Centenarian is still Queen of Council

A centenarian from Anglesey is believed to be the oldest community councillor in the UK.

And with 75 years’ service under her belt, Mary Augusta Edwards – fondly know as MA – is also the longest serving school governor in the country.

Twenty six years after helping to ensure that planning permission was given for the Rhos care home, in Malltraeth, the remarkable 100 year old  is now benefitting from the decision.

She  now attends the home for day care each Friday – and is proud and delighted with the way the place has developed.

Mrs Edwards has another reason to be pleased, for it was she who officially opened the original building in 1987 and its later extension.

“She has been closely linked with the home right from the very beginning,” said owner Ann Hughes, a member of Care Forum Wales who took over the business 11 years ago. “She’s an amazing woman.”

She has made a massive contribution to the life of the island community, which was recognized last year when she was presented with a bouquet by Anglesey County Council. At a meeting in Llangefni Councillor Bob Parry described her as “The Queen of the Council”.

She lost her husband, local GP JO Edwards, when she was only 31 but, as a nurse, she kept the surgery open through locum doctors until 1948.

“MA” said she decided to enter public life to show her appreciation for the kindnesses shown to her.

“I thought it was time to put something back and to help people have amenities which I had not had in those early days, including electricity and sewerage,” she said.

She was elected to represent Bodorgan on Aethwy District Council in 1948 and was twice chairman before it disappeared under reorganization in 1974. In that year she was made an MBE for her work in the area. She then become a member of Anglesey County Council, on which she served
until 1996 and was Mayor in 1976-77.

She is still a member of Bodorgan Community Council and, with 75 years’ service at the village school, is the longest-serving school governor in the UK.

She still lives alone in the house which she and her husband had built in nearby Bethel and enjoys keeping the garden in trim.

“I also enjoy reading and listening to music, though I can’t sing a note,” she joked.

Having been at the centre of village life for so long “MA” knows the staff and other residents at Rhos very well, and describes her weekly visits as “like being home from home”.

“I love coming here for a chat, and it really is an exceptional home,” she said.  “I can’t praise the staff too highly, they are always prepared to go the extra mile,” she added.

The centenarian, who has two sons and a daughter, seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, has an amazing memory and a wealth of anecdotes based on her experiences in the community and as a councillor.

She has been presented to the Queen several times and is now pleased that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge live such a short distance from her home village.

“She’s often in the village shop and it’s lovely that they’re living here,” she commented.

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, was full of admiration for Mrs Edwards’ fantastic contribution to public life.

Mr Kreft said: “Mrs Edwards is a shining example to all of us, her continuing dedication is extraordinary. She is still the Queen of the Council.”

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