RESPECTS were paid at the funeral of a “much-loved” former mayor of Torfaen today.

Crowds of mourners gathered in the spring sunshine to bid farewell to Robert Jones, known affectionately as Bob, at St Mary’s Church in Croesyceiliog this afternoon.

Mr Jones was mayor of the county borough from 2009 to 2010, standing as a county councillor for Upper Cwmbran from 2004 to 2012.

He was serving as chair of Cwmbran Community Council when he died suddenly at the age of 84 on April 22.

Reverend Canon Harald Thomas MBE, who led the service, said: “It just shows that even at his age of 84 he still wanted to serve the community and continued to serve it with great dignity and respect.

“He had a huge love for the community. We have memories tinged with sadness but also for joy.

“I had the pleasure of working with him in various organisations that we belonged to. He had a great sense of humour.”

The service heard that Mr Jones was one of five children born to his parents in Abersychan, where he attended the Victoria Village School as a boy.

In his teenage years he found work at Panteg Steelworks before enlisting with the Royal Marines.

“He intended to serve Queen and country and that was something he was able to fulfil,” said Rev Thomas.

Mr Jones, called a “very dear and much-loved gentleman”, took in tours of duty around the world, and it was during this time that he met his wife-to-be Margaret, whom he married in 1958.

The couple went on to have three children, Susan, Melanie and Christopher, and two grandchildren, Liam and Morgan.

Following an accident Mr Jones was discharged from the Marines in 1963, going on to work for the Red and White Bus Company and later at the Girling factory in Cwmbran.

He then took the “greatest pleasure” in becoming a swimming instructor at Fairwater Leisure Centre before retiring in 1998.

Rev Thomas added: “He was hugely respected, particularly among the youngsters that he went on to the train.”

A Labour party member, Mr Jones would enter local politics by being elected onto Cwmbran Community Council and later, Torfaen County Borough Council, in 2004.

Councillors past and present were among those packed into the church, where the hymns “Morning Has Broken” and “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” were sung together with a rendition of “The Last Post”.

The committal was later held at Gwent Crematorium, before the procession joined Mr Jones’ family for refreshments at Greenmeadow Golf and Country Club.

The family had also asked for donations to be sent to Dementia UK in lieu of flowers.