TRIBUTES were paid to a former cabinet member who championed the rights of people with disabilities as hospital gardens were unveiled in her memory yesterday.

Dignitaries gathered at County Hospital in Griffithstown to open Cynthia’s Garden, which is named after the late Torfaen Cllr Cynthia Beynon MBE who died in September.

The former cabinet member for social care, health, well-being and equalities was a foster mum and worked in the voluntary sector to support people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

The gardens were opened at the Talygarn mental health unit of the hospital to provide green therapy to patients in 2008. Yesterday, schoolchildren planted bulbs in the gardens and a bench plaque was unveiled to remember Cllr Beynon.

Torfaen Mayor Cllr Mandy Owen said: Cynthia worked tirelessly for residents and good causes in her community and it is wonderful to open these gardens in the company of friends and groups that Cynthia held so dear.

“I hope the gardens dedicated to Cynthia’s memory will give people hours of pleasure throughout the year and for many years to come.”

Mental health carer Carol Wheeler spearheaded the garden project in 2008, which cost around £11,000.

Mrs Wheeler, 63, said: “She was a very formidable woman. We really wanted to show our appreciation of her.

“We worked closely to make sure the family got what they wanted.

“The family are still finding it very difficult to cope with Cynthia’s passing.

“Even through her illness she still soldiered on.

“She left such an enormous void in our lives because she was so courageous.”

Councillor Beynon served as the ward member for Croesyceiliog North and had previously been a councillor for the Panteg ward.

She was also a community councillor for Pontypool, a school governor at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw and Crownbridge Special School and was appointed to the Care Council for Wales in 2013.