VETERAN councillor and former Mayor of Newport Noel Trigg has stepped down from his role representing the city's Bettws ward, for health reasons.

Mr Trigg, aged 81, has been a councillor for 25 years, and has served his ward under the Labour Party banner and latterly as an independent.

His retirement will trigger a by-election in Bettws, though a date has yet to be announced.

A former boxer - Mr Trigg was Welsh light heavyweight champion for a period in the mid-1950s before exiting the ring for good in 1959 - he was in his 50s before he entered political pugilism, being elected first to Gwent County Council, and later Newport City Council, where for a time he chaired the licensing committee.

During his term as Mayor in 2008/09, he raised thousands of pounds during his charity appeal, for St Anne's Hospice, and for the city-based Raven House Trust.

But towards the end of his term of office he also announced his intention to leave the Labour Party - by then in opposition on the city council - disenchanted at what he saw as its negative approach.

He told the Argus: "When I look at local politics, it doesn't matter what party you belong to, we should be determined to work for the people of Newport. We should all pull in the same direction but we're not."

He was also saddened by what he perceived to be a lack of support from the majority of his party colleagues during his term as Mayor.

By then in his mid 70s Mr Trigg, continued as a city councillor, being re-elected in 2012 as one of two 'independents'.

Newport council leader Bob Bright said: "Noel was a popular ward member who served the people of Bettws in an enthusiastic manner.

"He loves boxing and he has driven forward a number of sporting initiatives.

"It is sad that his health is such that he now feels he has to retire. I am sure that all members of the council would wish to thank Noel for his service and I would personally express a wish that Noel’s health improves and that he can enjoy a happy retirement."

Rogerstone ward councillor Chris Evans, paid tribute to Mr Trigg as a friend and as someone who had offered much support and advice during his early days in the role.

"Noel is a true Newport character, who wasn’t afraid to say it as it is," said councillor Evans.

"Noel represented all that’s best of an independent, no nonsense spirit."