MAY I take advantage of your columns to express my thanks to all who gave so freely of their time and resources to help the Keep Christchurch Special campaign in the Christchurch “Referendum” which was counted on Thursday?

The achievement of such a massive vote of confidence in Christchurch, and a huge rejection of the “Future Dorset” scheme, says much for the efforts of the volunteers who stood in Saxon Square, produced, printed and distributed leaflets, carried the message to neighbours and friends, and gave mutual support when things did not look so good, does everyone credit.

I must also express Keep Christchurch Special’s thanks to the counting officer, Mr David McIntosh, and his staff who conducted the count according to the highest standards of British elections, and who were scrupulously fair and extremely efficient throughout the counting process.

I am sure that Cllr Watts and my other councillor colleagues from the Christchurch YES campaign, who were present throughout the verification and count, would join me in certifying the impartiality with which it was conducted.

I am sure that arguments about the merits of the “Future Dorset” scheme will continue for the next few months, and I shall be responding on another occasion to some of the remarks made recently.

But I do hope one thing is clear. The overwhelming majority, some 70% of the poll, completely refutes the so-called “consultation” which claimed that a majority of Christchurch residents supported a single council for the Greater Bournemouth geographic area.

The Secretary of State must now accept that there is no consent in Christchurch for such an artificial construction.

CLLR DAVID JONES Co-Ordinator, Keep Christchurch Special Campaign