BLAENAVON’S oldest town councillor and former Mayor Phyllis Roberts has resigned.

Mrs Roberts, 96, said she is reluctantly standing down because of health issues, and having difficulty attending meetings.

She has been a prominent figure in politics in the local authority for more than half a century.

Mrs Roberts was named the second female chairman of the former Blaenavon Urban District Council in 1970, she went on to become a Gwent county councillor and was elected mayor of Torfaen in 1983, and after some time away from politics, she was re-elected to the town council in 2017, where she was named Mayor of Blaenavon – aged 93.

“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.

“The people of Blaenavon still recognise me as someone who has given a lot of time to the town. That makes me proud.

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(Phyllis Roberts in the 1970s when she was mayor of Blaenavon Urban District Council. Picture: Mark Lewis)

“I took a real enjoyment out of serving the town and the people of Blaenavon.

“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.”

Mrs Roberts said her highlights during her time in local government included the visit of the Queen and Blaenavon Industrial Landscape being inscribed as a World Heritage Site.

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 town 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.