A tribute to Cllr Alun Jenkins

How many Liberal Democrat councillors can match the achievement of Councillor Alun Jenkins of Wrexham this week of fifty years continuous service as a councillor in the same ward?

Alun had spent 5 years at University in Bangor and was active in the North Wales’ Liberal Federation. He came to Wrexham in 1967 to teach physics in my old grammar school, Grove Park. Soon after his arrival, he attended a meeting of the Liberal Party in Wrexham, to support Wilf McBriar, a local trade unionist who we remember with great affection for his utter sincerity and commitment.

Alun was given a warm welcome and as he tells it, it concluded with “We hope therefore that you will take up the position of Secretary and Organiser”. That is how he started his political life in Wrexham.

Alun married Sue in August 1969, and soon after, acted as Agent for Wilf in the General Election on 18th June 1970. He inspired a small group of helpers to work their socks off in a seat not fought for over a decade and brought in just over 5000 votes. His first son Huw was born in December 1973 and within three months, he was my agent in the next General Election in February 1974 when thanks to his tireless ability, we raised the vote from 5067 votes to 14297. That Parliament did not last long, and in the second General Election in October 1974, he again acted as my Agent. Our share of the vote dropped 2% with the big swing to Labour at that time, but we overtook the Tories. Tom Ellis who won for Labour, was a founder member of the SDP.

Alun is a hugely effective local politician. In 1970, just as we were getting over the General Election, one of Wrexham’s Councillors was elevated to Alderman, creating a vacancy in the Offa Ward. The resulting by-election was held on July 16th. Alun won and there started his 50 years as Councillor, continuously representing the Offa ward, initially on Wrexham Borough Council until it was subsumed into Wrexham Maelor Council.

When In 1996 Local Government was reorganised and Wrexham County Borough Council became a Unitary (all purpose) Authority, Alun was again elected first to the Shadow Authority, and then to the new Authority from 1996 and has served continuously since then. He became Deputy Leader of the Council during the early 2000s in co-operation with the Labour Group when they lost their Council majority. Three years later, Labour lost control, and Aled Roberts became the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Council with Alun Jenkins as Lead Member for Finance, a position he held until 2012. It is an amazing record of service to our party and to theWrexham community.

Alun has recently written to Wrexham Lib Dem members:

I am very grateful to the people of Offa Ward who put their trust and confidence in me back in 1970, and gave me their support and the votes that gave me such a tremendous opportunity. Many of those original supporters, as well as all those that moved into the Ward since then, have continued to give me their help and support in the many elections since, and continue to act as my eyes and ears as to what is happening in the area, and I could not continue successfully without such a partnership. It has been a great privilege to have been able to represent the Ward continuously for all these years.

Alun who is in good health, promises to continue to be a fully participating member of the County Borough Council. I can only express my personal thanks for all that he did for me so many elections ago and recall happy memories of the buzz in his home office with Sue working at his side for the people of Offa ward.

* Martin Thomas is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and the party's Shadow Attorney General

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This entry was posted in Wales.

One Comment

  • Pete Roberts 13th Jul '20 - 4:57pm

    Not quite matching it but there are three who are close and all of them made it to the Llandrindod office during one weekend at last years by election. Gareth Morgan (Llanidloes), Neville Phillips (Buckley) and Fran Oborski (Kidderminster) have also served continuously on a local authority since before the 1974 local government reorganisation.

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