Assembly Members have paid tribute to Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant who died a week ago today.
Members of Carl Sargeant’s family including his wife Bernie were at the Senedd to hear tributes from AM’s.
Presiding officer Elin Jones said Mr Sargeant’s death had “shaken us to our core and his absence from our midst pains us today.”
First minister Carwyn Jones led the tributes he said: “I rise this afternoon to remember Carl, as a politician, as a colleague, and as a friend. I want first to express my deep sympathies to Bernie and the family. For them, it’s been a time of unbearable loss and deep trauma.”
The first minister who met Mr Sargeant the first time in Connah’s Quay Labour Club in 2001, said; “In all the years I knew him, we never had a crossword.
We spent a lot of time talking together about the challenges of being a dad and the pressures of politics, sometimes gossiping about Cabinet colleagues. And he was always full of advice.”
Carl was a great one for karaoke said Mr Jones; “The Labour group bash at Christmas always had him as the DJ and the karaoke king, and he was good at it, putting many of us to shame at his fortieth birthday party.”
“He loved to remind us, when he said, ‘You south Walians can’t sing’, and in my case that was utterly true. It is difficult to imagine what it’ll be like this year without him, and in subsequent years.”
He was also, as Members will remember, the best heckler in the Chamber—never nasty, always witty
Yes, that was the man that we called ‘Sarge’. Well-liked and committed, jovial but determined, firm but fun, and he will be missed by his family, by those in this Chamber, and by the nation.”
Watch in full as Carwyn Jones pays tribute to Carl Sargeant
Leader of the opposition Andrew RT Davies said Carl held his ministerial positions in government with “huge pride and passion” and said; “He was a character, but he was a serious individual, who knew what his role was in this institution.
And that role was to speak for the people of Alyn and Deeside and to speak for the people the length and breadth of Wales who didn’t have a voice.”
“We have lost a colleague, we have lost a friend, but Bernie, Lucy and Carl’s son have lost a father and a husband, and that pain and that distress must be burning fiercely at the moment.”
His legacy will last for many years and many decades”. Said Mr Davies.
Watch in full as Andrew RT Davies AM pays tribute to Carl Sargeant
Carl was an amazing politician said Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths, “Carl lived in the heart of his community in Connah’s Quay.
He never forgot his roots, and he was proud of his working-class background. On the day he entered Cabinet, and I Government, we shared the journey home excited about the future, and what we felt we could achieve for the people of Wales.”
Ms Griffiths recalled a new hobby the Deeside AM had taken up: “A few years ago, he took up a new hobby and decided to teach himself to crochet.
He would sit on the train home with a self-teaching YouTube video, a crochet hook and some wool.
It was not without its frustrations; several times, everything ended up on the floor. But, like everything he took up, he soon mastered it and he made some beautiful items. You could see the bemused looks of fellow passengers watching this big, burly guy crocheting a tiny, pink baby bonnet.”
Watch in full as Ken Skates AM pays tribute to Carl Sargeant
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said Carl loved music; “He liked to listen to music and he liked to dance to music—to songs like ‘I Love to Love’, ‘Voulez-vouz‘ and many, many others.”
Mr Skates said Mr Sargenat had a unique way of speaking with his constituents on the doorstep. “He must have met tens of thousands of people during his first election, knocking on so many doors across Alyn and Deeside.
He would complete each conversation with the constituents with a slightly abrupt and, given his frame, a slightly menacing, ‘Hey’, and then he’d follow it up with a meltingly warm, ‘You take care’.”
“Finally Carl”, said Mr Skates, “I would say this to you: there is only one more door you must knock on, but, on behalf of all of those people whose doors were opened, and whose hearts were opened to you—Carl, you take care.”