It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of former Councillor and Mayor of Torfaen, Mrs Sarah Richards MBE. who  passed away peacefully at her home following a long illness. Councillor Richard Clark was Sarah's ward colleague  2004 to 2012. was saddened by the news of her death Richard remembered. "We were very fortunate to be elected in the 2004 and 2008 elections unopposed. I feel this was more out of respect for Councillor Richards than the good luck charm she called me.  I could not have wanted a better ward colleague she was very kind to me as a new Councillor and showed me the ropes and how to deal with issues in the ward.  As time progressed she encouraged me to develop and seek various roles with the party and the Council.  Even in retirement Sarah would provide wise counsel and advice you would be foolish to ignore.  I have lost a true friend and will miss her greatly. My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this very sad time."



Sarah's professional career was in accountancy and insurance, first with a firm of Chartered Accountants and thereafter, for 24 years until retirement, as office manager for a firm of insurance brokers in Newport.  Following her retirement, she was elected in 1976 to serve as a Member of Torfaen Borough Council and later Torfaen County Borough Council for the ward of Croesyceiliog North serving as Mayor for the municipal year 1990-1991

Sarah retired from the Council at the 2012 Council elections before those elections she distributed a farewell message the text of which is reproduced below as a tribute for such a local campaigner.

I served for some years on Parish and Community councils before being asked to stand for election to the former Torfaen Borough Council in 1976 Local Government Elections. I was successful and I have served continuously since as the member for the Ward of Croesyceiliog North. Soon after, a colleague and I set up a refuge, which continues today, for women suffering from domestic violence. In the late 1970’s following the introduction in the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977 a colleague and I set up a homeless refuge in Bristol House, Pontnewynydd.

I was appointed to Cwmbran Development Corporation in 1979 as one of the representatives of Torfaen Borough Council and the only woman to serve 11 consecutive years. I was Chair of the Council’s Housing Committee and took part in the transfer of housing stock from the Development Corporation to Torfaen. When the Corporation was wound up in March 1988 I was involved in the transfer of Community Related Assets which included Greenmeadow Community Farm. I have watched as the Farm has developed and prospered as a major attraction in Gwent and further a field.  In 1976 I was appointed to the East Wales Valuation Tribunal and went on to become Chair and President, the only woman throughout history to do so. I am particularly proud to have been involved in setting up, some 12 years ago, Torfaen Care and Repair. Until then Torfaen was the only County Borough in Wales not to have a care and repair service and I am pleased that the scheme has been highly successful and represents a real resource to older people.

I served as the Mayor of Torfaen for the municipal year 1990-1991 though nothing has given me greater pleasure than to have represented the constituents of the Croesyceiliog North Ward.


It was with great sadness we announce death of Councillor Cynthia Beynon MBE. who  passed away  following a long illness.

Councillor Cynthia Beynon, who represented the Croesyceillog North ward sadly died in October, after a long illness. Cynthia served as Panteg ward councillor from 2008-2012, before being elected to represent Croesyceiliog North in 2012. She had served on the council’s cabinet with responsibility for social care, health, well-being and equalities. Earlier this year she was appointed to the Care Council for Wales. Prior to becoming a county borough councillor, Cynthia served as a Pontypool Community Councillor for six years, where she was chair in 2006-2007. Cynthia also served as a school governor at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw and Crownbridge Special School and was awarded the MBE for her work in the community.

 

OUR MANIFESTO:

Our offer to voters: Manifesto for the Torfaen County Borough Council Election on 3 March 2012 issued by Torfaen Constituency Labour Party

YOUR LOCAL LABOUR TEAM: YOUR LOCAL VOICE IN TOUGH TIMES

Torfaen needs local Councillors who will stand up against the Tory-led Westminster Government. Labour believes in the importance of communities. Working with the Labour Welsh Government, local Labour Councillors will be your first line of defence against the damage being done to our communities by the Conservatives and their Liberal Democrat allies.

Labour’s pledges to the people of Torfaen:

1. Standing up for our older people: We will re-appoint an Older Person’s Champion, to speak up in the Council for the needs of our older citizens.

We wholeheartedly support our older people, who have worked throughout their lives and deserve support and dignity in retirement. We will back our older people and work to protect the services they rely on. We will re-appoint an Older Person’s Champion, whose specific job is to speak up in the Council for the needs of our senior citizens.

2. Standing up for our young people: we will invest over £40m to deliver schools fit for the 21st century

We pledge to continue to monitor, support and challenge our schools to raise attainment standards and to provide the best possible education for our young people. The quality of our primary schools has improved markedly over the past four years. We have also built new primary schools: Padre Pio, Nant Celyn, Blaenavon and Crownbridge at Croesyceiliog, as well as refurbishing several other schools.

As a priority, we pledge to work with our secondary schools to raise attainment at ages 14 to 18, to improve life chances for our young people and to achieve a major decrease in the number of our young people leaving school with no qualifications, employment or training opportunities. We will support proposals to improve post-16 education across the borough.

We pledge to work to deliver the 21st Century Schools Capital Programme and support plans to invest, along with the Welsh Government, £81.6million in transforming our schools between now and 2019.

We support the Labour Welsh Government’s decision to reject the prospect of £9,000 tuition fees in Wales, and will work to help all our young people in having the best possible start in life. We will also continue to fully support the work of Torfaen’s Youth Service.

3. Standing up for local jobs: We will publish a strategy for local jobs to encourage business creation in these tough times.

The current unemployment figures are unacceptable, and particularly tough on our young people, with over 1 million under-30s out of work. Unlike the Conservative-Lib Dem UK Government, we are not happy to sit by and let this happen. We will draw up a strategy for local jobs to ensure that the Council does everything in its power to encourage business creation, by playing its part in attracting and retaining employers in the area and by supporting local businesses.

4. Standing up for the vulnerable: We will continue to support the most vulnerable groups in our communities

Along with the elderly and our young people, the vulnerable people in our communities are suffering the most from the savage cuts of this Conservative/LibDem Government. We will stand up for our vulnerable people and the services they rely on. We are committed to continuing to provide care for those in most need and will work to enhance the quality of life of all local residents.

5. Standing up for safer communities: We will appoint a dedicated police liaison team to help the police and local communities tackle crime and anti-social behaviour

We will work with local police and communities to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. We back Welsh Labour’s pledge to deliver 500 extra Community Support Officers and will work to ensure that the successes of community policing are not set back by the 20% cuts to police budgets imposed by the Conservative-Lib Dem UK Government. We will continue to ensure that the views of communities are put to the local police, by appointing a dedicated police liaison team, in which the relevant Executive Member, together with Councillors from the north, middle and south of the Borough, can give their views regularly to local police. We also pledge to work with the new Gwent police commissioner once elected in November 2012.

6. Standing up for our local environment: We will continue to invest in cleaner and greener streets, parks and public spaces

Labour believes in sustainability. We will work to regenerate our communities and improve the condition of our streets, parks and open spaces – so that they can be enjoyed by all residents. We will also continue to do everything we can to help local residents increase the amount of waste recycled.

7. Spending wisely in tough times: We will work to keep Council Tax bills as low as possible, whilst maintainng frontline services

We recognise that money is tight for local families at the moment, so we will work to keep Council Tax bills as low as possible, whilst maintaining vital local services - despite the impact upon Councils of cuts in funding for Wales from the Conservative/LibDem Government.

We recognise how many people rely on the services that the Council supplies. We are proud to have avoided the redundancies of staff made by other Councils in the last year. We will only support sensible savings in the Council’s budget, and will not take the Tory slash and burn approach to frontline public services.

8. Standing up for you: We will hold regular local surgeries

We will be there when you need us. All elected Labour Councillors will hold regular surgeries, giving you the chance to put your concerns directly to them. Labour Councillors will be easily accessible, there to listen to you – not just at election times, but all year round.

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