Yesterday Councillor Ron Jones was judging the floats in the Pillgwenlly Carnival. In the early hours of today he died.
He gave 50 years of service as a councillor for Bettws and Pillgwenlly. That proved his love for the city of Newport and especially the people of Pillgwenlly.
I first met him when I was elected to the Newport Council in
1972. He was already an established councillor–half establishment half enfant
terrible. I always found him to be good natured, idealistic, practical and a
loyal and dedicated comrade.
Proof of his success was that he was elected almost continuously for about 50 years. Many of those elections were hard fought with a succession of quality opponents and shifting political fashions. I believe he was absent from the council for a brief period only in the sixties when Labour were rejected in our heartlands wards because of the decision to build a clocktower on the Civic Centre.
Always a snappy dresser, in recent years he took to wearing dark glasses. In spite of my pleas that they made him look like a Mafia Godfather, he insisted on keeping them on for the photograph below. It was an image he probably liked.
He acquired an enviable expertise in the areas of leisure and sport. He was a canny committee chairman, a powerful advocate for his constituents and a generous friend and adviser to new members. He was especially proud of Pillgwenlly School as a governor since it was created from an amalagantion of three other schools. It is a remakable mult-racial school and a model of harmony that grows from mutual respect and tolerance. Few achievemnts of councillors are tangible. The continuing success of Pillgwenlly is a tribute to many years of devoted care and leadership by Ron.
He remained perpetually youthful in all the years I have known him. His energy, curiosity and enthusiasm were not dulled by his 78 years. His knowledge and expertise are genuinely irreplaceable.
Sincere condolences to Pamela and family.