Key interests and
main sporting interest is football. She has been a lifelong supporter of her
home town team, Bristol City, and still travels to games there when time
allows. However, she is also a season
ticket holder of Merthyr Town FC and has a keen interest in most local sports
in her constituency.
is another one of Dawn’s leisure interests, particularly if it involves being
in Italy. Her love of Italy started with a school trip there was she was just
12 years old. She honeymooned there and has spent many holidays in different
parts of the country.
with Dawn’s love of Italy comes a love of Italian food.
her spare time, Dawn also likes to read, listen to music and spend time with
her family who are spread across south Wales, north Wales and the west of
was born and brought up in Bristol, very much the product of a traditional
working class family whose parents were both trade unionists and Labour Party
members. She has one brother.
attended St Bernadette’s Catholic Secondary School and studied to GCSE
level. After leaving school, she
attended Soundwell Technical College where she gained qualifications in
secretarial, business studies and law. She later qualified for the Institute of
Leadership and Management Diploma through study with the TUC.
1989, Dawn moved to south Wales where her two sons were born, educated, brought
up and still live and work. She has been married to Martin since 2011.
first job after leaving college was as secretary to the Regional Managing
Director of Guest Keen and Nettlefold Distributors in Bristol.
moved from there to work as a medical secretary in the NHS before spending a
brief period of time working as a Local Government officer. It was during these
years of employment in the public sector that Dawn became actively involved
with her trade union NALGO (later to become UNISON).
the age of just 23, Dawn was appointed as a full-time Branch Organiser for
NALGO working with the union’s NHS membership in Bristol. In 1989, she moved to
south Wales to become the youngest and first female District Officer in the
area. She rose through the ranks of her
union to become the UNISON Cymru/Wales Head of Health, a position she held up
to her election as Assembly Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney in May 2016.
She counts amongst her proudest achievements leading on the negotiations that
delivered the Living Wage into NHS Wales in 2014.
her union roles, Dawn was an advocate, negotiator, public speaker and
campaigner for members working primarily in the public sector services of Local
Government, Health, and Higher and Further Education, as well as the privatised
utilities of gas, water and electricity and the voluntary sector. She also had
management responsibility for a large team of UNISON organisers covering mid
and south east Wales.
worked with a number of organisations representing her union, including the NHS
Wales Partnership Forum, Local Government NJC for Wales and the Welsh
Government Workforce Partnership Council. She regularly attended and spoke at
the Wales TUC and Welsh Labour Party Conferences as a UNISON delegate.
joined the Labour Party in l983. She is also a member of the Socialist Health
Association and a member of the Public Services union, UNISON.
political views were shaped by her upbringing and by parents who were both
trade unionists and Labour Party members.
the miners’ strike of l984-85, Dawn worked with the South West TUC to collect
both money and food to support the south Wales miners.
was the miners’ strike and other industrial unrest during the 1980sthat drove
her into politics. She joined CND in l984 and in April l986 won a by-election
in the then Conservative-held ward of Staple Hill to become a Labour Councillor
in Kingswood District Council at the age of just 26. Dawn served on the Policy,
Housing, Personnel (Shadow Chair), Environmental Health and Planning
has served as a local authority nominated school governor for Labour in both
secondary and primary schools and was also a Labour Community Councillor in
Pontyclun where she was living prior to her election as Assembly Member in
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney. She also stood as the Labour candidate for
Pontyclun ward of Rhondda Cynon Taff Council in 2004.
has regularly attended and spoken at both Welsh Labour and UK Labour party