A budding politician who only joined the Labour Party in January ended a rollercoaster nine months by speaking at the party’s annual conference.
Luke Sills, from Kings Langley, spoke at a number of policy debates at Labour’s annual summit in Brighton, which brought together party members from across the UK.
And he also got to meet the new Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn, who he described as “one of the nicest people I’ve ever met”.
Luke told the Gazette: “I met Jeremy on several occasions in Brighton and he always had time to speak to everyone, even though he was clearly very busy.
“He always came across as a principled, honest and real man, who was happy to speak to all people on all levels.”
Luke, who is a former head boy at Kings Langley School, is now studying history and politics at the University of Exeter.
But it was only the prospect of May’s general election which prompted him to define where his own political allegiances lay.
He said: “I was coming up to my 18th birthday and realised that I had a responsibility to vote in May.
“I read up about all the parties, what they believed and what their policies were, and for me Labour were the only party that spoke up for young people.”
After joining the party in January Luke played an active role in the party’s election campaign, with his day on May 7 starting with going to the polling booth at 7am, spending all of election day canvassing, and only ending when the result was announced in the early hours of May 8.
And election fever did not stop there for Luke - he went on to do summer work experience for Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, and volunteered for the MP’s own bid to become deputy leader of the party.
Luke said: “The Hemel party has about 300 members so I was really lucky to be invited to represent us at the conference.
“I went to a pre-meeting in Cambridge before the conference, and there was a real sense of stepping into the unknown. But by the time it got to Brighton the atmosphere was just brilliant.
“I’ve long thought I might be a teacher when I leave university, but since I’ve been involved in politics and have seen how it can change people’s lives, I enjoy it more and more.”