Tributes have been paid to former Mayor of Caerphilly County Borough Council Angus Donaldson, who passed away on Sunday July 27.
The 87-year-old was described as ‘Mr Bedwas’ in one sympathy card received by his wife Barbara after his passing at the Royal Gwent Hospital.
The former longstanding Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen councillor debated with Kenneth Clarke MP at Oxford University and met the late Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, during his life.
Ms Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007, met Mr Donaldson after a debate on the Liberal Party, hosted by Oxford University Debating Society in 1975, and sent him a letter of thanks.
She wrote: “If you are typical of Wales, it must be a place of intense charm. Your hospitality and warmth touched be very much.”
Mrs Donaldson said she is glad he kept the letter to show to their grandchildren and paid tribute to her husband.
She said: “He had a tremendous amount of courage. He’d go forward where people were scared to tread.
“At heart he was a socialist – that’s what we had in common when we first met. I think perhaps I didn’t appreciate him enough, he was an incredible man.”
Cllr Keith Reynolds, Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, said: “Angus will be greatly missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.
“He was a colourful character who became synonymous with his trademark Deerstalker hat, but beneath the outward persona was a man truly dedicated to his community.
“Angus was fiercely independent of party politics and represented the Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen ward for many years. He was a former Mayor of Caerphilly County Borough Council in 2001/02 and also served on Mid Glamorgan County Council.
“His passing will be a major loss to the whole community and our thoughts and sympathies are with the family during this sad time.”
The Plaid Cymru group leader Colin Mann also offered tributes.
He said: “Angus was a unique and colourful character, who was often seen wearing his trademark deerstalker.
“Angus, a well known publican, was elected to a string of local authorities and was always someone who stood up for the communities he represented.
“One of his proudest moments was when the Plaid Cymru administration offered him the chairmanship of Caerphilly Council in 2001/02.”
Bedwas councillor Ray Davies, who was great friends with Mr Donaldson despite their political differences and will speak at his funeral, paid his respects.
He said: “The people the length and breadth of Gwent will know Angus Donaldson. He stood as an independent and liberal and never lost an election, defeating some of the top Labour councillors.
“He was very generous and never held political grudges. We had many political arguments but the one thing we had in common was support for the people of Bedwas.
“When it came to that we put our differences aside and worked for them.
“My sympathies go out to his wife, family and the people of Gwent.”
The funeral will take place at 10.30am on August 9 at St Thomas’ Church in Bedwas.
Mrs Donaldson said: “It will be an open funeral, I think a tremendous amount of people are coming. It’s nice as we live 200 yards away from where he is going to be buried.”