THE youngest ever councillor in Basildon has described how politics helped him overcome severe depression.

Andrew Gordon, 18, suffered so badly he left school aged 15.

But he has beaten his illness and has been elected as the new Labour councillor for Nethermayne ward.

He said: “My depression had become very severe so I left school.

“This illness took over my life for about two years.

“My work alongside Baroness Angela Smith of Basildon throughout her election campaign, and volunteering with several youth projects was a real turning point for me.

“This gave me the confidence and self-esteem to progress into politics.

“The support from my family, friends, and colleagues really helped me on the road to recovery.”

Mr Gordon said he was inspired to get into politics after watching an undercover Panorama documentary on the BNP.

He said: “I decided there and then to join the Labour Party because I felt people representing the BNP behaved so badly.

“I wanted to be transparent and represent what I consider to be a much more ethical party as a councillor.

“I will listen to the views of residents and speak up on their behalf.”

Mr Gordon wanted to be a priest as a young child, but feels he has made the right decision to follow different path into politics.

He is an apprentice at training provider the Light Bulb, in Paycocke Road, Basildon, and has taken a business and admin course.

Before Mr Gordon was elected, Tory Luke Mackenzie, was the youngest elected councillor at 22.

He said: “I first got into politics aged 21 and persevered to become a councillor until I got elected.

“I think it is a good thing for young people to get involved in politics regardless of the party.

“It does not make a difference what age you are.”