TRIBUTES have been paid to two proud and colourful former Swansea councillors.
Byron Owen served the city for 36 years, was Lord Mayor of Swansea in 1991-92, and played a significant role in the development of the Liberty Stadium and Wales National Pool, Sketty.
John Hague was a councillor for 16 years, rising to deputy leader, and was instrumental in the redevelopment of the city’s Quadrant bus station.
The former cabinet members died within days of each other.
Labour’s Mr Owen served the Mynyddbach and Penderry wards and also ran newsagent BG & A Owen – known as Byron’s – in Parc Gwernfadog.
Customers would not be surprised to see Mr Owen playing a guitar when they walked in.
His daughter Shelley Hopkins said modestly: “He could play a tune.”
Mr Owen grew up in Landore, lived in Morriston, and had two daughters and a son with his wife, Anne.
He was also a grandfather-of-six, magistrate, honorary alderman and was appointed MBE for services to the community in 2004.
“He loved Swansea,” said Mrs Hopkins, of Pontarddulais. “We were proud of how committed he was.” She said he was especially determined to see the Liberty Stadium, which replaced the Vetch Field, come to fruition. “He bust a gut to make sure it happened,” she said. He died on September 1, aged 77.
Mr Hague represented Bonymaen as an Independent and was deputy leader from 2004 to 2008.
Away from civic life he was a former chairman of Bonymaen RFC and also served as president of the Welsh Indoor Bowls Association among other leading bowls organisations.
Current Bonymaen councillor Paul Lloyd said Mr Hague was “always helpful and generous”.
Former Liberal Democrat council leader Chris Holley described him as “a unique personality and a very forceful character”. He added: “John was someone you could rely on and I will be eternally grateful for the help he gave me as deputy leader.”
Swansea Council’s current leader, Rob Stewart, said he was very saddened to hear of their deaths and said his thoughts were with their families. “Both played a huge part in shaping Swansea with their respective roles as cabinet members,” said Cllr Stewart. “They also worked tirelessly, serving their own communities, making sure the people in their wards were well represented and had a voice.”
Mr Owen’s funeral takes place at Morriston Crematorium on September 18 at 3pm while Mr Hague’s is the following day at the same venue at 12.30pm.