“It was a great honour and pleasure for him to be the Mayor of his hometown, of course,” reflected former Mayoress of Bangor Gwenda Williams, on the year her husband served at the helm of Bangor City Council.

Indeed, the city’s first couple enjoyed a busy twelve months as the main representatives of Bangor.

A visit to Buckingham Palace, numerous trips to neighbouring towns and cities, as well as tireless work within the community dominated the agenda of Mayor Huw
Edward Williams in his time in office.

“I’ve had so many highlights in my time as mayor,” said Mr Williams.
“No doubt going to Buckingham Palace was a great honour. Bangor is one of few cities across the United Kingdom that is known as a Royal Charter city, and the mayor and mayoress are invited every year to attend the Queen’s garden party. It was a great privielege for us to go.”

“But perhaps the biggest highlight for me was seeing Bangor City get a new ground!”

Mr Williams has been a lifelong supporter of the hometown football team, and during his tenure, the club made the long awaited move from their home of 92 years, Farrar Road, to new ground Nantporth.

And despite gratefully receiving an invite from the Royal Family, it seems like many in the city, it is football that lies closest to Mr Williams’ heart.

“They’ve been very successful. They have a modern, new football ground now, and they gave a brave attempt at trying to win their second leage title. It’s been another good season for a Bangor City supporter.”

Undoubtedly, the stadium move came as a welcome change for Mr Williams.
But throughout his lifetime living in the city, he has also witnessed his share of unwelcome change.

Bangor, with its university, hospital and cathedral, was a picturesque city, run by the people, for the people.

But in 1974, the powers of governance of the city of Bangor was transferred from the long established Bangor City Council, to the newly formed Gwynedd County Council.

This saw the the transfer of Bangor’s administrative powers to neighbouring town Caernarfon, HQ of Gwynedd council.

Being elected into the city council once was an influential and powerful role within the community, but it was this transfer of power which silenced the voice of the city chambers.

Mrs Williams said: “They haven’t got much clout any more. They should go back to the way it used to be. You know, there’s a big round table in Penrhyn Hall (Council Headquarters), but you don’t see it at all any more.”

“Caernarfon has all the say now. But they don’t know what they’re talking about because they’re not in Bangor.”

“People knock on the door, asking ‘can I have a house for my family’, but now there’s nothing he can do for them, he’s only a city councillor. I feel sorry for them”

Mr Williams added: “When I was growing up in Bangor during the 50’s there were different committees, and councillors were important people. Bangor was responsible for everything in Bangor.

“Bangor City Council was one of the first in the country to bring in council houses, and that was a sign of the work that was being done at the time.”

“If you did a poll,” added Mrs Williams, “I think most people would agree that having our own Bangor Council would be the better option.”

The Council now holds just two committees, acting as a scrutiny panel to the Gwynedd council, but it seems the degradation of the city council has done little to dampen the outgoing mayor’s enthusiasm; The retired milkman and football referee is still relishing another term sitting on the city forum.

He said: “The thing is, it’s an honour and a privilege to be mayor, but you don’t get a say on council matters.

“In one way, I’m looking forward to being a councillor again, so I can hold my hand up to back up what I say.”

And having supported her husband throughout a hectic year in office, Mrs Williams is now looking forward to putting her feet up.

“No matter where we’ve been invited to we’ve been treated wonderfully. We’ve made friends with mayors and mayoresses from so many towns, and met so many different people. We’ve had a lovely year, but it’s cost him a lot of money clothing me!”
“Put it like this: I wouldn’t want to do it again!”