Port Erin’s new commissioner committed to preserving Manx culture

New Port Erin commissioner Will Halsall

New Port Erin commissioner Will Halsall

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A man firmly committed to both serving and preserving the community has become the latest person to join Port Erin Commissioners.

Will Halsall, 50, was born and bred in Port St Mary and is from a well-known local fishing family.

He was educated locally, left school at 15 and worked for Colas before he moved to the UK in 1986.There he gained extensive experience in various companies in the highways industry and managed a sign company in Manchester. In 2001 he returned, with his family, to live in Port Erin. Since living here he has run a company specialising in public transport hardware and deals exclusively with UK-based organisations.

He keeps a weather eye on local issues and as a commissioner is keen to help where he can.

‘I’m not going in for any egotistical reasons, it is to serve the community with honesty and integrity,’ he said. ‘I, like everyone, can hear the rumours … and rather than whinge and being a sniping critic I will throw my hat in the ring to be a commissioner just to serve the community.

‘I have no intention of siding with anyone. I’m very much my own man.’

He is proudly Manx and keen to preserve a tradition he thinks is diminishing.

‘I’m nationalistic Manx. I think the traditional Manx culture is gradually being eroded or sidelined, we seem to have lost our way. With the growth of Port Erin I worry that a lot of the old Manx culture is being eroded slightly.

‘It’s the old culture it’s being forgotten. I’m from a fishing family in Port St Mary ... I look at it now and we have this influx of people who do not want to embrace what the village is like.

‘Our kids should embrace Manx culture in its true origins.

‘I’m here to represent the community as a whole and that is my stance, I want what is best for the village and want its heritage and identity retained.’

He’s fully aware now – with the financial squeeze and potential local government reform – is a challenging time.

‘I’m under no illusions that government is trying to transfer costs to local authorities and some tough decisions will have to be made, I’m not blind,’ he said.

As for reform, this is something he would support. He said one authority should be formed to cover Port Erin, Port St Mary, Rushen and Arbory parishes.

But he thinks board sizes need to be kept higher (when commenting on a recent failed notice of motion to reduce the board size at Port Erin from nine to five members).

He said larger numbers avoid cliques forming which could become the dominant voice.

But he said first and foremost: ‘I’m here to represent the community, if people have an issue, contact me. That’s what I’m there for, I want to be contactable, if someone says I’m getting nowhere with this, I’m happy to be a conduit to be used by the community.’

To contact Will, phone 454333 or email w.halsall@porterin.gov.im.

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