A campaigner for the blind, a casino PR boss, a taxi driver and a fisherman are among those standing in the Southend borough elections.

Elections are taking place on Thursday, May 3.

Among those standing are Southend hotel owner Garry Lowen, who is standing for the Conservative party in Milton ward, Paul Gilson, a well-known Leigh fisherman, who is standing for the Conservatives in Leigh, and cabbie Dave Clift, also standing for the Conservatives in Kursaal ward.

Eminent campaigner for blind people MBE Jill Allen-King is standing for the Liberal Democrats in Chalkwell ward and John Harland, Genting Casino’s public relations and marketing manager, will be standing for the Conservatives in Victoria ward.

Paul Gilson, who has been a vocal supporter of fishermen’s rights, said: “I have worked with councillors on and off for the past 25 years and I think it was just a natural progression.

“Some people suggested some time ago that I should put myself forward as I speak up.

“I’ve put myself forward as I thought I could make a difference.

“I will certainly speak loud and clear.

“I want to see improvements in Southend.

“I would like to see the pier used better.

“It is grossly underused and needs more to attract people - it is not just an ornament.”

He added that he also wanted to target the the high street and said that himself and Garry Lowen, who he has known for many years, would add some fresh ideas to the council.

Campaigner Jill Allen-King said: “I stood twice before, once in 1976 and once two years ago.

“I stood for various reasons but the council completely does not take into account people with disabilities.

“They do not consult with the elderly and disabled like they should.”

She said she would sort out a number of issues with Chalkwell, such as the state of the pavements. She encouraged people to vote for the person standing, and not the political party.

In the 2016 local elections, the Conservatives gained three seats and took the majority with 25 seats.

Independent councillors took 10 seats, losing two and Labour took 11, gaining one.

The Liberal Democrats took two seats, losing two and Ukip took two seats.

This year, there are a range of political parties standing, including independent, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green party candidates.

In St Luke’s, Jason Pilley, who used to be a Green Party candidate for the same ward, is standing for the Pyschedelic Future Party.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

One seat in each of the 17 borough wards will be up for election.

Residents should be receiving their polling cards in the post, with details about what ward you live in and your nearest polling station.

You must have registered to vote by April 17.

To register, visit gov.uk/register-to-vote or call 01702 215010.