Tory candidate Will Blair: ‘My dad’s death had a massive impact’

Will Blair. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Will Blair. Picture: Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

When his father committed suicide in 2008, Will Blair was forced to grow up quickly.

At the age of 24, he faced the responsibility of pulling his family through the tragedy.

“I was the one who arranged all the funeral, did all the work with the family and gave a eulogy at the funeral,” he said.

“I felt a great sense of responsibility to take on a more leading role in the family.”

The experience also opened Mr Blair’s eyes to the reality of mental illness.

“He had a lot of mental health problems and one thing led to another,” said Mr Blair. “It made me realise how important mental health treatments are.

“I’m pleased the coalition has worked to prioritise mental health and to try to tackle the stigma. I’m not afraid to say, I have had depression.”

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Prior to his father’s death, Mr Blair had led a seemingly charmed life growing up in rural Dorset.

The 30-year-old, who now lives in Kentish Town with his partner, also called Will, was an academic high-achiever who joined the Conservative Party aged 14. He eventually graduated with a history degree from Oxford University.

After leaving Oxford, he joined a Catholic parliamentary internship scheme which enabled him to spend a year in the office of a Tory MP before moving into his current role at a communications agency.

He credits his parents for his political calling.

“What drives me is what I inherited from my parents,” he said. “They were teachers and spent their careers in the public sector working with under-privileged people.”