Colleagues have thrown their support behind Coun Mike Bawden, who has been diagnosed with leukemia.

The former Swindon Council leader was diagnosed with the condition last week, and is undergoing urgent treatment.

Coun Bawden, (Con, Chiseldon and Lawn), has been a familiar face in local politics for decades, first being elected to Swindon Council in 1967.

He is now taking some rest while he undergoes treatment, but is determined to continue his work in any way possible.

“It has all been moving very quickly over the last few days,” said Coun Bawden. “It became quite bad during Christmas and New Year, and I have been to Great Western Hospital for various blood transfusions.

“I was told it was leukaemia last Friday when I went for a blood test. Now it is a matter of sorting out a programme for me which will control my white blood cells.”

While he has been advised not to attend meetings, Coun Bawden will still be involved with some projects as he recovers.

“I have got to do what I am told, and the important thing is to get my medical problem sorted,” he said. “I have no idea how long that will take, and I am meeting with consultants reguarly to keep updated.

“What I am doing with the reintegration of Swindon Commercial Services I still want to be invoved with, and there are developments like the one in Wichelstowe I want to be able to see through.

“I am not going to be going to meetings because I cannot go anywhere. My defence mechanism is not as good as it usually is so I can’t take any risks.

“But I am keeping my eye on various projects which I have got to see through. With modern technology I do not have to turn up at meetings, and I can do most of my work on the phone or with email.”

Colleagues have sent their best wishes to Coun Bawden.

Leader David Renard said: “I want to wish Mike well. He has been an incredibly long serving councillor who has done a great deal for the borough of Swindon.

“I hope he can be back firing on all cylinders as soon as possible. He is still very keen to be involved, but there may be one or two meetings he cannot make.

“Mike is not one to shy away from getting involved in any situation, no matter how difficult it might be. I am sure while he is getting sorted out the rest of us can fill in for him at any meetings, and I am very keen to have him back.”

Swindon Mayor Nick Martin added: “Mike has been having a tough time at the moment, so we have to give him all the support we can.

“He is now on a course of treatment, and has been sent home to recover. That is never pleasant for anybody, and everyone at the council should rally around Mike at this time and give him our full support. I wish him a full and speedy recovery.”