COLERAINE Borough Council has its first ever husband and wife team in the Council Chamber.
Portstewart couple Mark and Phyllis Fielding have both now been elected DUP councillors following the recent local government elections.
Phyllis, a school catering assistant, was re-elected to the Coleraine East ward and has served as Deputy Mayor during her time on Council and now husband Mark has been elected to the Skerries ward.
“It was never really a plan for both of us to be elected onto Council at the same time. It just happened that way,” Mark told the Times.
“I have been involved in politics for a long time and have been canvassing for the DUP for the past 29 years.
“I stood for the Bann ward in 2005 and didn’t get in and then again I stood in the Skerries by-election in 2006 and while I didn’t get in, I was the top polling Unionist.
“When the opportunity arose to run this time, I felt it was right to run in the Skerries ward as that’s where I live, in Portstewart, and it proved to be the right decision.”
It has been a busy time for the Fielding household.
As well as running his own election campaign for local government, working as MP Gregory Campbell’s researcher meant that Mark was also busy with the Stormont campaign too.
“I am shattered but I’m looking forward to getting into the Council chamber and getting down to work,” said Mark.
“It feels as if the time is right for us to be in Council now as our family is grown now, our youngest son is now 16 years old.”
A father of three boys and a fan of Leeds United FC, Mark Fielding is also a keen fisherman and is involved in Sunday School with his local church.
“One of the things that I heard most on the doorsteps was the appearance of Portrush and Portstewart, particularly with buildings such as the Metropole, so I would like to look at issues like that.
“Legislation needs to be changed regarding planing issues like that and that’s where it’s good to be a member of a party like the DUP which has MLA representatives in Stormont.
“We are the link to the Assembly.”