A FORMER councillor who served on her local authority alongside her son has died.
Pauline Watts had been a town councillor and mayor of Caldicot. She was involved in its twining association with Wiesental, in southern Germany, before becoming a member of Monmouthshire County Council in 2012.
When she joined the unitary authority, as a Labour councillor for Caldicot, she served alongside her son Armand, who had already been a member of the council for eight years at that point.
Cllr Watts, who represents Bulwark and Thornwell in Chepstow, described his mother as “an old fashioned, dedicated public servant”.
“She was properly steeped in Caldicot and public service and tried to serve for the benefit of the community,” said Cllr Watts, who said his mother was from Rogiet Core.
She died in hospital last week and Cllr Watts and his partner had cared for her for the past six years as they supported her through her struggle with dementia. She was in her 80s.
“Tragically my dad died with vascular dementia a couple of years before mum was diagnosed,” he said. “It is a terrible disease and leaves me with greater determination to support others going through the same thing.”
Cllr Watts said his mum and dad, John, met while both worked on the railways at a dance in Cardiff and married in 1965.
John Watts also served as a Labour councillor on the former Monmouth Borough Council as well as being a mayor of Caldicot and after becoming politically engaged during a steelworkers strike, he took redundancy from the Llanwern plant, and worked as a housing officer in Pill, Newport.
“Both my parents were socialists, dad was probably more left wing, and mum was a Christian socialist and quite religious,” Cllr Watts said.
Pauline ran her own fashion boutique in Caldicot in the 1980s, was a member of St Mary’s Church and also worked at Chepstow Leisure Centre. She was mayor of Caldicot in 1990 shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was a significant period for the German twin town in the old West Germany.
Cllr Watts said he can recall a visit, as a schoolboy, at a time of heightened tensions in the capital of the then West Germany due to the activities of the far-left militant Baader–Meinhof Group.
“We had gone to Bonn when the Baader – Meinhof gang were active at the time, and we all got turfed off the bus but it was nothing more than the Caldicot Town Council group,” he said.
Cllr Watts said his mother was selected as Labour candidate for the county council elections in 2012, much to his surprise.
“No-one had told me anything about it and I wasn’t best pleased as it meant having to go the council with your mother.
“I was in the full council and having a go, probably at Peter Fox or Bob Greenland, and I had been going for probably five minutes, having a real good go at the Tories and I saw Ann Webb, or one of the Tory women mum was friendly with from the planning committee, giving my mum the nod and she said ‘right that’s enough now Armand, sit down’.
“No-one else could do that, not even the chair.”
Mrs Watts is survived by her two children and three grandchildren.