A former Cardiff and South Glamorgan councillor described as “one in a generation” has passed away aged 87.
Vita Jones spent nearly 30 years serving the people of Rumney, Pentwyn and Llanedeyrn during her political career.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Bill Kelloway first got to know Coun Jones in 1984 and remembers her fondly.
He said: “Vita Jones was one of those councillors who come along once in a generation. Although she sat as a councillor for several different parties in her time (Labour, Liberal, SDP and Labour again), she was someone who always put the needs of her residents ahead of party political considerations. She was not really a party-political animal at all and she was certainly not afraid to fall out with her own party if she felt that the interests of her residents were not being best served.
“Vita was a loyal ward councillor who always fought passionately for her constituents and this was reflected in the esteem and affection in which she was held by those she represented. It was also reflected in the ballot box and she invariably topped the poll.”
Mrs Jones’ career saw her start with Labour, move to the Liberal Democrats, then the SDP before returning to Labour. She was first elected to the South Glamorgan County Council in January 1975 to represent Rumney Division.
Former council leader Russell Goodway said: “She was a formidable lady. I can remember her before I was elected. She was definitely one of those women who didn’t need an all-women shortlist to get elected, and she would have baulked at the idea of that.
“She was bigger than the party she represented, I remember as leader she was forever taking me around the ward to show me this and that and demand I do something about it. Pentwyn was always on her lips. She was a fantastic community representative.”
In May 1985 Mrs Jones was re-elected to represent Llanedeyrn Division and held the seat until 1995. After 1995 she represented the Pentwyn ward until her retirement in 2004.
Jim Regan served with her as a councillor in Pentwyn for 10 years from 1994 and said it was always local people who were on her mind.
He said: “In my opinion she was the best ward councillor people in this area have ever had. When people came to her for help they would always get it.
“She was a big believer in schools and was always trying to get them more funding. People always knew they could go to Vita. She was absolutely fantastic.”
Deputy Leader Neil McEvoy said: “I remember getting on the Council as a rookie in 1999. Vita was formidable and fiery, but was always kind to me. When I left Labour in 2003, Vita stood out as one of the few who was always friendly and nice. She was her own person who saw beyond the petty party stuff and I respected her a lot. It is sad that she has passed on and I will remember her in my prayers, many others will also.”
In politics she held number of roles in both authorities including Deputy Chair of the Property Services Committee and from 1999 to 2004 as the Deputy Presiding Officer. She was Deputy Mayor of Cardiff in 2004.
Away from politics, Mrs Jones was a devout Catholic and was made a Dame of the Order of St Sylvester, 0ne of the highest honours in the Catholic Church, for her community work.
She leaves behind a husband Bernard Jones.
Did you know Vita? Was she your ward councillor? Leave your tributes in the comments below