April 2020

The Town Council are extremely sad to announce the resignation of our greatly respected and long serving colleague Cllr Phyllis Roberts.

Cllr Roberts BEM, who earlier this month celebrated her 96th birthday at the Arthur Jenkins Care Home, is reluctantly standing down because of health issues. Phyllis is unarguably the most prominent female politician Blaenavon has ever had.  Only the second female Chair of the former Blaenavon Urban District Council in 1970, she went on to become a Gwent County Councillor and was elected both Mayor of Torfaen in 1983 and Blaenavon in 2017.

“I very much regret that I have to resign, but my decision is based on health grounds and the difficulty I have in attending meetings,” she said. “I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the residents of Blaenavon, who had the faith to elect me in 2017.  During my first year in office, I took immense pride in being elected Mayor and great pleasure in being able to fulfil the duties of that role across the 12 months.

“I’m so proud to see how the Town Council has grown and developed during the past three years and the way in which we’ve been able to support our community.  The Intergenerational project is a great example of this.

“I would also like to thank all my fellow councillors and the Clerk for the support I’ve had during my time in office – it’s been a real pleasure to serve with you all. “I wish whoever succeeds me all the very best in their role as a councillor.  It is an absolute privilege to serve our wonderful residents, and I’m sure the Council will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Along with running her own newsagent’s shop in Broad Street for more than 25 years, Phyllis’s many other roles have included serving as Chair of Governors at the former Park Street Secondary School for almost 50 years, and being a magistrate for 30 years.

Since retiring from the shop and stepping down from politics, she has given much of her time and energy to the elderly community of Blaenavon as one of the founders of Age Concern Torfaen and Chair of Blaenavon Over 50s Forum.  She is also Vice-President of Blaenavon Male Voice Choir and President of the Ladies’ Choir.

In 2015, Phyllis was presented with the British Empire Medal by Lord Lieutenant of Gwent Simon Boyle for services to the community in Blaenavon. Current Mayor Cllr Jac Denley-Jones said: “As we all know, Phyllis is hugely respected, not just in Blaenavon but across the county borough of Torfaen and further afield, having served in so many capacities for the best part of 50 years.

“She has always demonstrated her pride and love for her local community and been a formidable campaigner and champion for Blaenavon and our residents. “We will hugely miss her contribution to the Town Council, but know that she will go on inspecting what we are doing and continuing to give her feedback!”

Due to the current situation, the Council will have to wait to hear from the Elections Officer at Torfaen County Borough Council about the next steps in filling the Council vacancy.