Christian party fields trio of Norfolk candidates

2013: The Christian People’s Alliance (CPA) party is fielding three candidates, its first ever, at the Norfolk County Council elections on May 2. Keith Morris reports.

ChrisOlley430All three CPA candidates are standing in the Breckland District and have connections to the Ashill-based Fountain of Life network church in Mid Norfolk.
Pastoral outreach worker Carl Clark, who is already a Thetford town councillor and Breckland district councillor, is standing in Thetford West, Christian youth worker and street pastor Chris Olley is standing in Dereham South and youth counsellor and 4Cs director Mark Clamp is standing in The Brecks.
Chris Olley has worked with vulnerable adults and with young people in Dereham. His passion for helping other led him to become a Street Pastor and drive a bus for the Christian youth charity Splag, which goes out to areas where there is anti-social behaviour working with different agencies and the Police. Chris is also a local business owner and qualified tree surgeon. He worships at Fountain of Life in Ashill
“I see the continual erosion of our freedoms as Christians especially by the EU, as a matter that needs to be looked at. We put billions of pounds into Europe and lose our rights as a nation. A referendum on Europe is a must,” said Chris.
Mark Clamp is a youth counsellor based in King's Lynn for Mancroft Advice Project (MAP). He is also the volunteer director of 4Cs (Centres for Christian Care and Counselling) and regional co-ordinator for CVM (Christian Vision for Men) and attends the Fountain of Life.
“My reason for standing is that I feel the current NCC councillors have not served us well and its time for a change,” said Mark. “Norfolk child protection and a significant number of schools have not faired well in Ofsted, our roads are deteriorating before our eyes and the disgraceful way the Incinerator issue has been handled are all examples of poor running of NCC. 
Mark Clamp“Whilst I accept there have to be budget cuts, I believe the current councillors have got it wrong. I feel it is not good enough to stand on the outside complaining, the way to effect change is from within and I know with God’s will I can make a difference.”

Carl, who is already a Thetford town councillor and Breckland district councillor, plans to stand in Thetford West and is appealing for other Christians to join him in other seats in the county elections which take place on May 2.
He said: “The CPA have accepted me as a candidate and I will be standing for Jesus and unity amongst Christians in these times where our faith is being eroded, even within our churches, by such issues as gay marriage and abortion. I only fear God, not man, so I am making a stand for our rights as Christians under one God our Father.
“I will be standing against the gay marriage proposals and against abortion, as I believe life is sacred and amazing. Also that we come under our own flag again so that we cannot be dictated to by the EU on our faith and how we worship, whilst protecting and supporting the workers from the EU who are already working hard here."
Carl is pastoral outreach worker at The Bishop's CEVA Primary School, Thetford and holds positions with Thetford Breathe Easy Group, Breckland Older People’s Forum, Thetford Cycling Forward and Thetford ABA Boxing Awards.
CarlClark420He has support from the organisations he is involved with as well as the church he attends, Cloverfield Community Church which is a joint Anglican and URC church and connected to the Ashill-based Fountain Network church.
Rev Stephen Mawditt, leader of the Fountain Network, said: “Christians are called to be salt and light in all aspects of society. Carl’s decision to stand as a CPA candidate reflects his commitment to actively work for social justice and his passion to see transformation in the political realm through the upholding of Christian values.”   
Carl was elected to Broadland as a Labour Party candidate and to Thetford Town Council as an independent but has since transferred both to the CPA.

The CPA is a Christian Democratic party whose members come from all backgrounds and church traditions. On their website they state: “We actively promote Christian social teaching and draw our principles from the Bible, especially the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.
“In order to reflect how most churches work in their neighbourhoods, the Christian Peoples Alliance is built as a party from the bottom up. Maximum freedom within the CPA Constitution is given to activists to organise themselves, campaign on local issues and adopt local candidates. “

All candidates for the three Breckland seats are: DEREHAM SOUTH: Gordon Bambridge (C); David Bowyer (Green); Paul Gilmour (UKIP); Chris Olley (CPA); Paul Speed (LD); Craig Warmer (Lab). THE BRECKS: Mark Clamp (CPA);  Stephen Green (Lab); Ian Monson* (C); Jeff Prosser (Green); James Vernon (UKIP). THETFORD WEST: Tristan Ashby (C);  Carl Clark (CPA); Peter Georgiou (UKIP); Danny Jeffrey (LD); Terry Jermy (Lab); Sandra Walmsley (Green).

Pictured from the top are CPA candidates Chris Olley, Mark Clamp and Carl Clark. 

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