A FORMER fish merchant and inventor is helping launch Bolton’s first dedicated branch of UKIP.

Geoff Kay, from Deane, is secretary and treasurer of the new branch, which is due to be officially launched this month.

Mr Kay had formerly campaigned for the Conservatives and in 2010 helped with the party’s drive to win Bolton West, a campaign which was ultimately unsuccessful.

Labour’s Julie Hilling won by 92 votes, defeating Tory candidate Susan Williams, who ironically later told The Bolton News that she believed the loss was partly due to losing 1,901 votes to UKIP.

But it was on that campaign trail that Mr Kay’s interest in politics was fired.

He said: “This is the key marginal seat of the country and I met some interesting people from Parliament, and my interest in politics was thus inspired.

“I found that I was more politically aligned with UKIP, but we did not have a Bolton group at that time.

“I started to attend UKIP meetings in Leyland earlier this year, and I was considering standing for a seat in South Ribble.”

Mr Kay said he started meeting with a few likeminded people at the Sweet Green Tavern in Crook Street, where the foundation stones for the new branch were laid.

He said: “I heard that there were a few UKIP supporters meeting in the Sweet Green Tavern once a month, so I went along and was duly nominated secretary and treasurer.

“I recently completed the formalities necessary to set up a branch and we expect an inauguration date soon.”