New North Ayrshire councillor Mary Hume says her by-election victory is "a vote for change and reinvestment in Kilwinning".

The Labour candidate was a convincing winner in the election, called following the death of Kilwinning Conservative Councillor John Glover.

She took 54 per cent of all the first preference votes and was elected after the first stage of the count, held at the Nethermains Community Centre on Friday.

The Kilwinning resident, a former depute head of the town's St Luke's Primary School who also spent 10 years as head teacher at St Mary's Primary in Largs, said: "It's been an excellent day. We could tell on the doorsteps that people were disenchanted with the status quo.

"It gives a clear impression of how the electorate are feeling and it is a vote for change and reinvestment in Kilwinning."

Much of Labour's campaign focused on the lack of capital spending projects for Kilwinning in the latest budget from North Ayrshire Council's ruling SNP group.

Labour is now set to form the official opposition to the minority SNP administration in the council chamber, with the party's total of 10 councillors just short of the SNP's 12 but ahead of the nine Conservative members.

The headcount in the chamber is completed by two independent councillots.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Winning candidate Mary HumeWinning candidate Mary Hume (Image: Contributed)

Ms Hume said: "We got really good feedback on the doorsteps. We have worked really hard and pounded the streets for weeks and people seemed impressed that we were listening to them.

"I'm a positive person, I just want to do good work for Kilwinning, and I want to work in a positive way."

Labour group leader and fellow Kilwinning councillor Joe Cullinane added: "I'm delighted with the result. 

"Mary has been an excellent candidate and she has worked incredibly hard. She's a former head teacher and deputy head teacher from Kilwinning and I couldn't have asked for a better candidate.

"We got 46 per cent of the Kilwinning vote back in 2022, and we thought it might be hard to better that, but we're up by eight per cent in yesterday's poll. That's exceptionally good."

The SNP's Sheila Gibson, another local candidate, took second place.

She said: "I'm still fairly positive about the result for us, but it is disappointing. It's work, work for us now."

David Rocks, the Conservative candidate for Ayrshire Central in the forthcoming General Election, said: "It looks as though Conservative voters are sticking with us.

"If this was a full council election, I think the result would be the status quo. We are not far behind the SNP. They had more than double the Conservative vote last time, and thery don't now.

"We might not be the official opposition on North Ayrshire Council now, but we still hold a strong influence and we will continue to hold the SNP to account.

"For the general election, we need our voters to stick with us, and if the SNP vote does go down, it could make an interesting three horse race."

The count was conducted electronically and quickly, with a turnout of just 30.2 per cent.

There were a number spoiled ballot papers, and thanks to the electronic count, some 'borderline ballots' were revealed on screens as they were rechecked.

A couple of them drew some laughs from the assembled council team and party members.

One voter simply spelled out N.O.U.S.E. in the boxes...and another filled their ballot paper with what can only be described as "turd" emojis, rather then crosses.

They were among 42 rejected ballot papers.