Disabled ex-firefighter George Ridgeon has announced he is to stand for Parliament in the Cheltenham constituency in honour of his good friend ’Dancing’ Ken Hanks, who died on April 1.
The colourful 72-year-old Churchdown resident has previously fought both the Gloucester and Tewkesbury constituencies as a Monster Raving Loony candidate.
But he has decided to throw his hat into the ring in Cheltenham at the snap election in June in tribute to Dancing Ken, who had been a Monster Raving Loony candidate there several times.
George, who is wheelchair-bound after falling from a ladder during a failed fire rescue attempt in Gloucester in 1981, said
"Like everyone else in Great Britain, I was shocked at the announcement of the general election.
"As it coincides with my friend Dancing Ken just passing away, and as I was his press agent at the 2010 and 2015 elections, I felt I should carry on his tradition in Cheltenham.
"I pledged to give £1,000 to local charity if I did not lose my deposit in Gloucester at the last election but despite that 20,000 people did not vote.
"I’m hoping for better this time when I stand in Cheltenham - the town where I started my fire service career in 1968.
It will be a good send-off for Ken."
Meanwhile, Mr Ridgeon is holding a charity garage sale for cancer charities in memory of Dancing Ken and also of motorcycling friend Geoff Fivash, from Tuffley, who died just days before Ken.
"The fact that I have lost two great friends is only just sinking in. Organising the sale and standing for Parliament will stop me dwelling on the sadness and looking on the good side, remembering the pleasure I had when the setwo friends were alive."