COMMUNITY leaders have praised outgoing councillor Mollie Thomas, who has decided not to run for the council again in September.
Cr Thomas (pictured) will move to live with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on the Gold Coast due to health concerns.
Local Aboriginal elder Ivan Wellington said he first worked with Cr Thomas about 20 years ago in Minto and considered her a real strength of the local community.
"I've got the utmost respect for Aunty Mollie," Mr Wellington said. "Aunty Mollie will be a missing link or part of the chain that keeps this community going.
"Her love and work is done with the great words of grace from the heart and with respect."
Local Pacific community leader Mal Fruean said Cr Thomas had been her mentor for many years.
"I can't even put into words what she's done for our community, Campbelltown as a community and then what she's done for the wider community and for us as a Pacific community," Ms Fruean said. "And then I'm speechless with what she's done personally for me as a mentor."
Ms Fruean will run for a spot on the council herself this year and said she'd been encouraged by Cr Thomas. "She's passing on her knowledge, experience and wisdom to not only me but many others and I hope to pick up that baton," she said.
"I could never fill Aunty Mollie's shoes — I have great respect for her — but I'm willing to give this a go."
Mayor Anoulack Chanthivong said Cr Thomas had always been a great champion of Campbelltown, and a great ally. "Mollie's always given me the advice and the support and the friendship when I've wanted it."