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New Lord Mayor's pride at civic role

Swansea Councillors have seen two of their long serving colleagues become Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor of our city.


Councillor Philip Downing, ward member for Pontarddulais, was inaugurated at a special ceremony at the historic Guildhall today (Friday 26).

As Lord Mayor he will have an important civic and ceremonial role as our city's official ambassador. His year of duties will be varied and include receiving visiting dignitaries and presiding at civic functions. He will also be involved in raising money for local good causes.

His deputy this year will be Cllr David Phillips.

Cllr Downing said: "It is an honour to serve the city of my birth. I am thrilled and delighted. I don't think there is a higher accolade than to be nominated by my fellow councillors and I will work hard to uphold the role of First Citizen of our great city.

"I was Mayor of Pontarddulais last year, so it's something of a personal double for me to be recognised by both my local community and my city as a whole. Having been born, bred, lived and worked here all my life, it feels very special to now be Lord Mayor."

Every Lord Mayor takes the opportunity to use the office to become a fundraising cheerleader for charities close to their hearts.

This year Cllr Downing has chosen Golau Cancer Foundation, The Poppy Appeal and Royal British Legion Swansea Branch and Vision Impaired West Glamorgan.

He said: "These charities are important to me because they are all very deserving causes which help people locally.  I'd like any money raised to be used to benefit the people of Swansea and I will do my utmost to raise as much as possible to support these worthwhile causes."

Cllr Downing was born in 1950 in Pontarddulais, attending his local primary and secondary schools before going on to colleges in Gorseinon and Swansea to learn his trade as an electrician.

Cllr Downing and his wife Lilian were childhood neighbours and married in 1972.  They have two children Fiona and Leigh. They also have three grandchildren, Alys, Owain and Charlie.  

Cllr Downing worked in the steel industry at Coated Metals in Pontarddulais, which was sold to British Steel, then Corus, and finally before closure by TATA Steel.

Cllr Downing worked at the plant for 25 years, where he was shop steward, Union Safety Representative and Chair of the joint unions.

Cllr Downing was first elected to represent Pontarddulais in 1983 to the then Lliw Valley District Council and has served the town on and off since then.

While on the District Council Cllr Downing was Chairman of the Licensing Committee, he was also elected in 1996 to the new Swansea Council.

He has held numerous posts within the Council, and is proud to be Deputy Cabinet Member and Chairman of the Development Cabinet Advisory Committee

Lilian was born in Pontarddulais in 1952 and when she left school went to work in the offices of Teddington Bellows in the town.  

After their two children had grown up she took up a post in the then new comprehensive school.  For the last 30 years Lilian has become well known as a pharmacy dispenser in the local chemist's.

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