The man who took over from one of the longest-serving councillors in South Gloucestershire history has praised the woman that helped ‘change Yate for the better’.

South Glos Councillor John Gawn was elected in the Yate Central Ward in May of this year.

He joined long-serving member Cllr Ruth Davis in the ward, after taking the place of Sue Walker.

Sue had been in place on the district council since 1979, as well as on Yate Town Council for the same period.

She served as chair of the town council from 1984-86 and chair of South Glos Council from 2003-2004.

Since stepping down Sue has remained a part of various committees within Yate, still helping to make positive changes for the area.

“I am only here in this position because of Sue,” John said.

“Sue was my mentor when I first got on to Yate Town Council.

“When she came to me and said that she was stepping down from South Glos I was pretty shocked and then she asked if I would run in her place.

“I told her I couldn’t step in to her shoes as they were too big.

“She is a very hard lady to follow and I feel very privileged to be asked to carry on her work.

“Everything she did in her role was for the people of the town and she gets on with everyone.

“Everyone always listens to Sue.”

Along with Yate Town Councillor Chris Willmore, Sue was involved in the ‘Inspiring Women’ exhibition that SGC ran last year.

Speaking at the time, Sue immediately paid tribute to the other ladies that feature in the exhibition.

“It is really nice to be recognised, the work of the other ladies is amazing,” she said.

“They are all just really lovely ladies, they have done so much for Yate Town Council over the years.”

Yate Town Council’s Chris Willmore echoed Cllr Gawn, stating how important she had been over the decades.

“During her term, the town has transformed,” she said.

“Sue has inspired a host of facilities.

“She had the idea for a dual use facility behind Brimsham Green School which became YOSC, she led the work and then signed the twinning charter with Bad Salzdetfurth on behalf of the town.

“She was instrumental in creating U3A and the heritage centre as well as being at the forefront of the town council’s work on ageing better and dementia.

“She really stood up for Yate.”

A representative from Bad Salzdetfurth, Yate’s twin town since 1985 sent a letter to Sue commending her for her service to the town.

“At the end of your incredible 40 years in politics, I would like to say thank you on behalf of your friends from Bad Salzdetfurth,” it read.

“We’ve known each other since 1985 and in that time you have done so many great things for the benefit of the citizens of Yate and South Gloucestershire.

“Your enthusiasm, drive, and support for all things related to the Twinning association is much appreciated and admired.

“Every time we’ve met, you were there with your husband Lawrence. Over the years you have

looked after many citizens of our spa town in your warm and maternal way and many hours of

contribution have strengthened the friendships.

The bonds of friendship must continue to endure beyond Brexit - relationships are formed on

a citizen-by-citizen basis, not just between nation states.

“We at the Partnership Association continue to wish you health, creativity and a warm happiness until the next meeting.

“All the best and many love greetings.”

Mayor of Yate Karl Tomasin also paid tribute, saying: “Sue is a well loved, respected & dedicated campaigner who has worked to help and support not just community causes but individual residents needs for many years.

“Without Sue Yate wouldn’t be the place where many of us would chose to live and raise our families.

“Sue has been fantastic for Yate and we all thank her for all she has done.”