Tributes have been paid following the death of Pembrokeshire county councillor and national park member Reg Owens, who had “a passion for ensuring equal opportunities for all and supporting those who needed a voice”.

At the opening of a recent Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet meeting, Council Leader David Simpson said: “It is with great sadness I have to announce the death of Cllr Reg Owens.

“Reg has been in poor health for several years and has been a fighter to the end.”

Cllr Owens, who represented St Ishmaels as an Independent Group member, had served as a county councillor since 2012, and had also served on Herbrandston Community Council, as chair on numerous occasions.

He was also a member of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for more than a decade, and was chair of its planning committee for five years.

Cllr Owens had formerly been an education officer at Pembrokeshire County Council, working for the local authority for 45 years, having joined as a 17-year-old, and wheelchair user Reg became a champion for equalities.

Calling for a minute’s silence at the start of the meeting, Cllr Simpson said: “Reg was well respected by all of the chamber and never held back on his views on behalf of his constituency.”

‘Supporting those who needed a voice’

A statement from Cllr Owens’ children read: “We are all saddened at the passing of Reg, he has been the most wonderful husband for 53 wonderful years and a fantastic father and grandad to us all.

“As his children, we have always valued and cherished the support and guidance him, and our mum, Josie, have given us. This support has also been passed on to the numerous groups we, as children, were involved with growing up including sport, music and youth work.

“As a grandad, he has actively followed and supported Euan, Gregor, Mostyn and Elwyn in their sporting achievements, particularly on the rugby field. Something which Dad instilled in us was his passion for ensuring equal opportunities for all and supporting those who needed a voice.

“He was not afraid to speak his mind and was always eager to tell us about the debates he had with members of the various committees he sat on.

“We were so proud when Dad successfully secured his third term as a county councillor. We thoroughly enjoyed being part of his election campaign and listening to the praise and warmth from residents across the areas that he led.

“Dad will leave a huge void in our lives, and we thank him for everything he has done for us. We love you and will miss you forever.”

‘Passionate advocate’

Chair of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Cllr Di Clements paid tribute to ‘Reg’.

“Cllr Reg Owens was a valued and influential member of the Park Authority for over 10 years. During that time, he was a passionate advocate for the National Park and the communities of the Dale Peninsula.

“He argued strongly for initiatives and activities that enabled people from all backgrounds and abilities to visit and enjoy the National Park and always considered the impact of any decision on staff and their well-being.

“For five years, Reg chaired the Development Management Committee, which decides planning applications. He had his own unique style and was always welcoming and supportive of applicants and objectors, irrespective of their views. Reg saw great value in the role town and community councils play in the planning system and would always give significant weight to their views.

“Reg was often described as a great character and was a friend and supporter to all the members of the Park Authority. He will be greatly missed by all, and we value his contribution to the National Park. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

Tributes to Cllr Owens were also paid by chair of the council’s planning committee Cllr Jacob Williams, who, at the February 13 committee meeting, recorded his “personal sadness at Cllr Owens’ passing,” offering his condolences to friends and family.