Women’s World Day of Prayer

Women’s World Day of Prayer takes place the first Sunday in March every year.  It is a Service put together by women and the same service is celebrated across the world, starting in Oceania and then across to the Americas.

Also, each year a different country compiles the programme and this year the women of Suriname, a small country to the north of Brazil with a population of 540,000 with 90% of those living in the coastal areas.

Why not come along and join us to find out more of this small country and to take part in what is always a beautiful service.  Everyone is welcome including men (although not many do.)

St. David’s Church Hall, Friday 2nd March at 2.30pm

Report by Ruth Jones

“Sweet Bêr Dâr: Queen of the Valley”

A  report on the monthly meeting of Resolfen History Society

This month’s speaker was the highly amusing and entertaining Huw Williams of Merthyr Tudful. Huw has visited us on many occasions and also held an adult education class in Resolven some years ago, an experience he recalls with affection. His topic this year was “Sweet Bêr Dâr”, a term which was used by its residents to describe Aberdare and its district. Its bilingual construction is indicative of the complex history of the valley and betrays far more of its history than the English version of “Queen of the Valley”. To others, including the residents of the Neath Valley, the residents were known as “Snakes”, its derivation unclear, though it may refer to strike breaking or be biblical in origin.

He described the valley at the beginning of the eighteenth century as being heavily wooded with oak trees. Indeed, a popular and probable myth in the Cynon Valley was that Nelson’s poop deck on the Victory at Trafalgar in 1805, came from Aberdare. Its geographical location as an open ended valley made migration easy for the residents of rural west Wales to migrate to the area as it was industrialised with iron smelting and coal mining in the early years of the eighteenth century. The migrants had to confront the challenge of a dangerous if comparatively well paid employment, but this was compensated by the lure of opportunity and housing which the pioneer mining valleys provided. They had to learn a new language of industrialised terms, though they and their owners remained Welsh speaking (the Cynon Valley has a distinctive Welsh accent in Welsh closer to that of Montgomeryshire which is now rarely heard, Ed.) The nature of the coal seams arranged in a syncline meant that the prized steam coal which fuelled the world became deeper and collieries such as Deep Navigation were operating over a mile underground. Recent scholarship has pointed out that much of the capital investment came from Bristol and thus the connection with the slave trade. Mr Williams pointed out that this should be viewed in the context of its time and not propelled into our more politically correct era. The prize at Aberdare was the 4’ seam, and this was eventually located by Thomas Powell at Dyffryn, so maximising a fortune and the founding of the famous Powell Duffryn Coal Company. The increase in production was dramatic.in the 1840s the production was around 12,000 tons which was largely used for smelting, but by the 1870s it stood at two million tons which was being exported around the world, fuelling the Royal Navy. Brunel himself had realised the importance of the Cynon Valley and between 1839 and 41 constructed the Taff Vale Railway which allowed the less efficient canals to be replaced by rail. This led to the development of Cardiff and Barry as major coal exporting ports.

Mr Williams, now turned to four unique features of the history of the Aberdare compared to the rest of south Wales. Firstly, the area was the first to have an iron bridge spanning a river. He discussed the claims of Abraham Darby at Ironbridge and other claimants on the Taff but was convinced that the first was on the Dare. Secondly, the Cynon Valley was the first valley to become exclusive to the production of coal. By 1870, the coal foundries had disappeared and coal mining dominated, twenty years before the Rhondda Valleys. This over reliance was remarked upon at the time as being very dangerous economically, since any hiccup in the coal trade would affect the area disproportionately. This became apparent when the still productive coal mines closed in the twentieth century.

Secondly, the Duffryn Colliery was the site of the first modern industrial dispute in 1843. Powell Duffryn dismissed 69 men and replaced them with another 200. This caused uproar, especially among the wives, who caused havoc by throwing pans and kettles at the new workers in favour of their partners. Cornish workers from the tin mines lasted one day when brought in to work, in the face of this militant sisterhood. Mr Williams stated that the role of women in the coalfield had always been prominent and that it was untrue that this had only appeared in the 1984/85 strike.

A third feature, was the fact that Aberdare was the scene of the first explosion and major coal disaster, when in August 1845 scores of men and boys as young as 10 years of age were killed by a combination of an explosion and carbon monoxide poisoning at Powell Duffryn. The Jury at the inquiry which was composed mostly of coal owners,met at the Boot Inn Aberdare and suggested that the cause was the poor ventilation of noxious gases at the colliery. This was later rectified by Nixon at the Deep Navigation colliery.

By 1851, the population of Aberdare stood at nearly 15,000, which though this would be eclipsed by Merthyr, gave it the fourth unique claim to be the first truly industrial community dominated by KingCoal.

Following a lengthy question and answer session, Trefor Jones thanked Mr Williams for a highly informative talk.

Trefor Jones

Resolven Bowlers in Welsh Team

Congratulations to Simon Ace (seen left) and Stephen Allen (seen right) on being selected to represent Wales at the British Home Series Internationals in Paisley (Scotland) in March.

This follows on from them gaining their first caps in 2017 in Belfast.   Simon will also represent Wales in the British singles championship after he won the Welsh National title in 2017. He has followed that up by reaching the 2018 Champion of Champions Final losing out to Daniel Salmon in a close fought match.

Both the players play for Pontardawe Indoor B.C. in the Welsh club championships along with other Resolven bowlers: Nigel James, Ned Kelly; Gareth Evans; Martin Addis; Godfrey Brown; Shane James.

Currently Pontardawe are having a good season having won the West Division to qualify for the Play offs for promotion to the Premier and they are still in the Welsh Cup their next opponents being Heatherton. The over 60’s team have also reached the quarter finals of their team championship.

With the indoor season ending in March there is still much to look forward to before the outdoor season starts on Resolven Bowling Green

Good luck to Simon and Stephen in the March Indoor International Series









Both photos courtesy of Trevor Robinson Photography









Community Companions

Table Tennis in Resolven

Table Tennis has been played in Resolven since the 1950’s at both the Miners’ Welfare and George Kent factory.


Some of the Welfare players: John Wicks, Ken Lewis, Denzil Sandry, Evan John Evans.

  Viv Hill, Denny Funning, Ron Rees, Len Jones, Selwyn Twaite.

Also seen L and R at end of top row—Fred Monk and Ces Funning

The George Kent team in 1958 included Ivor Lewis, Hopkin Richards, William Thomas, Ron Davies, and Glyn Vivien

In the 1960’s & 70’s Resolven YMCA carried on the tradition under the leadership of Don Fearn and Bill Owen who entered a team in the Swansea League, such was the success that very soon there were as many as 7 teams playing from the YMCA. In this time they won every division from 1 – 7 the only title to elude them being the Premier.

John Fryer, Dennis Bailey, Godfrey Brown,

Ken Guard, Glyn Davies, Royston Stock, Ken Davies. Keith Jones

There were so many players it is hard to remember them all but they included:

 Rennison Edwards, Glyn Howells, Royston Stock, Keith Arnold, Conway Rogers, Keith Jones, Idris James, Paul Rees, Keri Guard, Peter Guard, Godfrey Brown, Dennis Bailey, Tony Sharpe, John Fryer, Ken Lewis, Len Jones, Ken & Glyn Davies, Terry Edwards Bert Geoghan, David Beynon, Gareth Evans. If anyone from these eras knows of more please let us know.

In 1977 due to the declining interest in the YMCA, 2 teams moved to the Cam Gears Sports and Social Club where we are still playing. Players at that time were Gareth Evans, Paul Rees, Keri Guard, Ken Davies, John Fryer, Tony Sharpe, Terry Edwards.

The club runs a thriving social night on Mondays (6 – 9) where players of all abilities and ages play each other and have some good exercise the club has 4 tables and supplies the bats and balls, if you want to try it out.   For anyone interested in playing an alternative sport which can help to keep you healthy and can be played by all ages from 8 – 80 you might consider table tennis as a social evening or if you are really interested you could progress to playing in the Swansea League and even further afield depending on your ability.  We run 4 teams in the Swansea League- one in the Premier division, two in division 1 and one in division 2. (Besides Resolven residents we have players from the Neath area, Hirwaun, Merthyr and Tredegar.)

With so many players having played for our club it is rewarding to see that they have been recognised further afield such as Natasha Rees of Cwmgwrach who went on to represent Wales at a Commonwealth Games in India. The club has had 2 wheelchair players in Martin Evans (Tonna) and Neil Robinson (Laleston) who have represented Great Britain at various Paralympics and have won medals. Neil is now a coach for the British Paralympics table tennis team.

Martin Evans and Keith Jones with Betty Gray MBE (President of Swansea League

Players have also represented the Swansea League in the Welsh League including Gareth Evans, Randall Sims, Morgan Siddley and Ceri Higgon.


***Gareth has represented West Wales as a director on the board of Table Tennis Wales and for a number of years organised and ran the Welsh League Championship. He is currently secretary for the Swansea League.

As secretary of the Cam Gears table tennis club he would like to have more Resolven residents take up the sport either socially or with a view to play in the Leagues. He has been playing for 57 years and would like to pass some of his experience on to new players and old players if they would like to return to the game— Emphasis being on enjoyment, keeping moderately fit and meeting new people.

His telephone number  is 01639 710475, mob 07854032758.

 Email:  gareth_evans3 @hotmail.com

Some of the Monday night group in Cam Gears Club:

BACK ROW- John Jones, Bob Cutting, Nick Arnold, Paul Gillespie

FRONT ROW- Dai Davies,Gareth Evans, Richard Norton









Caretaker/Cleaner Needed

Resolven Community  Council has a vacancy for the above post.

Duties include opening and closing the Community Centre when required and general cleaning.

For further details and job description please contact the clerk by phone or email:


Clerc i’r Cyngor (Clerk to the Council)–Cheryl Payne

6, Llys Bethania, Railway Terrace, Resolven. Sa11 4HG

Tel: 01639 711139

Mob: 07814 777854

Applications to be received by 28th February 2018


                            Resolven Community Centre







Winter Returns to the Brecon Beacons





I took the  above images from the village of Defynnog on January the 2nd. 

Mike Davies 




Super Blood Moon Over Vale of Neath

Jan 31st —the super moon rose in the UK’s night skies and coincided with a supermoon, making it appear 14 percent brighter.  There is a supermoon when a full moon orbits closest to earth and a  blood moon is just another name for a full moon that’s going through a total eclipse. The nickname refers to the moon’s rusty-reddish tint caused by the reflection of sunlight, during the eclipse. Many viewers in certain parts of the world were blessed with seeing a lunar eclipse but not here in the UK


This image was taken over the Vale of Neath, and I was fortunate as we had heavy cloud, and when the moon was rising the clouds parted allowing me a fantastic view of our nearest celestial neighbour.

Mike Davies











Jobs Vacancies at Building Blocks



We currently have a number of vacancies at Building Blocks. 

The link to our website and the vacancies is below.


Ceri Pritchard (Manager)


Social Group For Ex-Miners and their Families

The CISWO Social group which meets in the Welfare Hall in Resolven is currently inviting new members to join.

The group meets at 10.30am every other Tuesday.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 13th February 2018.

Activities include guest speakers, quizzes, bingo and free day trips.

The group is supported by CISWO (Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation) which is a registered Charity (no 1015581) and members must either have worked in the mining industry themselves or have been married to an ex-mineworker.

For further information please call Claire on 01443 485233

What species of birds visit your garden?


 MIKE DAVIES           I am very fortunate to have a garden on the edge of a field in which I get a variety of birds visit the feeders.  The changing seasons will bring in different species, although Blue Tits and the like will visit all year, and often build a nest in the bird box, and I have been blessed to see the youngsters fledge.



 I always keep a look out to see if “Woody” will return, as he has been visiting for many years.  Woodpeckers  can live up to 11 years, but later in the year they will bring their youngsters here to feed, and it is often the youngsters that will visit throughout the year,


Anoher species I love are the long-tailed tits they tend to arrive like a group of locusts.   They feed on/off throughout the day.  They are  pretty birds.


I have to watch out for the Sparrowhawk–a small bird of prey.  adapted for hunting birds in confined spaces like dense woodland, so gardens are an ideal hunting ground for them especially if there youngsters ready to fledge the nest. I happened to look out one morning and there he was on top of the shed waiting for the opportunity to attack. After taking this picture he was soon off.







Starlings are in decline, I used to have many over the years, but the last 2 years nothing then the other  afternoon I heard a commotion in the garden and to my surprise there were many starlings with their young.On route to their nesting place, the young were needing food and what better stop- over for 2 days than in my garden?

Here is the result of that afternoon, as you can see the parent bird was reluctant to feed the youngster till he/she settled down.

I am sure RDN readers would be delighted to see the birds in YOUR  garden.  Why not send them to us/

Here is the short but interesting video of the starlings in action in my garden!  Click on link below


MIKE DAVIES (story and pictures)




Resolfen History Society February Meeting




Meeting begins at 7: OO PM in



Membership: £10 (including refreshments)










Good News from Library

  Starting on Wednesday January 17th the library will be open from 5-7 every Wednesday evening 

We hope that this will benefit our customers that are unable to access the library during the day due to work commitments-we now have new up-to-date computers with windows 10 and colour A3 printer and scanner as well as our usual photocopying and printing facilities

Maureen Bradley

Cathy Hadley

(Library volunteers)

Celebrations for Stan


Stan Crawley is regarded by many as having Resolven roots, after spending over 60 years in Resolven, but he was brought up four miles up the valley in ‘the Lamb’ in Glynneath. Born on 13th January 1928, one of five children, he had three brothers, Alwyn, Edwin and Dai and a sister Moreen. Sadly, Moreen and Dai are no longer with us, Edwin lives n Bournemouth and was unable to attend but Alwyn and his wife Gloria who live in Glynneath attended brother Stan’s celebrations.

Stan lost his Dad when he was eleven years old and as a teenager, did a variety of jobs in the locality including working in a butchers shop until he received his National Service papers (which was normal practice for young men in the 1940s up until the late 1950s).

Stan already had an early interest in the Services as he had joined the TA’s (Territorial Army) when he was old enough to do so.

During his three years in the Army he spent time in Palestine and has medals to show for his efforts in the Services which he has proudly displayed when he has attended the Remembrance Services at Resolven.

However, Stan’s Army duties were cut short when he and a great many others were ordered (by the Government) to return to ‘do their duty’ and work ‘down the mines’ as coal had become a very precious commodity for the country.

He married Stella Totterdell in 1953 at St David’s Church, Resolven.

Stella’s father was the local Policeman and the name of Sergeant Totterdell is still well spoken of by older residents, who were the generation of young men growing up in Resolven. They remember him as being fair but very firm, with a ‘no nonsense’ attitude and strict manner that seemed to work at that time.

They lived in Rugby Road with Stella’s parents until such time (around about 1958) they were able to move into their new home, a ‘newly built’ semi detached house nearby. This was convenient for Stella and Stan as they both worked in Resolven.

Stan worked in Cam Gears for most of his working life until he retired early to care for Stella.

Stella worked for many years in the Employment Office in Commercial Road (better known as the local Job Exchange) until she gave up due to ill health.

In his earlier years Stan was an active sportsman, playing football and cricket, later becoming a ‘golfing man’ and a regular visitor to Glynneath Golf Course.

Stella has not enjoyed good health over the years but Stan has always been by her side giving his full support.

They have been able to enjoy many holidays and have lovely memories of being together, in this country and abroad, travelling around in the car towing their caravan.

Stan and Stella now reside in the Hollins Care Centre, Cimla, Neath and are happy and settled and still content just to be together and take life as it comes.


On Friday, 12th January, 2018, the Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Councillor Mr Dennis Keogh visited the Hollins Care Home to give his congratulations and best wishes to Stan on his 90th.


Stan and Stella have two children, a daughter Susan (married to Peter) and a son Stephen, (married to Pam). They have two grandchildren, Michael and Rachel.

Recently there has been a new addition to the family as Stephen’s son Michael and his wife Kat are now proud parents to 5 month old Matilda, a new great grand-daughter for Stan and Stella.

On Saturday, 13th January 2018, the family held a special 90th birthday celebration for Stan at the Glyn Clydach Coach house. The family and close friends came from Glasgow, Dorset, Cwmafan, Glynneath and the Resolven area.




There was a gatecrasher to Stan’s Birthday Party

Gatecrasher – Hugh{SeanHL}





Stan and Stella have been married a long time, over 60 years in fact and are a devoted couple who have successfully faced all of life’s problems together.

It was heart warming to see them both looking well and happy and enjoying Stan’s special celebration birthday with family and friends.

Many congratulations Stan and well done on your 90th.

From the RDN team

Lorna and Hugh Lewis

Resolven School Photos 1959/60

Hello Resolven District News!

I came across your site whilst googling for a newspaper local to Resolven.  I lived in Resolven from 1957 to April 1961 before moving to Reading where my family still lives.  Last week, whilst with my mum, we were going through the box of old black and white photos , she brought out some class photos  taken during our time at school in Resolven.

Photo 1 is of my nursery class in1960.   Photo 2 shows my brother Peter’s class in 1960 and Photo 3 shows my sister Susan’s class in 1960.  Photo 4 is dated 1959 and is Susan’s class again.

I had never seen these photos before.  My mum had written our classmates’ and teachers’ names, as far as she knew them, on the back of the photos.. I would be delighted to be able to confirm names and add names to complete these lists with the help of RDN viewers

 Miss Williams, Miss Noreen

Sian Evans/Karen/Colin Bennards/Ian/Leyton Case/Davies/Michael Lewis/Keryn Weefer/Alan/Carol/Alison

 Sally Nicholls/Georgean/Gillian Davies/Julie James/Cathryn Perry/Linda/Janie/Pat/Molly Evans/Linfa

 Howard Rees/Stephen/Wayne Jenkins/Geoffrey/Wayne Addiscot/Owen/Randall

I have always known that my best friend at the time was Georgean, but it was the first time I have ever seen this photo. She is sitting next to me in the photo —  I even named my doll after Georgean. My only other recollection of my nursery days (and they may not be correct) is having camp beds set up to have a sleep and eating custard cream biscuits or jammy dodgers from a round tin at playtime.


Peter Nicholls/Roy Gillespie/Adrian Davies/Paul Tregonning/Melville Morgan/Keith Llewellyn/Lynn Gillard/Ivor Jones/David Weeter

 Katrina/Judith Pritchard/Nicholas Jarrett/Robert Bordon/GarethEdwards/Lynn Evans/Julia Roner/Pat Jones/Gina

 Jane Newberry/Frances Lewis/Christine Price/Theresa Leman/Heather Davies/Wendy James/Linda Roberts/Joyce Welstead/Jean Powell/Pauline Billen

 Christopher Osborne/John Davies/Tony Davies/Maldwyn Machie


Jimmy/Howell Rees/Peter Williams/Stephen Perry/Glen Alan/John Morgan/Lyn Davies/Alan Jenkins/Lyn Jones

 Judith Jones/Ceryl Norton/Gillian Winters/Ann Jones/Linda Jenkins/Peggy O’Donnall/Kathleen Williams/Glynis Collard/Jane Sweetman


 Karen Hale/Colleen Beynon/Eluned Davies/Janice Morgan/Pam Wellbourne/Julie Davies/Susan Ncholls/Cheryl Davies/Deborah Jenkins/Yvonne Godfrey

 Kerry Roberts/Colin Sims/Michael Jones/Gareth James




The above  is  my sister Susan’s class too.  I believe she also also appears in a photo on your website that is dated 1957-58.

I scrolled through the school photos on your website but couldn’t find the 4 photos  I’ve sent you and I would love to complete the names for them. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could do this please?

. I would be particularly interested to make contact with Georgean.

I look forward to hearing from you.

 Helen Corps (née Nicholls and known at school by the name of Sally)

 Many thanks for taking the trouble to send us the photos and all the information, Helen –very welcome additions to our photo gallery.  But before we put them in place,  if there is anyone out there with names to add, call in Marcia’s shop or email us at: