Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
Funeral of Headmaster Mr Gwilym Williams
MASSIVE TRIBUTE TO
GRAMMAR SCHOOL HEAD
LENGTHY RANKS of solemn senior pupils formed a guard of honour from the Llwydcoed Crematorium towards the entrance gate as the funeral cortege of their headmaster, Mr Gwilym Williams, who had died so suddenly, made its way to St. Mair Chapel.
Outside, around the chapel was a tremendous crowd, and it was a good while before the committal service could commence, with every seat occupied, the funeral director members of the crematorium staff, trying to get everyone in, pushed six rows, of mourners into the lengthy entrance aisle. The former pastor of Bethlehem, Welsh Presbyterian Church at Mountain Ash, the Rev. Emrys Evans, summed up this massive expression of public sympathy.
“This is a very sad day for Aberdare, and for many in Mountain Ash, the sudden passing of Mr. Gwilym Williams.
“This large gathering of men and women drawn from all walks of life and representing various organisations, speaks very clearly of how much loved and well-respected he was with us all.”
Briefly mentioning the immeasurable contribution Gwilym Williams had made to Bethlehem Chapel, Mountain Ash, of which he had been an elder and secretary for some years Mr. Evans added: “In all humility I take this opportunity on myself and on behalf of the church to pay a brief tribute to his memory.
“I will refer to him by his Christian name as I have always done. I have known Gwilym for 30 years and I found him to be a loyal and true friend, easy to work with during my ministry.”
Mr. Evans went on to say: “Gwilym was born and bred in Mountain Ash and lived all his life in this Valley. When he was a boy, life was very grim and very hard. Who can measure the sacrifice of parents in those years in order that their children might find themselves had known. Knowing Gwilym as a son of those parents, I can safely say that their efforts were amply rewarded.”
Gwilym Williams, added the Rev Emrys was a man of high ideals and strong convictions.
Then the minister added: “I know only too well that he suffered because he had such strong convictions.”
“Gwilym’s home was a Christian home” Mr. Evans continued, “It was a place of the highest affection, the noblest disciplines and the most consecrated joys.”
Referring again to Bethlehem Welsh Presbyterian Church, where he was one of its elders, Mr. Evans said: “His contribution to the church in faithfulness and service, as well as in generosity is beyond measure. It was a real joy for all of us to work with him.
“It is a great credit to this man, that despite the ever increasing demands on him in his vocation and in his involvement in various other activities, he had time for worship in the House of God.
A tribute was also expressed by Mr. Jess Warren (Chairman of the Mid Glamorgan Area Health Authority), who was Mr. Williams’s immediate predecessor.
It was a tragic privilege, he said, to have to voice his tribute that day to a teacher, colleague and friend.
Mr. Warren pointed out that in the history of a school now midway through its fourth quarter century Mr. Gwilym Williams was a powerful link between the generation who had worked with the pioneers of 1897 and those staff members of 1977 drawn from among his own pupils.
“Through the Staff of Aberdare Grammar Schools” said Mr. Warren there has run a rod of steel, the maintenance of high standards combined with progressive developments. These traditions have made the Aberdare Schools renowned throughout the Principality, the Kingdom and even farther afield. And Gwilym Williams has been a great and powerful part of them.
“In 1964, he became Deputy Head, a worthy successor to Mr. J. T. Bowen and Peter Phillips. As my colleague and partner his energy, his discretion and his loyalty served the staff, pupils and me personally abundantly.
“He had tragically too short a span as Headmaster, but in that brief time he showed that the great traditions of the school, which, in my turn I had been privileged to guard, were in safe hands.
“Gwilym was closely and enthusiastically involved in that musical upsurge associated with the names of Gwilym Ambrose, Peter Phillips and T. R. James, and, indeed with the musical and cultural life of the Valley generally.
“His involvement with his professional organisations, especially the National Union of Teachers in Aberdare and the Cynon Valley Associations in Glamorgan and Wales generally, were fruitful to him and his colleagues.
“Gwilym was a great gentleman and a great friend,
“To Nesta, the boys and the family generally we say: “Yours is the great loss: but we hope that the pride you must have in his memory, in his character and his achievements for his family, his church, his school and the community generally will tell you that you are sharing the loss with a great multitude.”
The service at the house in Clifton Street and at the Crematorium was conducted by the Rev. Glaslyn Bowen, minister of Trinity English Presbyterian Church, Aberdare, who was accompanied by the Rev. Aneurin Roberts (Siloa Welsh Congregational Church, Aberdare), the Rev. D. O. Davies (Elim Welsh Cong., Cwmdare), the Rev. Tudor Morgan (Carmel-Bryn Seion English Baptist Church, Trecynon), the Rev. D. Gordon James (curate at Cwmbach) a former pupil of the school and previously for many years Clerk to the former Aberdare District Council), Rev. J. Eric Jones.
Among the various bodies so strongly represented were the Divisional Education Office, the County Hall Education staff (headed by the Director of Education for Mid-Glamorgan, Mr. John Brace), the Welsh Joint Education Committee, Glamorgan Polytechnic, The Mid Glamorgan Education Committee (headed by its chairman), Glamorgan Secondary Schools Amateur Athletics Association, the National Union of Teachers (local. regional and national level), Aberdare Rotary Club and the youth organisation it sponsors—lnteract, Mountain Ash and District Choral Society and the Grammar School Past Students’ Association.
Mrs. Williams and the family warmly appreciate the gesture of all these organisations in turning out in such strength, and in addition, they want all those who attended the funeral to know that they are immensely grateful for the effort made by them (many having travelled considerable distances) to participate in such an impressive last tribute.
Bearers were: Messrs. T. J. Evans, M. T. Jenkins and D. D. Davies (old colleagues at the Grammar School, G. Walters, D. T. Morgan and Wyndham Bevan (Bethlehem Chapel).
Family mourners: Mrs. Gwilym Williams, widow; Stephen and Kevin, sons; Elaine Harris, friend; Mr. and Mrs. Llewellyn Williams, (Easington Village), Mr. Griffith Williams (Corby), his .brothers and the sisters-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Glyn Jones (Sedgeley), brother-in-law and sister; Dr. D. H. Richards (Abergavenny), Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Richards (Lisvane), brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and other relations, with Mr. Jess Warren, former headmaster of the school and Mrs. Warren, and Mr. T. R. James, former colleague, ex-headmaster of Brynmawr Comprehensive School and musical director of Cwmbach Male Voice Choir.
Mourners at the Crematorium: Grammar School staff: Noel Thomas (Acting Headmaster), C. E. L. Morris, D C. Phelps J. G. Evans, Mal Harris, H. J. Manning, E. C. Davies, D. L. Jones, G. Brace, K. Griffiths, R. Jones, K. Williams, T. J. Smith, K. Morgan, R. J. Harries, R. Pritchard, M. J. Bound, N. C. Smith, K. Rogers, W. G. Cross, M. T. Davies, D. J. Watkins, G. Abbott, T. J. Phelan, W. A. Thomas, A. H. Phillips, .J. G. Jones, E. J. Evans, O E. Pritchard, R. Childs, G. Morgan, Miss Judith Griffiths, Mrs. Priscilla Davies, L. Venn, B. Howells, Mrs. Jennie Williams, Mrs. Elsie Richards, Mrs. Bernice Cresswell, Mrs. Anne Hughes, Aurelia Rees.
Grammar School Pupils: Huw Williams (head boy), John Popadec (Deputy Head Boy), N. Cahil, M. Silezin, M. Lewis, A. Hoggins, J. Davies, S. Evans, J. Jenkins, R. Jones, G. Griffiths, J. Mills, H. T. Meyrick, H. Morris, F. Poloha, D. M. Davies, J. R. E. Jones, M. Cooper, N. Williams, C. Drew, G. Price, G. Culliford, P. Luke, R. Davies, N.W. Evans, N. Edmunds, P. Jones, S. Roberts, A. Davies, B. Morgan, C. Lloyd, M. Cordani, B. Hurst, P. Spiers, C.J. Phillips, S. Davies, H. Davies, N. Male, N. Bowen, J. R. Davies, H. Oliver, A. Vaughan, P. Richards, V. Davies, R. Phillips, H. Williams J. Miasic, D. R. Newcombe, K. Summerhays, G. Morgan, T. M. Vevan, C. Soal, L. Edwards, C. Perry, C. Jones, G. Hill, B. Thomas, M. Hinwood, S. Meredith, R. Benedictis, A. James.
Also present were Moira Jones, Rhiannon Roberts and Judith Harris.
Headmasters: T. Riley (St. Margaret’s R.C.), E. T. Davies (Comin), Morgan Phillips (Cwmbach), D. Bowen (Blaengwawr), Mrs. Tydfil Thomas (Aberdare Girls’ Grammar), W.J. Rawle (Mountain Ash Comprehensive), C. H. Wittingham (Vaynor and Penderyn), G. Pepper (St. John the Baptist, Aberdare), Elwyn Morgan (Ysgol Gymraeg), Trevor H. Thomas (Brynteg Comprehensive), J. C. S. Hughes (Ynysawdre Comprehensive), John Lewis (Maerdy Junior), T. Arnold Richards (Bryngolwg Junior Comprehensive), Elved Davies (Hirwaun Junior School), Eved Davies (Hirwaun Junior), [sic] John Isaac (Afon Taf Comprehensive), Eifion Jones (Capcoch), Miss N. Turner (Acting Head at Blaengwawr). J. L. Jenkins (Penywaun), C. J. Edwards (Headmaster Amman Valley).
Amongh [sic] others present: Luther James, Sam Evans, Kathy Phelan, Ewan Jones, B. R. Turner, Anne Jones, M. George, M. George, [sic], Rhona Lewis, Sinah Thomas, M. Lewis, Shirley Fleming (School Governor), W. Rees, H. Davies, John Oliver, Graham Rees, Mel Jenkins, County Coun. Prudence Williams (Chairman of the Grammar School Governors).
C. Bayliss, S. Jones, S. George, S. George, Gwilym Ambrose, W Gethin Jones, D. K. Evans, J. Battenbo, Wayne Davies, R. Francis, G. Hopkins, Dr. Raymond Grant, E. Davies, J. Evans, A. E. Crate, Delfryn Davies, Christine Griffiths, Walter Ryan, Melville Morgan, Margaret Morris, H. Sweet, Dyfrig Davies, Ivan K. Davies, Dan C. Jones, Gareth Davies, P. E. Phillips, E. J. Excell, Richard Roberts, J. Rocelyn Reynolds, Lyndon Harris, John Lloyd, D. E. Morgan, Glyn Griffiths (Editor Aberdare Leader), Haydn Marshall, J. H. Richards, Bernard Evans, Megan Davies, Alwyn Thomas, Ron Beaman, Betty Lloyd, Brian Hoggins.
Arwyn Davies, Gwyn Roach, Gwilym Evans, J. B. Davies, J. E. Richards, H. Jenkins, T. Aeron Edwards, J. P. Thomas (secretary Mid Glamorgan NUT), D. N. Williams, J. A. Edwards, Idwal Rees, Les Manfield, Duncan Evans, E. Roberts (Education Office, Merthyr), Berian Edwards, Vivian M. James, D. R. Owen (Education Office, Aberdare). L. C. Pash (County Careers Service), A.C. Williams (W.J.E.C.), Vivian Matthews (Architects Department South Glamorgan), Dr. Trevor Jones (Education Department, South Glamorgan), Oliver J. Timothy, Dr. W. Codd.
Choral Societies: Mrs. E. L. Brace, E.M. Jones, Eli Brace, Mountain Ash Choral Society, of which many members were present. D. B. Davies and George Lloyd (Cwmbach Male Voice Choir).
Police Inspector Wyndham Perry, Sergeant David Edwards, G. Eynon, Ivor Thomas, George Lloyd, Graham S. Bird, County Coun. Dafydd Roberts, Coun. Mervyn Prowle, Wilf Canter, W. Bevan, D. Davies (Bethania, Mountain Ash), G. R. Davies, B. E. Jones, Trevor J. Phillips, Gerald Bassett, Alan Bound, Mr. and Mrs. Drew, Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Evans, Morlais Jenkins, C. D. G. Clark, Gordon Davies, Iorrie Leach, Lynne Jenkins and Eddie Owens (Parent Teachers Association), Graham Kern, I. J. Phillips, Tom Jones, Vince Chidgey, G. Rippon, Glyn D. Richards, Emrys Jenkins, Paul Lewis, Tudor Lewis, Lynne Rees (Newquay), Glan Davies, Robbie Williams (Aberaman R.F.C.), Emlyn Evans, David S. Bird, Peter Jenkins, E. J. K. Rees, Steve Williams, Gareth Key, Ceri Thomas. Ken Thomas, Evan J. Hooper (Rhymney), Arthur Thomas, David Davies, David A. Jones, Coun. W. S. Jones, Glyn Griffiths (Aberdare Leader Editor), Fred M. Haines, Rose and Bill Walters, Alun and Pat Richards, Mrs. M. Williams, Mrs. E. Bevan, G. S. Bird, Mr. and Mrs. Neville Davies, John Bowen, Walter Hale.
Needless to say there were many others present whose names have not come to hand.
Mrs. Nesta Williams, Stephen and Kevin of Pennar, 11 Clifton Street, Aberdare, extend their warm appreciation to all those who have demonstrated such deep sympathy and have been so very kind on the occasion of their sudden loss of a beloved husband and father.
The whole family wish also to express their particular gratitude to the doctors, the staff of the Intensive Care Unit at St. Tydfil’s Hospital, Merthyr, the ministers, neighbours, school colleagues, teachers and non-teaching staff, former colleagues, pupils of the school, past students and parents.
Funeral arrangements were by Mr. Les Evans, Gadlys Street, Aberdare.
• In lieu of wreaths, donations were invited towards the fund’s of Interact, the youth organisation formed to help the underprivileged (mostly in this valley) sponsored by Aberdare Rotary Club.