A FORMER East Lancashire arts worker is one of Labour’s strongest hopes for securing a seat in the European elections.

Julie Ward had a stint at the former Mid-Pennine Association for the Arts, in Burnley, in the late 70s on a job creation scheme as a 20-year-old. The poet and community activist is now third on Labour’s North West selection list, after veteran Arlene McCarthy announced she would not be seeking re-election.

She has since worked around the UK, and internationally, organising arts festivals, and is now co-director of Jack Drum Arts, in Crook, County Durham.

Burnley borough councillor Wajid Khan is ranked fourth on the same list.