07777683637 rlloydpr@btinternet.com

South Wales Evening Post column, May 17, 2024

Robert Lloyd PR, Media and Marketing Consultancy News, Newspaper columns South Wales Evening Post column, May 17, 2024

News Newspaper columns

South Wales Evening Post column, May 17, 2024

Posted By RobertLloyd58

FEEDBACK is much appreciated when it comes to this weekly column – if only to reassure me that some folk are reading and paying attention!

There’s been quite a bit of reaction to last week’s piece about Hollywood legend Glynis Johns being buried in Burry Port, particularly from local historians who are trying to patch together the area’s links with her dad Mervyn.

Martin Davies, a second cousin to the Mary Poppins star, got in touch from Colchester in Essex.

Martin, originally from Pembrey explained: “I attended the burial at Jerusalem (Chapel) and – although a brief service for family only – it was lovely to know she wanted to come home to Burry Port.

“Mervyn was one of three brothers and a sister. My grandmother (his sister) and grandfather ran the grocers in Randell Square until 1964, when they retired.

“Mervyn ‘ran away’ from the family home in Elkington Road at 14 years to join the RFC (Royal Flying Corps). He was discovered to be underage and sent home, to rejoin the RAF when he was old enough.”

World War One records show that Mervyn was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1917.

Martin added: “His brothers served in the army and my grandmother was a nurse in Salonica (now called Thessaloniki or Thessalonica, in Greece).

“The family name was John, uncle Mervyn added the ‘s’ for stage presence!

“It was known to close family and friends that Glynis always wished to be buried in Jerusalem, alongside her father and his second wife Diana Churchill – another actress.

“Their family home was at the top of Elkington Road and I hadn’t realised there are other family graves in Jerusalem.”

Martin said Mervyn played many memorable roles, including Bob Cratchit in Scrooge, alongside Alistair Sim.

Martin went on: “You’re correct about Stephen Sondheim. He wrote Send In The Clowns especially for Glynis, to suit her voice.”

Glynis won a prestigious American theatre Tony award for her performance.

Those keen on finding out more about the extraordinary lives of Glynis and Mervyn Johns will find plenty of material on the internet.

As far as Mervyn is concerned, it is worth seeking out a documentary programme called Cavalry of the Clouds on YouTube. The programme features many World War One pilots and some fascinating stories from Mervyn about his time as a pilot.

Meanwhile, the email inbox has also been busy with pals of jazz musician Wyn Lodwick reflecting on his life, after I featured his story here on May 3.

Wyn’s funeral is at 10am today (May 17) at Llanelli and District Cemetery and is sure to be attended by friends from far and wide.

One of his pals was academic and historian Sir Deian Rhys Hopkin, who emailed me with some of his memories of Llanelli’s ‘Y Dyn Jazz’, The Jazz Man.

Sir Deian wrote: “I just wanted to congratulate you on a very warm, and perceptive, tribute to my old friend Wyn Lodwick. I know he would have been very touched by your comments, and glad to have shaken your hand!

“In his autobiography, he refers to our first meetings in our home town of Llanelli, and also to playing together, although he admits I was a modern jazz pianist and he was very much the traditionalist.

“Nonetheless, although we were involved in different groups and played very different styles, we often got together to assemble a group for a particular occasion, usually a function (where the guests were often puzzled by our music!) – and we also did a programme together for BBC Wales, entitled AberJazz.

“He was a great friend of the great pianist Dill Jones, with whom I also had connections (both of us, at different times, had gone to Llandovery College and we returned there for a BBC Wales documentary and a bit of duetting).

“After I left for London in 1991 we didn’t have any more opportunities to play together – though we met from time to time, and I was also delighted to talk to him about jazz, politics and sailing!”

Diolch yn fawr, many thanks to Martin and Sir Deian for getting in touch. Please keep the feedback coming; it can be a lonely life scribbling this column in the attic office. Emails and updates from readers make it all worthwhile.

The day a Wales team took a stand

RUGBY ace Glenn Webbe, widely acknowledged by most of us as the first black man to be capped by Wales *, was the guest speaker at the spring Cymru/Wales Sports Aid lunch.

Glenn, 62, made 10 appearances on the wing for Wales during the 1980s.

Glenn certainly made his presence felt at the lunch in Carmarthen, arriving in a fake fur coat.

He used his platform at the Sports Aid lunch to give a first-hand account of racism in sport.

His speech included the famous incident when Glenn was a part of the Wales youth team touring South Africa during the apartheid years.

Glenn was refused service in a restaurant, being told, “We’ve got a policy, we don’t serve black people in here.”

Famously, the Welsh team’s coach reacted appropriately to the problem.

He declared, “If it’s not good enough for Glenn then it’s not good enough for us”, before marching the whole party out of the restaurant.

Other shameful incidents were closer to home, with Glenn recalling monkey chants from the terraces of some south Wales grounds and so-called rugby fans throwing bananas on the pitch.

Glenn received a standing ovation from an audience of nearly 200 at the Ivy Bush Royal Hotel in Carmarthen.

If you want to find out more about Glenn’s life, then check out the book by my old Evening Post colleague Geraint Thomas. It’s called The Gloves Are Off and is a darned good read. Promise.

  • There’s plenty of debate about who was the first black man to be capped by Wales, with Mark Brown being the ‘official’ holder of the title as a player of ‘black origin’.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Written by RobertLloyd58

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!