A FATHER who has been elected as a new councillor on to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council will be representing part of the Rhondda alongside his son.
Councillor Wyn Hughes, Labour, who was elected in Trealaw ward at the local elections earlier this month is the father of Councillor Gareth Hughes, also Labour, who was re-elected to represent Tonypandy.
Labour won 58 seats to increase its majority on RCT Council at the election held on Thursday, May 5.
Gareth Hughes, who has been an RCT councillor since 2017, said it was “absolutely fantastic” to see his dad elected alongside himself.
He said he always gets really emotional on election day and votes Labour with great pride.
They both live in Trealaw and so Gareth said he was able to vote for his dad and for Labour.
“My dad has been my hero, my best mate since forever so to be elected with him to me was a very special night.
“My granddad was a long term supporter of Labour. He passed away actually prior to my first election but I think he would be elated that both of us are elected as Labour councillors in the Rhondda representing Trealaw and Tonypandy, communities where we’ve lived all of our lives, It was very special, I’d say.”
In terms of why Wyn decided to stand, Gareth said he’s closing in on retirement and he asked his dad why not think about it as he’s lived in the community all of his life and worked hard and anything he takes up he gives 100% to it.
Gareth said to him they can very much work as a team as they had at Rhondda Golf Club where they were once captain (Wyn) and vice captain (Gareth) so Gareth said that they could have a bigger positive impact on the local community.
“To be fair I think he did it with a certain level of trepidation and perhaps a bit of worry.
“He’s a long term Labour supporter and trade unionist but perhaps not hugely political in the sense that he hasn’t been as involved in the party as I’ve always been but certainly somebody that cares about his local community, has lived there all his life, his family lived there and he has got a strong work ethic and he’ll try his best for the community.”
Gareth said his dad joked recently that he’s now Hughes junior and Gareth is now Hughes senior.
He said that’s what’s unique about this situation as opposed to other father/son and mother/daughter councillors.
“What’s most unique about this is that I was elected first and I encouraged him to stand rather than necessarily the other way round.
“I think some of that is he’s seen perhaps the positive impact you can have on your community if you work hard.
“He’s been impressed at the way the leadership is run under the leadership of Andrew Morgan.”
Gareth said that whilst he needed some encouraging it wasn’t a difficult encouragement as he felt he wanted to be part of that team.
In terms of what they’ll be looking to work on together as councillors, Gareth said they’re both very keen to continue some of the investment and lobby for further investment in Tonypandy town centre and see what else can be done for the businesses of the town centre.
He said a priority is also “reporting and sorting” which involves regular walks or drives around Tonypandy to actively picks up issues before they’re reported including things like fly tipping and potholes.
He said: “I think if you can get those things addressed quickly I think it improves the overall appearance of the area, people feel that somebody cares about that area and overall it just increases the sense of pride that we have in the area that we live.”
Gareth also said it’s also key that they’re visible and accessible to people as councillors.
“There’s nothing worse than somebody getting elected and people not knowing how to access them, how to get hold of them and never seeing them.”
He also said parks are a priority and working with friends groups and the council to see if they can get some further investment for activities for young people like a pump track in Trealaw and safeguarding Mid Rhondda Field.
His dad Wyn Hughes said he was chuffed with how it’s worked out.
“I’ve seen all the good work that Gareth does in the community and all the good work that the councillors do in RCT and I thought I’d like to give a little bit back to them.”
He said that Gareth, who has been a councillor for five years, is well thought of adding that it’s an honour to work alongside him.
Talking about what convinced him to stand for election, Wyn said he’s not the most political man but he’s been a trade unionist, worked all his life and takes pride in his work ethic.
He said that at 63 he’s coming up to retirement and Gareth messaged him before the election to say the Trealaw councillor was standing down.
Gareth asked him if he’d be interested and Wyn said no at the time.
But Wyn said he’s well known in the local area and that people told him he’d have loads of support in Trealaw and that he’d do well.
Wyn said that a few of the elected councillors joked after they’d been elected about whether he would be the junior or the senior Councillor Hughes.
He said: “I just want to look out for the local residents. There are close family ties we’ve got here and within my area the issues are litter, fly tipping, dog fouling.”
“I’m hoping I’ll do a good job of sticking up for the residents of Trealaw. I’m proud that they’ve put their trust in me to serve them as their local councillor.”