A CAMPAIGN to have the, yet-to-open, community centre in Barry’s Cemetery Approach named after Wales’ first black councillor, has been launched.

Former Labour Vale MP general election candidate and member of the Stand Up To Racism Cardiff and Vale co-ordinating group, Belinda Loveluck-Edwards wants Barry Town Council (BTC) to name the facility after Elvira Gwenllian Payne (nee Hinds).

Councillor Payne, who was born in Morgan Street, Barry, in 1917 and died in 2007, was the 1979 BTC deputy mayor and the Vale of Glamorgan mayoress from 1974 to 1976.

Campaigners at the Barry Black Lives Matters demonstration, in June, said the Vale council naming the Alexandra Gardens community centre after former Labour leader, Cllr Margaret Alexander was an example of “white privilege”.

Campaigners are urging people to sign a petition recognising Mrs Hinds-Payne's contribution to Barry.


Your chance to name Barry's newest community building

"No justice, no peace," - chant hundreds of Black Lives Matters protestors in Barry

Margaret Alexander Community Centre opens

‘Gwen’, as she was known, worked in a munitions factory, in Pontypool, and in London caring for an elderly man.

She worked or volunteered for roles which included the Good Street Neighbours organisation and she was assistant secretary of the O.A.P welfare committee.

With husband Colin Payne, she was a member of the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service and she was the founding secretary and organiser for Guide Dogs For the Blind – visiting Cardiff prison four times.

She was a collector for Tenovus Cancer Research and a school meals supervisor at Colcot school for 14 years and a founder member of the Buttrills community centre with the help of her husband and her brother Darwin.

She was the first member of the hospital discharge scheme for Barry in 1991; president of the arthritis care committee for three years; a committee member on the Clarion committee for the Colcot area and a member of the road safety committee.

Mrs Loveluck-Edwards, of Rhoose, said: “The petition is to give Gwen formal recognition for her contribution to Barry and the Vale.

“Her role as a councillor here in Barry was all the more significant because she was the first black female councillor in Wales, something that should be recognised and celebrated.

“The best way to achieve this is for a lasting memorial, but not through a plaque or stone statue, but through a centre that will bring together our community and reflect the work that Gwen was at the heart of in her time.

“This would be a fitting tribute to Gwen, to her legacy and of course to celebrate the diversity of the Vale.

“At a time when we have witnessed injustice and the rise of racism and hate related crime, naming a centre in memory of Gwen sends a strong message to current and future generations living here that Black Lives Matter and that diversity enables us to all walk through this world together.”

“The petition was set up during discussions with members of the Barry community following our Black Lives Matter protest at King Square,” Mrs Loveluck-Edwards said. “It became apparent that so many people remembered her, referenced her as “auntie Gwen” or as someone their parents fondly remembered.

“It also became apparent that there was no tribute or information readily available around the area that highlighted her contribution to the community.

“I decided to create the petition to build support and explain why the centre should be named in memory of Gwen Hinds.

“We know that there are other, equally worthy members of our community who could have the centre named in their memory, but it is time - 13 years after her death - to say thank you in this way.”

She added: “We are calling on the councillors to recognise the petition to acknowledge that now, when our society most needs to hear all voices, they give credit to this wonderful woman who was much admired and lived and breathed Barry.

“We have been amazed at the level of support, we have received so many messages from people who remember Gwen and her brother, Darwin and of course the work that they did without seeking any praise or recognition.

“To many she was auntie Gwen, to others she was a good neighbour who always had time for people, who helped create local community groups that still exist today and of course she was a black woman, the first black woman councillor in Wales – something Barry residents should be very proud of.

“She did so much for her community, without seeking anything in return.

“Stand Up To Racism Cardiff and Vale will be writing to the chief officer to ask for clarification on the process so that we can understand what more we need to do to widen the campaign to give Gwen a fitting legacy.”

Visit https://www.change.org/p/barry-town-council-to-name-a-community-centre-in-memory-of-the-first-black-female-councillor-in-wales