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Funeral of tenacious and well-respected former Lord Mayor of Swansea

Former councillor and Lord Mayor of Swansea, Margaret Smith, with her son Will, grandson Oliver Smith and great-granddaughter Naomi Power (Pic: Supplied by her family)

TRIBUTES have been paid to a tenacious and well-respected former councillor and Lord Mayor of Swansea, whose mantra was “people before politics”.

Margaret Smith represented Pennard, in Gower, from 1976 to 2012, and also had a stint as a Pennard community councillor. She died at home on October 27, aged 92.

The eldest of three children, the young Margaret grew up in Southgate, Gower, on the farm owned by her father Glyn Brown. Her uncle was the local postmaster.

After attending school she trained as a fever nurse and worked at Swansea’s former Hill House Hospital, Cockett, before marrying businessman Bill Smith. The couple had two children – Jane and younger brother Will – and lived in Barry, where Mr Smith ran a newsagent’s and butcher’s shop, before returning to live in Southgate.

Mrs Smith went on to devote a lot of time to her role as a councillor for the former Swansea City Council and then City and County of Swansea, which included a year as Lord Mayor of Swansea in 2004-05. She was also a school governor and, in later years, an honorary alderwoman. Her funeral took place at Llanelli Crematorium on November 14.

Her son Will recalled his mother always serving as an Independent, although her choice of photos of Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill on her coffin perhaps indicated where her political affiliations lay.

“Her mantra was people before politics,” said Will, 57, of Southgate. “She was tenacious, determined – a very strong character. She was very hard-working. She didn’t stop. She was like a dynamo.” An argument would only finish, he said, “when you realised you were wrong”.

He added: “She was extremely well-known in the area, and well-respected. She never lost an election so she must have been doing something right.”

Will said his mother set up an old people’s club, was a keen gardener and a caring grandmother. She had six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Cllr Wendy Fitzgerald, who attended Mrs Smith’s funeral, described her as small in stature but large in confidence. “She was never someone to sit in the background and keep her mouth shut,” said Cllr Fitzgerald. “She was always doing things, always active and vigorous.”

Cllr Mary Jones, who also attended the funeral, described Mrs Smith as feisty and a person who always made her feelings known. She added: “She loved animals.”

Cllr Richard Lewis, whose Gower ward borders Pennard, said he always got on with Mrs Smith. “She was a very good councillor – she served her area brilliantly,” he said.