a point of access to valuable words of wisdom. It should be there to provide support to the people who need it and it should be seen as a point of information.”
Coun Hirst is not Mirfield Town Council’s youngest ever member – Coun James Taylor was 21 when he joined in 2001.
There is still one remaining vacancy on the town council, which will be formally advertised in due course.