A FORMER Swansea councillor, whose politics were shaped by a young hotel boss in London who went on to be deputy prime minister, has died.
Jean Taverner – then Jean Douglas – had reluctantly given up nursing when she began working at the New Court Hotel, which was owned by the future Tory MP and minister Michael Heseltine.
They were both from Swansea, and Mrs Taverner became what her daughter Sarah Cadogan called “quite a staunch Conservative” on account of the businessman-turned-politician.
Mrs Taverner represented Uplands from 1995 to 2003.
“She was a very feisty character,” said Mrs Cadogan. “But she got on exceptionally well with others – it didn’t matter what their politics were.
“She was highly respected.”
Mrs Taverner spent her earliest years in Carnglas Road, Tycoch, before she, her brother Bob and parents moved to Derwen Fawr. Her father served in both world wars.
Mrs Taverner attended Blackpill primary and St Winefride’s Convent schools before a passion for nursing took her to London’s Queen Alexandra Military Hospital.
Her daughter said she thoroughly enjoyed the work, but had to stop on medical grounds.
After a stint at the New Court Hotel, she married Christopher Taverner in 1957 at St Paul’s Church, Sketty – having hastily got christened and confirmed there in the days leading up to the wedding.
Mr Taverner was in the Royal Navy and had a posting to what was then Bombay, India, before a civilian stint in the US with his young family as a sales rep for Harp Lager and Guinness.
The family returned to Swansea in 1967, and Mrs Taverner – after a split with her husband – lived in Maple Crescent, Uplands, until her death aged 85.
She would chat to Lord Heseltine whenever he came back to Swansea and was mentioned in his autobiography, Life in the Jungle.
As well as various jobs and her councillor role, Mrs Taverner cared for her own mother and later her son, Simon, whose health had deteriorated following an accident. He died in 2017.
Mrs Taverner’s funeral takes place at St Paul’s Church, Sketty, on November 8 at 11am, followed by a service at Swansea Crematorium.
Mrs Cadogan, of Killay, said her mother was devoted to her family, including granddaughters Sophie-Jean and Katie-May.
She added: “She would do anything for anybody.”