Two successive birthdays in April: two immortals to stir the nostalgia and to give thanks for."
The Gowertonian Society
The Education System of Wales
A TV production company making a social history programme, would like to hear from former grammar school pupils about their memories or stories of school life in the 1960s.
For more information, please contact this website.
Happy Birthday to John Vivian Hayes, 96 years old.
John (also known as Viv), bottom right in the photograph, was a pupil at the Gowerton County School from 1928-1935. He was head boy in 1935 and also a champion high jumper.
John lives in Llanelli. He taught Latin and German at the Llanelli Boys' Grammar School.
John would like to know whether he is now the oldest Gowertonian.
If you know of a Gowertonian older than John, please contact the website or a member of the Gowertonian Society committee.
Gowertonians at the National Eisteddfod
The Saturday Night Concert on Aug 4th was the UK Premiere of Karl Jenkins' latest work, "The Bards of Wales", conducted by Karl himself, with Dennis O'Neill a Soloist.
Eric Jones' hymn "O Fab y Dyn" was the test piece on the Tuesday when the Pensioners' Choirs competed.
Conductor of Cor Hamdden Caerdydd was Mrs Eilonwy Jones (Jenkins).
Chairman of the Choir last year, was John C Davies of Grovesend. Adjudicator was John Hugh Thomas.
Robert Nicholls, Penclawdd was Organist at the Gymunfa Ganu, and also Conductor of "Meibion Taf" a Male Voice Choir on Saturday 11th Aug.
A new Facebook group called 'Gowertonians' has been set up by committee member Catherine Thomas (née Proud). This group is already very popular and is for past pupils from the Gowerton Comprehensive School as well as from the Grammar Schools. Catherine is looking forward to hearing from you.
High Sheriff of South Glamorgan
Gowertonian Dr. Arun Midha has been installed as High Sheriff of South Glamorgan. The official declaration was made to his Honour Judge Sir Roderick Evans, whose father, Tom Evans, was a teacher at the Gowerton Boys' Grammar School.
Arun's mother, Olive, and his brothers Ravi and Paul are also Gowertonians.
(Photograph by courtesy of The Evening Post)
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2011
Congratulations to Gowertonian Anne Ellis OBE, who has received a well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of the 50 years she has dedicated to hockey as a player, coach and administrator.
Coffee Morning at Plas-y- Môr
Mrs Ena Davies, who taught French at Gowerton Girls' Grammar School in the 1960s, has raised £6,000 for the local hospice.
Friends gathered this week for coffee and home-made Welsh cakes at Ena's home Plas-y-Môr, the subject of her book.
Ena has just a few books left. If you would like a copy (£8.99), please contact the website.
Emmy Awards 2011
A Bafta winner for his score of cult film Twin Town, Mark is to take a red carpet walk at the Emmy Awards in Hollywood for his work with American star Matt Le Blanc. He will be competing against dramas including The Borgias, The Kennedys and Camelot.
Gowerton School Inspection 2011
Congratulations to the headteacher, staff and pupils of Gowerton Comprehensive School on their recent inspection result.
As Gowertonians, we are so proud and pleased that the high standard of education we enjoyed at Gowerton School is being maintained.
Service in Honour of Young Cadets
Lewis Jones's 80th Birthday
L Ann Bwis Jones, Bill Bowen and the School get an honourhe occasion of Lewis's 80th birthday
In an article in about Bobby Moore in the Sports Guardian on 13th April 2011, Lewis Jones, Bill Bowen and Gowerton School were mentioned by Frank Keating.
He wrote: "If English football's tragically lost paragon would have been 70 on Tuesday, by coincidence the day before, Monday, was the 80th birthday of Benjamin Lewis Jones.
Four-score and many happy returns to another game's preux chevalier, and with a similar aura. Is Lewis Jones the most rounded and versatile British player ever to grace rugby league? Argue if you must but there is no doubt, surely, that Jones was the very best of any Welshman who "went north" when amateurism ruled down south.
Can the James brothers – "the curly-haired marmosets" – have been better than Lewis Jones? Or was Jim Sullivan better or Gus Risman or Billy Boston or Terry Price or Dai Watkins or Jonathan Davies?
Lewis Jones from Gorseinon went to Gowerton Grammar School, where he was inspired by tales of how the school's teenage prodigies, Haydn Tanner and Willie Davies, had helped beat the 1935 All Blacks after being coached as well by the saintly sportsmaster Bill Bowen, whose credo was solely to correct imperfect technique but never, ever, to interfere with any boy's innate style, singular outlook or daring.
Lewis Jones had all of these three gifts in abundance. He was only briefly a fluorescent light which dazzled the union game – two Welsh seasons and a blinding tour for the 1950 Lions – before Leeds signed him to transform the 13-a-side code with a skip in his stride and a smile on his face.
I never saw him play but the imperishable Welsh rugby history, Fields of Praise, generously produces, as it forever does, the next best thing. "With a mesmerising variation of pace and stride, hips that oscillated as if on ball-bearings, and shoulders that shrugged and twisted through thickets of tackles, Lewis Jones's speciality was an Ali-like double shuffle, a scissoring movement of the legs which signalled, too late for his opponents, that he was about to move into a fifth gear."
It was an attribute he demonstrated sensationally for Wales at Twickenham in 1950 and a few months later even more so for the Lions in Auckland, then for season after season in rugby league, to embellish the glittering legend.
Two successive birthdays in April: two immortals to stir the nostalgia and to give thanks for."
Mrs Ann Borthwick, a past president of the Gowertonian Society, passed away on Thursday, 17th February 2011.
Ann will be greatly missed by us all. Our thoughts are with David and family at this sad time.
World War Hero
A memorial plaque has been presented to Gowerton School in honour of Frederick William Higginson, a man with one of the most outstanding Battle of Britain achievements. He was born in Gorseinon on 17th February 1913 and attended Gowerton County School from 1921 to 1926.
The purpose of the Memorial Plaque is not only to record the outstanding performance of a former pupil of the School but it will serve to engender in today's pupils that feeling of respect and gratitude for the fine work done by 'The Few' in 1940.
The person researching the project to place Memorial Plaques at schools where heroes of the Battle of Britain were educated states 'My local knowledge makes me aware of the fine collection of former Gowerton pupils and their achievements throughout the World. Having said that, if it had not been for the remarkable success of Frederick William Higginson and his colleagues in seeing off the planned invasion of Britain there might not have been the safe democracy within which we have all grown up.'
Dylan Thomas and his links with Pontardulais
Old Gowertonians David N. Thomas and Deric John, both originally from Pontardulais, have written an article on Dylan Thomas and his links with Pontardulais which is published in the autumn 2010 issue of Cambria magazine.
Hope you enjoy it.
On Wednesday, 6th October 2010, former Gowertonian Eric Jones (Pontarddulais) will be launching his new book Brothers Sing On at the Rugby Club in Pontarddulais. The book, which is due out next week, refers to the history of Pontarddulais Male Voice Choir and was written to commemorate their centenary.
Diamond Wedding Anniversary
Congratulations to Bill and Iris on 60 years of wedded bliss. Bill Hallett was a pupil at the Gowerton County School from 1939 until his call up in 1944.
Bill, an orchestral musician, spent most of his career in the Royal Opera House and his wife Iris was a very successful string teacher. They have 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
This photograph of Bill was taken in a Gowerton Church Hall concert in late 1943. Even as a schoolboy he had to wear the musician's work clothes - evening dress.
Dennis O`Neill was invested as an honorary fellow of Trinity College, Carmarthen on Tuesday 6th July 2010 for his contribution to music in Wales. Most appropriately the presentation was made by Dr. Brian Clarke, (Gowerton Boys` Grammar, 1963-1970), Registrar of Trinity College. I am aware of this as my son graduated from Trinity on the same day!
Officers and Committee 2010
It will be with the deepest regret that Gowertonians everywhere will learn that, due to ill-health, Mrs Ann Borthwick has felt it incumbent to resign as President of the Society – a position she had deserved by her lifelong devoted commitment to all worthy things Gowertonian.
Ann, née Lewis, Gorseinon born and a Girls’ Grammar School pupil (1947-54), later a Head of Year and Department in Comprehensive times, brought firm and far reaching local experience, a respect for tradition and an awareness of the ongoing needs of the 21 st Century School. She assiduously attended every Society happening, bringing a natural charm, an awareness of occasion and an ability to express herself honestly and most acceptably. Her contribution to both School and Society has, as President, proved invaluable in so many ways. An added bonus has been the unfailing support of David, Ann’s husband. May they both be assured of the appreciation, affection, concern and good wishes of a multitude of Gowertonians.
At this year’s AGM, the existing committee was reappointed – existing officers retain their positions, with the exception of the President.
Mrs Valmai Richards (née Gronow) was unanimously appointed as President. A former pupil and teacher at the Girls’ Grammar School, Valmai has served on the Gowertonian Committees since 1961 and has been responsible for the website since its inception. She takes up her new position with the best wishes of her many Gowertonian friends.
National Eisteddfod 2010
Notable Gowertonian Eric Jones, musician and also author of Maestro (biography of Noel Davies, ex-conductor of the Pontarddulais Male Voice Choir) is to be honoured at this year's National Eisteddfod by becoming one of the White Robe Druids. He will be known as Moelfryn.
Eric is married to Gwen (née Owen), a former head girl of the Gowerton Girls' Grammar School.
Musical Director of London Welsh Male Voice Choir
Gowertonian Edward-Rhys Bate from Penclawdd is the new Musical Director of the London Welsh Male Voice Choir. After becoming a church organist at 15 years old, he was commissioned to write music for the National Youth Theatre of Wales before studying music at Bangor University. Edward-Rhys has a post-graduate diploma in music technology and sound recording, a Master of Music degree in composition, an MA in choral conducting and has performed with the BBC National Chorus of Wales.
Fatal Neglect: Who Killed Dylan Thomas? - by David N. Thomas
Given the school's connection to Dylan Thomas, David Thomas's latest book 'Fatal Neglect: Who Killed Dylan Thomas?' should be of especial interest to Gowertonians, according to the author who was at Gowerton from 1957 to 1960 before moving to Port Talbot. David's grandmother, Tabitha Nicholas, was also a Gowertonian, as was his father Gwynne Thomas and his two aunts Nancy and Margaret Thomas, all of Oakfield Street, Pontardulais. David says that he was lucky to be at the school when Gilbert Bennett and Bill Bowen were on the staff because they started him on his writing career.
Headmaster, Dr Tom James, had been Dylan Thomas's English master in Swansea and Gilbert Bennett was President of the Dylan Thomas Society. Some of Dylan Thomas's relatives lived in Loughor and Pontardulais.
If you have any recollections of Dylan Thomas, please write to David N. Thomas, 1 Dolfor, Ciliau Aeron, Lampeter SA48 8DE or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more details, contact Tori at email@example.com
Penclawdd-born musician and Gowertonian Karl Jenkins has been made an honorary fellow of Swansea University for his achievements in composition.
Dr Jenkins has composed advertising music for famous brand names such as Pepsi, Levi's and British Airways and has played the Ronnie Scott Club, the Montreux Festival, Carnegie Hall and many more world famous venues.
The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace has brought Karl global recognition and those for whom he has written music include Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the London Symphony Orchestra and Bryn Terfel.
Dr. Karl Jenkins.
Haydn Tanner (1917-2009)
Please go to Dispatch Box to read 'A Tribute to Haydn Tanner' by James Harris
The William King Educational Trust
The Gowertonian Society has donated £100 to The William King Educational Trust. William was a staunch supporter of this society, especially our annual dinners. His children Sarah and David and William's nieces and nephews attended Gowerton School.
Nicky, William's wife, has reported to us that the Trust has now raised over £17,000 towards the project to build a primary school in Belize for 5 - 13 year old children and it is hoped that building will start in September 2009.
Should there be Gowertonians out there who may wish to support the appeal they should contact Nicky King at Llwyndyrys, Uplands, Gowerton Swansea SA3 3ET or e-mail her on: www.wket.org.uk/
Happy Birthday to Mr Gilbert Davies and Miss Miller
Norman Anthony (GBGS) and Ena Davies (GGGS and Penyrheol Comprehensive School) took birthday greetings to Gilbert Davies who will be celebrating his 96th Birthday on Friday, 19th December with visits from his family . He was delighted to receive messages from his past pupils.
Miss Dorothy Miller, a geography teacher at the Gowerton Girls' Grammar School for more than 20 years, celebrated her 88th birthday today, 17th November 2008, at a lunch party at Plas y Môr, the home of Mrs Ena Davies.
If you were a pupil of Miss Miller and would like to contact her, please e-mail the website for her address. She would love to hear from you.
The Gowertonian Award for Outstanding Service to the Community
The Gowertonian Society has introduced this new award to be made annually and presented at the Annual Dinner.
In 2008 the award was made to Tony Small for his outstanding devotion to the development of music in the village of Penclawdd and to Denys Jenkins for his amazing contribution to charitable causes in the area. Eric Jones received the award in 2009.
The Society is open to nominations for consideration for next year. Please contact Dr Alun Jones or e-mail the website.
Historical & Hysterical Tales of Pontarddulais Public Houses
Gowertonian Deric John and his two pals, Alun Rees and Bryan Yelland, have written a book 'delving into the rich tapestry of life at pubs in Pontarddulais'.
To read more about it, please click on book review
Historical & Hysterical Tales Of Pontarddulais Public Houses is published by LLygad Gwalch and costs £6.50.
Also, Deric has a very interesting website about the origin of South Wales place names
|We are saddened to inform you that Gowertonian Alun Hoddinott has recently passed away.|
For more about Alun Hoddinott, international ambassador for Welsh music, please use links below.
Maestro is available in most Welsh Language Book Shops, Waterstones, Borders and Cwtch dan Star in Pontardulais.
Top Award for Gowertonian
Gowertonian and former Swansea University lecturer, Professor Peter Stead has been honoured for his work in the media.
Swansea-based writer, broadcaster and cultural historian Peter Stead will receive the Cyfrwng Award for 2007. The award is made to individuals with links to both the academic and media worlds. Professor Stead is being honoured during this year's Cyfrwng Welsh media issues conference at Swansea University.
John Hefin, Cyfrwng chairman, said: "As one of Wales's leading social historians, Professor Stead is a most worthy recipient of the Cyfrwng Award - for his scholarly, readable books, yes, but possibly more importantly for radiating such understanding, enthusiasm and wit whenever he discusses a subject close to his heart"
Peter was our guest speaker at The Gowertonian Society Dinner,Saturday, 22nd Sept 2007 at the North Gower Hotel.
Gowerton School Tour 2006
For a full report and photos of the Gowerton School Tour 2006, please click on SCHOOL TOUR 2006
Anne Ellis OBE
Gowertonian Anne Ellis has been awarded the OBE and also been made an Honorary Fellow of Swansea University.
Anne, a pioneer of women’s hockey, was capped 136 times by Wales and has captained both the Wales and Great Britain Olympic women’s hockey teams.
She was a pupil of Miss Thomson at Gowerton Girls’ Grammar School and taught at the Gowerton Comprehensive School for 32 years, retiring from her post as head of physical education in 1995.
Anne has been a member of the Sports Council for Wales since 1993 and became Vice Chair in 1999. She is also Chair of the Board of Directors for Wales National Pool and Sketty Village Sports Complex.
This year Anne was the "Chef de Mission" of the Welsh Team who competed in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March 2006. The team size was approximately 230, including athletes and coaches.
Service of Remembrance
Many Gowertonians are not aware of the Service of Remembrance which takes place each year at the Gowerton Comprehensive School.
The service recognises former pupils of the Gowerton Schools who fell in both World Wars.
Please see the Events Diary for a brief report on each year's service. Gowertonians wishing to attend the service should contact the chairman of the society, Dr Alun Jones