AN INDEPENDENT councillor from Blackwood has been recognised by his peers for going “above and beyond” in his public service.
Kevin Etheridge was named the 2023 recipient of the Clarence Barrett Award at a ceremony on Friday (November 24), recognising success and dedication in local government.
He was presented with the award by Marianne Overton, the leader of the Local Government Association’s independent group, which represents councillors in Wales and England who are non-aligned or belong to a smaller party.
Following the ceremony at the group’s annual conference, Cllr Etheridge said his work was about fighting “injustices” and “always putting people first”.
The Blackwood representative said he was “not afraid to challenge the council” with his questions, motions and petitions – but believed in being “constructive” when doing so.
The Clarence Barrett Award was presented to him for “services to local government and bowel cancer awareness”, said Cllr Etheridge, who announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer.
Cllr Etheridge described himself as a “true campaigner” but said he “never achieved his aim of becoming an MP or Senedd member”.
He counts among his numerous campaigns his prominent role in the efforts to save jobs at the Patent Office in Newport, as well as his electoral record – his self-run campaigns for the Senedd and Parliament earned him second-placed finishes, and at the last council elections in 2022 he retained his seat comfortably, securing 1,877 votes.