Harding named UUP candidate in forthcoming election

THE Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in Foyle have announced their candidate to contest the forthcoming General Election.

Coleraine based veteranarian, David Harding will face a stiff challenge in the Foyle constituency from the incumbent MP, the SDLP's Mark Durkan, Martina Anderson of Sinn Fin and Londonderry's Deputy Mayor, Alderman Maurice Devenney of the DUP.

Born in Carlisle, Mr Harding's family moved to South-West Scotland when he was four years old and he grew up in Dalbeattie. His third level education was at the Royal Dick Veterinary College at the University of Edinburgh.

On graduating, David Harding worked in Scotland for a while then moved to Coleraine, initially for three months - but has practiced in the area for more than 25 years now.

Having become a senior partner in a mixed vets practice, with a special interest in dairy cattle fertility, David left the practice in August 2009 and now acts in a consultancy role. He has also been involved closely with animal welfare and was veterinary adviser to the USPCA for several years.

David Harding has also been elected to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the regulatory body for the veterinary profession and is chairman of the committee which considers all complaints against vets.

Mr Harding married his wife, local woman, Olive and is the father of one son. Mrs Harding died aged 47 in November 2007 and David's son has just begun secondary school.

Mr Harding says that being a single parent is a significant but rewarding challenge. A member of the Kirk Session of Bushmills Presbyterian Church Mr Harding is involved closely with the renovation of the church buildings and is also a member of the church choir.

This fits in well with his hobbies, which include music and especially singing.

His other interests include golf, cooking, reading and travelling.