Corsham voters turned out in force to keep British National Party candidate Michael Howson out of the town council.
Liberal Democrat candidate Isabel Langsford, 51, won Thursday's by-election, called after the resignation of Coun Jasvir Singh.
Town council chairman Allan Bosley was delighted with the 43 per cent turnout. He said: "People have turned out because they realise it is their duty to take part in the electoral process and the effort that the candidates put into canvassing also helped."
Mr Bosley said the turnout was the result of the wake up call given to voters last year when BNP representative Michael Simpkins won a town council seat as the only candidate standing for the Rudloe ward. He added: "I think there were so many people turning out this year because they wanted to see their favourite candidate in the Corsham seat. There were eight candidates this year, which made more people vote."
Mr Howson was voted into fifth place with 119 votes.
Mrs Langsford, 51, who works part-time at a dental practice in the town, said she was amazed to find that she had won the seat. She said: "I was so tired when I found out the results but I was really pleased. I still can't believe it, it's like a dream." The mother-of-three was campaigning with her team of ten Liberal Democrats supporters at 6am on the morning of the elections. They posted leaflets to all 3,864 electors in the Corsham ward.
Mrs Langsford, who lives in Winsley, near Bradford on Avon, said she is passionate about Corsham because of its wealth of small business. Supporting the town's traders will be one of her priorities. She said: "I think the town is fantastic because it is one of few places that has still got local stores like the butchers and fruit and vegetable shops that bring people into the town."
She also vowed to campaign against The Porch Surgery's plan to move to Rudloe.
She has a busy year ahead with her council work, a third grandchild due next month and a degree course in archaeology due to start in October. She said: "I am looking forward to just taking on board all of the things I need to know as a councillor. Working part-time and starting my degree in October gives me a chance to get on board with the council."
Gazette and Herald