I’m a proud Yorkshire woman and have been here in Batley & Spen all my life. Kim Leadbeater MP
I am a proud Yorkshire woman and have lived and worked in Batley and Spen all my life. I was born at Dewsbury Hospital and I have lived in almost every part of the constituency – Heckmondwike, Batley, Cleckheaton, Gomersal, Liversedge, Staincliffe and Littletown.
I went to Royds Infants School, Cawley Lane Junior and Heckmondwike Grammar School where I studied A-levels in English Literature, History, Law and General Studies. As a teenager I always had part-time jobs including working at Chatters Coffee Shop in Dewsbury and Harlequin’s and Persico’s pizza take-aways in Heckmondwike and Roberttown. The early part of my full-time working life involved working at a local carpet yarn manufacturing business in Mirfield. I then returned to education and began studying a degree in Philosophy and Politics at Leeds University, but I really missed the world of work and returned to work, temping at Jay-Be Beds in Dewsbury and Gomersal. Here I began a Commercial Trainee programme working in departments across the business from manufacturing to marketing and became the National Sales Manager in my early 20’s, travelling to see large retail customers all over the country. I was head-hunted by Slumberland Beds where I went on to work as their National Account Manager.
Whilst I loved working in the furniture industry, I had always had a passion for sport and health and wellbeing and at the age of 25 I changed direction and went back to education to study exercise and fitness qualifications at Dewsbury College. I went on to study a degree in Health-Related Exercise & Fitness and graduated with 1st Class Honours from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2005. I supported my studies by working at local gym, Physical Jerks in Cleckheaton and teaching group exercise classes. I went on to do PGCE teacher training qualifications and began lecturing in Higher Education at Kirklees College in Dewsbury and Bradford College. I then set up my own business as a Personal Trainer, Wellbeing Coach and Group Exercise Instructor teaching a variety of exercise classes in the local community at venues in Birkenshaw, Healey, Heckmondwike and Gomersal.
The murder of my sister Jo in 2016, while she was working as MP for Batley and Spen, was utterly devastating and turned my life upside down, just as it did for my parents, Gordon and Jean and our entire family. Jo’s murder shook the world. And whatever you thought of her politics you could not meet a nicer person.
Many people were determined that some good should come out of Jo’s horrific death and, while I kept my business going, I threw much of my energy into The Jo Cox Foundation and the local ‘More In Common’ volunteer group. You can find out more about the work we did – and they are still doing – here. There is much to be very proud of.
In 2018 I was awarded the Prime Minister’s 1000th Points of Light Award in recognition of our work to build a positive legacy for Jo, and a Northern Power Women Award for being a ‘Person with Purpose’. In the 2021 New Years Honours List I received an MBE for services to social cohesion and combatting loneliness during the Covid-19 pandemic. As I said at the time, I never thought about these awards being for me, but for the fantastic team working together to make a difference locally and nationally.
I have always been a very driven and determined person and it was my determination to make a difference that prompted me – after much soul-searching – to put myself forward for election as our local MP in the 2021 by-election. I took my seat in Westminster on July 5th and will do everything I can to make the people of Batley & Spen proud and to make a difference to the community and country I love.