Posted: Thu 28th Jan 2021

Flintshire Councillors pay heartfelt tributes to popular councillor Kevin Hughes

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jan 28th, 2021

Councillors have paid heartfelt tributes to a popular colleague who died earlier this month with Covid-19.

An emotional meeting of Flintshire Council was held on Tuesday, where warm memories were shared of Gwernymynydd representative Kevin Hughes.

The 63-year-old died at Wrexham Maelor Hospital on January 8, where he was admitted after testing positive for the virus in December.

Villagers in in Gwernymynydd lined the streets in their hundreds at the end of last week to say a final farewell to the former police officer and journalist.

Residents applauded as the hearse carrying Cllr Hughes went by with one of his sons, Andy, walking at the head of the cortege on its way to the funeral service.

Councillors from across the political divide remembered him as a well-respected and dedicated colleague.

Council leader Ian Roberts said: “It’s a shame we have to give these tributes today for a very special person, a friend to many of us, who will be sadly missed by us all.

“His contribution as a councillor in a short time has been considerable and he was highly respected by his community, members of the council and officers.

“He was an active local member and represented his community with integrity, and in a positive and engaging way.

“It was my privilege to be invited to the service to celebrate Kevin’s life, which took place on Friday at the crematorium.”

Cllr Hughes’s death came less than three weeks after he delivered a plea from his hospital bed for people to observe social distancing rules during the Christmas period.

His mother, June Margaret Hughes, 89, also lost her life to the virus on November 25 at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

He was forced to watch his mum’s funeral via a live stream from his bed in the critical care unit at the Maelor.

Cllr Hughes joined the council in 2017 and was said to have made a big impact during that time.

Flintshire cabinet member Chris Bithell said: “We all thought he’d turned the corner with his illness and that he was recovering after giving advice from his hospital bed, both in the interview on TV and in the press.

“He was making us very much aware of the dangers of this disease, and to take it very seriously and to observe the rules and regulations to try to stop its spread.

“Typically, as ill as he was, he was thinking about others. Unfortunately, as we all know now, the disease returned with a vengeance and sadly took him.

“He was still a relatively new county councillor, serving only three and a half years of his term, but nevertheless he had already made a difference here, made his mark as a councillor, and was very popular across the chamber.”

Liberal Democrat leader Chris Dolphin, whose group Cllr Hughes sat with during meetings, said: “Before this awful, shattering pandemic began, our group would meet in our small room.

“Kevin and I were always very early and we would have a chat, something he liked to do.

“But those chats stopped last March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, so the phone replaced our little room.

“My final memory of Kevin, who was so proud to be the county councillors for Gwernymynydd, was hundreds of people on doorsteps and lining the streets, applauding and clapping as he and his family passed by on the last journey.

“Respect is easy to say and hard to earn. Kevin was and is respected.”

Cllr Hughes is survived by his wife, Sally, to whom he was married for 43 years,  sons Chris, Steve and Andy, and seven grandchildren.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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