Tributes have been paid to Caerphilly County Borough Council leader Keith Reynolds, who has died aged 71.
Caerphilly County Borough Council confirmed that Cllr Reynolds died earlier today, Monday, April 10, after battling a terminal illness.
First Minister Carwyn Jones led the tributes and said Cllr Reynolds was a “dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly for the people of Aberbargoed”.
He said: “His passing will be felt deeply not just by his family and friends but by communities across Caerphilly where he made his impact as a councillor, local campaigner, and civic leader.”
Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, also paid his respects and said: “Despite coming from the opposite side of the political spectrum to him, I respected Keith and am really sad to hear he has passed away.
“I always found him polite and courteous to work with, and not long ago he was especially helpful with a constituency issue I was dealing with.
“To give almost 40 years’ service to his community of Aberbargoed is a truly outstanding achievement and I know he will be missed.
“My thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time.”
Deputy leader Cllr David Poole said: “Keith was an outstanding public servant, who had an unrelenting drive and determination to do his very best for his local community and for our county borough.
“He was a wonderful colleague and friend, and I know everyone will join me in offering our sincere condolences to Keith’s wife Sheila, his sons, grandsons, family and friends at this extremely sad and difficult time.”
Rhymney and Merthyr Tydfil MP Gerald Jones, who served alongside Cllr Reynolds as a councillor for 20 years, said it was a “sad, sad loss”.
He said: “I saw first-hand his dedication to residents in Aberbargoed and his commitment and strong leadership of Caerphilly County Borough Council since becoming leader in 2014. His sad passing will be felt by all who are involved in Welsh Politics.
“He will be sorely missed by all who have worked with him.”
Caerphilly’s Labour AM Hefin David said: “Keith spent his entire working life in public service. He was committed to his community and all the people he represented. He will be a great loss to civic life and was an example to any aspiring councillor.”
Islwyn AM Rhianon Passmore added: “I knew Keith for many years and worked alongside him during my time as a councillor and cabinet member. He was dedicated a Labour Party member with an unwavering commitment to serving the people of Caerphilly County Borough.
“Keith will be greatly missed and my thoughts are with his family.”
— Dawn Bowden AM (@Dawn_Bowden) April 10, 2017
Labour’s Caerphilly MP Wayne David described Cllr Reynolds as a good friend.
“We often ‘put the world to rights’ over a quiet pint,” he said. “I was always impressed with Keith’s political knowledge and common sense, as well as his unwavering commitment to the Labour Party and social justice.
“Caerphilly Borough Council, the Labour Party and the village of Aberbargoed will miss him greatly.”
As a young man beginning his career, Cllr Reynolds worked as a colliery blacksmith for more than 29 years – 16 of those spent in Bargoed and 13 in Penallta Colliery.
He then spent 18 years as a Community Health Council Chief Officer, firstly at Merthyr and Cynon Valley, and latterly, following a re-organisation at the newly created Cwm-Taf CHC, from where he took retirement in 2010.
Starting his political career in 1979, Cllr Reynolds spent 38 years working in local government, representing his community of Aberbargoed for almost four decades and as leader of the council since 2014.
In February this year he announced he would be standing down at May’s election because of ill health.
Interim Chief Executive, Chris Burns added: “On behalf of all staff at Caerphilly County Borough Council, I express our sadness and thoughts with Keith’s family at this time.”