FORMER Newport mayor Fred Sweeting has died following a short illness.

Mr Sweeting, who died last Friday aged 86, was a born and bred Newportonian attending Maesglas School and Stow Hill secondary school before studying his City & Guilds finals at Newport Tech in painting and decorating.

After finishing his studies Mr Sweeting stayed on and taught his trade to apprentices before going on to work for Alcan and British Rail.

Mr Sweeting became a councillor for Newport in 1979 and retired from the council in 2004.

For 14 years of his service as a councillor representing the St Julian’s ward, he was deputy chairman of the environment committee and was also chairman of the licensing committee.

Mr Sweeting was a councillor for more than 24 years and was mayor between 1999 and 2000.

He was also chairman of the Rogerstone carnival fete committee and was vice chairman of governors at St Julian’s comprehensive school and was a governor for Durham Road Junior and Infant School.

Newport city council leader Bob Bright has paid tribute to Mr Sweeting and expressed his sadness at the news of his death.

Councillor Bright said: “I am saddened to hear of the death of former councillor Fred Sweeting.

“He was a valued friend and colleague who served Newport for many years.

“I extend my sympathies to his family and friends during this sad time.”

Mr Sweeting had three daughters with wife Joan, two of whom live in Australia and one of whom lives in Barry.

Mayor of Newport, councillor Cliff Suller, said: “I am saddened to hear the news of the death of former mayor and councillor Fred Sweeting.

“He served as a councillor for many years and was mayor for the millennium and also at the start of one of the most constitutional of changes that Wales had seen for centuries with the advent of the National Assembly for Wales.

“He was a hard working councillor who served the residents of Newport with integrity and honesty.

“I offer my condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Newport Labour councillor for Lliswerry, Allan Morris, who knew Mr Sweeting for over 30 years said: “Fred was a remarkable man.

“He said it like it was.

“During his time on the licensing committee he was very passionate about the safety of the people of Newport and he worked hard to build bridges between the taxi profession and the council.

“I had a lot of time for him.

“I have known him since 1983 when I first became councillor and he was someone I had a great deal of respect for.

“I learnt a lot from him.”

Former Newport mayor Alan Perry was friends with Mr Sweeting for over 28 years and paid tribute to a “brilliant man”.

He said: “What a brilliant fellow. He was someone you could rely on.

“I have nothing but admiration for him.

“If Fred said he would be there he would be there.

“You couldn’t get a better bloke than him.”

Rogerstone Cllr Chris Evans said Mr Sweeting was a councillor who strived to represent the people who had elected him.

He said: “I had only met him on a few occasions and the most interesting time was when I was canvassing during the last election.

“I knocked on his door and he was talking to me for about an hour telling me what we should or shouldn’t be doing.

“He gave me some really good advice, which was to always be honest with yourself and the people.

“He said to me; ‘your main priority is the people of Rogerstone- remember that.’”

A service will be held at St John’s church, in Rogerstone, in the coming weeks.