Well respected former MP and councillor dies

Former MP and long serving Staffordshire County councillor Gwilym Roberts has died, aged 89.

Gwilym Roberts unveiling a bust of NHS founder Aneurin Bevan at Cannock Chase Hospital
Gwilym Roberts unveiling a bust of NHS founder Aneurin Bevan at Cannock Chase Hospital

Mr Roberts served as the Labour MP for Cannock between 1974 and 1983, having previously been the MP for South Bedfordshire from 1966 to 1970.

He was the leader of Cannock Chase District Council, and represented Brereton and Ravenhill on Staffordshire County Council from 1985 to 1993, and then again between 2001 and 2009.

Philip Atkins, the leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “Gwilym was a well-respected figure in the council chamber, who brought a great deal of knowledge and insight from his own Welsh upbringing to bear on the issues facing the authority.

“He devoted his life to public service and while strongly representing the people in his division, he worked for the betterment of everyone in the county.”

Councillor Sue Woodward, the opposition Labour group leader on Staffordshire County Council, said: "Gwilym was a real battler for this area.

"He was always a conscientious MP and councillor who showed great dedication in representing local people.

"These days it is hard to come by public servants of his pedigree. It is a sad loss, but he had a good innings and led a very fruitful and fulfilled life."

Cannock Chase councillor Derek Davis, who served alongside Mr Roberts on the council for 20 years, said: "He had some wonderful attributes and was an excellent constituency MP.

"When he was elected he was like a breath of fresh air. A lot of us thought the world of him. I always remember that although he spent so much time in Staffordshire, he never got rid of his strong Welsh accent.

"He will be greatly missed."

Councillor Frank Allen, who represents Cannock North on Cannock Chase District Council, said: "It is fair to say that he was the best constituency MP that I have ever known.

"He really took to the role and I can remember seeing him on the Jubilee estate on a Saturday night visiting constituents to help them with their problems.

"He was on the ball and really knew what was going on. Gwilym was a first rate bloke who I can't praise highly enough."

Mr Roberts grew up in Wales and was a lecturer in scientific management techniques before entering politics when he was elected as a councillor in Luton in 1965.

He was the MP for Cannock for nine years, having taken the seat from the Tories in 1974.

After his time on the council he remained in the area, living in Rugeley.

Mr Roberts died on March 15, 2018. He was predeceased by his wife, Mair.

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