MEMBERS of Neath Port Talbot Council have paid tribute to long time councillor Sheila Penry who died over the Christmas period.
Cllr Penry, who was seen by many as the “mother of the council” and represented Welsh Labour on the authority’s Neath East ward, died on December 27, 2023.
In her time as a councillor she had also served the Penrhiwtyn ward of Neath Town Council, as well being a former mayor for both the county borough and Neath Town Council.
Speaking earlier this week, council leader Steve Hunt said that while he was saddened by the news, Cllr Penry’s efforts to make a positive impact would always be remembered.
He said: “I am deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of our esteemed councillor, Sheila Penry. Sheila was not only a dedicated public servant but also a dear friend to many of us. Her unwavering commitment to our communities, but especially her own ward in the Melin, Neath East, and her tireless efforts to make a positive impact will always be remembered.
“We have lost a true champion for progress and a compassionate voice for those in need. Let us honour her memory by continuing the important work she started and by supporting one another during this difficult time.”
The leader of the council’s Labour Group, Cllr Rob Jones, added: “It is with deep sadness that the Labour Group mourns the loss of our friend and colleague Shelia Penry. Sheila served her community with pride and with an unrivalled work ethic for many years. She was the face of the Neath East ward where she served as the local councillor and the lead organiser of the local carnival in the area for many years.
“Sheila Penry was one of the longest serving members of Neath Port Talbot Council who was seen by many as the mother of the council, always ready to help and give advice to newer members from across party boundaries.
“A former Mayor of both the County Borough and Neath Town Council, a previous chair of the Regeneration Scrutiny Committee for many years, she performed her duties with compassion and dedication. She will be greatly missed by her colleagues, members of the council and the wider community she served for so many years. Our condolences go out to her family and friends at this sad time.”