In its truest form, politics should be about making life better for people who are unable to do so themselves.
That was what motivated Sarah-Jane Sewell (19) from Spalding to join the Conservative Party two years ago.
She said: “I’ve always been quite political and for my A-levels, I started studying the decline of political party membership.
“At the same time, the 2010 General Election was coming up and some people in the year above me at Spalding High School were studying politics.
“Together, that attracted me to party politics and I joined the Conservative Party as a 17-year-old in March 2011.
“It was the party I could most align my beliefs and aspirations with, such as working hard to get where you want to be.”
But there was nothing in Sarah-Jane’s upbringing to suggest that she would set off on a course that could end up with her emulating such Tory Party heavyweights as Home Secretary Theresa May, Culture Secretary Maria Miller and a certain Margaret Thatcher of Grantham.
Sarah-Jane said: “I was a normal child growing up in Whittlesey, doing ballroom dancing, Girl Guides, swimming and rounders.
“My family moved to Spalding in 2005 and I first stood for the school council at Spalding High School in Year Nine.
“I then got involved in campaigning for Fairtrade in Year 10 through the Young Enterprise scheme at school because I wanted to support farmers from the UK and overseas who were being exploited.
“Then I became chairman of the school council as a sixth-former before joining the Conservative Party when everything seemed to snowball and I started getting more involved in party activism.”
After a short spell on South Holland Youth Council, Sarah-Jane was invited onto the East Midlands executive of Conservative Future, a branch of the party for under-30s previously known as the Young Conservatives.
At the same time, Sarah-Jane was offered the role of vice chairman of Conservative Future in Lincolnshire, with responsibility for communications.
All this while setting up South Holland and The Deepings’ Conservative Future branch, studying for her A-levels and holding down two part-time jobs.
“Trying to balance everything was a challenge and my first year of A-levels didn’t go to plan,” Sarah-Jane said.
“Having to repeat the year brought me back down to earth, but my family helped me realise that everything happens for a reason.”
In October 2011, Sarah-Jane was encouraged to stand as national deputy chairman of Conservative Future, with responsibility for membership and social action.
With a campaign built strongly on the use of social media, not dissimilar to Barack Obama’s victorious run to the White House in 2008 and 2012, Sarah-Jane was elected with more than 65 per cent of the vote.
She said: “It was a bit of a last-minute decision to run and one of the main challenges I thought would be my age.
“I had a lot of support and endorsements during my election campaign, but your voice is only as big as you make it.
“I spoke to both my area and regional chairmen who helped out in picking up support from Facebook.
“It was a massive help in promoting things and keeping in touch with people.
“That’s how my election campaign picked up strength from starting off as one with a candidate who didn’t know people across the country.”
Sarah-Jane is in touch with about 15,000 Conservative Future members from across the UK and her successful five-point manifesto acts as her job description for the national deputy chairman’s role.
She said: “Conservative Future is about engaging with young people so they can engage with what’s going on, both in this country and around the world.
“I’m the only woman on the national executive but the support I’ve had has been overwhelming and it shows that what I’m doing is the right thing.”
Sarah-Jane is busy putting together her campaign to be re-elected for a second 15-month term, at the same time studying for a politics and international relations degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.
“There’s still a bit more that I want to do which is why I’m running again,” she said.
“It’s tempting to run for the role of chairman in the future but Ican’t think about what will happen down the line.
“For now, I just want to see how my first year at university goes.”
Sarah-Jane admitted to having thought of a parliamentary career and emulating her Tory heroes, Benjamin Disraeli, Winston Churchill and Baroness Thatcher.
But she added: “I just want to help people, make life better for everyone and make Britain great.”