Last week saw myself and three other journalists cover the General Election in Preston for Blog Preston. My main role of the evening was to get photographs for the website, both of the count and of the key people at Preston Guild Hall without breaking any laws!

So here this time are some of my photos of the evening, in chronological order, with some information about each one to give you an idea of how the night unfolded. It was a very long evening. We arrived at Guild Hall at about 8.30pm, and left just before 5am on the Friday morning. Apparently another count in Lancashire saw the journalists given bacon sandwiches, how I could have done with one. Sadly none were forthcoming which was a disappointment!


Taken early on in the night, this was the scene in Guild Hall at about 9.30pm before any ballot boxes had arrived. Nothing much was really going on with just a handful of city councillors and journalists wandering about and preparing for the night ahead.


Our home for the evening. The four laptops set up in the corner of Guild Hall. From left to right; Andy Halls, Daniel Bentley and Joe Stashko all ready and raring to go and report the evening’s events.


This turned into a familiar sight as the night went on. Labour candidate and current MP Mark Hendrick observing the count and sorting of ballot papers. For hours he went round just watching the papers being counted with a nervous expression on his face and refusing to do any press interiews. None of this helped to dampen various rumour that were flying around the room about which way the vote was going.

Another common sight, lines of councillors standing over. The Lib Dems were taking a much larger interest than others, as you can see by the line of yellow rosettes! Quite what this achieves I’m not really sure, especially when they are only sorting between the General Election and local election papers, which was the case here. Later on me and another journalist had a look round during the count to try and get the winner and we weren’t all that accurate!

A lot busier than earlier! By now everyone decided to get in on the act and have a good stare at somebody putting ballot papers into different piles. Completely pointless but with a fair bit at stake it’s understandable I suppose that people were going to just watch this all night long.

Joe Stashko and Daniel Bentley interviewing the Conservative candidate, Nerissa Warner-O’Neill for Blog Preston. I attempted a shot of shotting over Joe’s shoulder and into the screen on his video camera to give the view he had of the interview as well as my own. It worked to an extent though there was an issue with the focus of the image, however you can see the image on the screen in this shot too.

A conversation which was of great interest to us between Nerissa and Mark Hendrick. This went on for about 10 minutes and I’ve never before heard two people talk so quietly! What they were talking about, we can’t be sure, but I thought it would be interesting to get a photo of the two chatting. From where they were standing, this was the only place I could get a photo from in front without standing right in their faces and making them quite angry!

The facts. Unlike most parts of the country, where the turnout was higher than in the previous General Election, Preston saw a slight dip in voter turnout this year. You may notice that the number of people eligible to vote was also down. A reshuffle of various wards in the past few years has seen the Preston constituency shrink since 2005. For example, Bamber Bridge is now in the Ribble Valley constituency…no I don’t get that one either.

The candidates on stage awaiting the results to be announced. If some of them don’t look too cheerful that’s because they’d already been told the provisional results, and they didn’t all win! The candidates on stage were (from left to right): Mark Jewell (Lib Dem), Mark Hendrick (Labour), Nerissa Warner-O’Neill (Conservative) and Richard Muirhead (UKIP).

To everyone’s surprise (not really) Mark Hendrick won with a majority of nearly 50 per cent, ensuring Preston remained a Labour safe seat. Labour won the seat in 1945 and has remained red ever since. So shocked was Mark Hendrick at his victory that he even had pre-written his victory speech…

The victory photo. As the Lanchashire Evening Post’s photographer organised the Labour group to celebrate their victory, he positioned himself in front of a sofa. So I climbed onto the sofa behind and took this photo of a very happy set of people with red rosettes. The smiling faces could either be about the fact they won the seat or that finally they could go home, as it was gone 4am by this point! That was what pleased me the most as it was a very long night. Worth it, but long!

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