FESTIVE LIGHTS – In and Around Resolven



These are a few of the many festive lights that

are displayed and enjoyed by us all in and

around the homes in the Resolven area, before

they are taken down and put away for another year.






















Boxing Day Hunt

The turnout was  excellent  for the annual Boxing Day Banwen Miners’ Hunt which set out, as usual, from the Castle Hotel  Neath, 

We were fortunate to have a dry spell during the proceedings, 

Mike Davies (Report, photos and video)













YouTube  link for video below


Message from NPT Councillor Des Davies

 May I take this opportunity to wish all Resolven  District News readers a “Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year”.

That said, for those who rely on the bus services as their only form of transport it’s not going to be a “HAPPY NEW YEAR”.  Many of the bus companies are reducing services throughout the Neath Valley and NPT generally from the 7th of January 2018.

Officers of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council have asked the General Manager of First Cymru if he or his representative would meet with Local Councillors to discuss issues of public concern or attend a public meeting, again to discuss issues of public concern, both requests were declined.

First Cymru is the major provider of bus services locally and is a privately owned company which is, in my opinion, putting profit before service. One example of their imposed service reduction is that the X55 service which at present is a half hourly service is being reduced to one bus an hour.

For further information contact First Cymru Customer Services 01792 572255

Or for time table information contact Traveline Cymru  0800 4640000.

Should there be a change in bus companies plan I will inform you all through Resolven District News.


Resolven International Pools Player in Malta

Congratulations to Amanda Evans of John Street Resolven, who represented Wales in a recent international pools competition held on the island of Malta.  After three years in the Welsh Ladies’  B team, Amanda was chosen for the top A side for the first time and she and her team mates did exceptionally well against women pool players from nine nations including Australia, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. –winning one more frame would have placed them in the semi- final. The Welsh team had one unexpected supporter in Malta, when Borough Councillor Des Davies walked through the door!  Des was on the island recuperating after a recent period of ill health.


Amanda is centre back row -next to Des

Des is looking back on form in this photo and we wish him the very best of health in 2018.

The New Year will bring more international appearances   for Amanda who has already qualified to play for Wales in 2018.  She is now the 4th best in the country-beating over 50 players to get there.

Well done Amanda!

Youth Quiz Night in Welfare Hall


On Friday December 9th, students from Neath Port Talbot College held a Christmas Quiz and raffle at Resolven Miner’s Welfare for the fundraising section of their Welsh Bacc qualification. The charitywhich they decided to support was Maggie’s Cancer Care and at the end of the night the hard working girls managed to collect a total of £105 for the cause.

When attending the quiz I asked Ffion Owen, one of the organizers, a few questions on the planning behind the event. “The quiz was organized for our Welsh Bacc qualification at college. We wanted to support Maggie’s Cancer Care as they don’t only help those living with cancer but also provide help and support for the families of those suffering. The charity also helps people get back into work after recovering”. I also asked if there were any other ideas in the making to continue with their fundraising. “We plan to hold a charity curry night at Panshee’s in Skewen and we also want to do something sponsored, maybe a walk or sponsored silence.  I have really enjoyed fundraising with the girls because it’s good to be able to get to know others while fundraising money for such a good charity”,


Most of the turnout consisted of the village youth however the girls managed to sell raffle tickets to the usual visitors at the bar.

I thoroughly enjoyed attending the quiz! I thought that it provided a fun and relaxing atmosphere and got everyone into the Christmas spirit, and winning first prize wasn’t that bad either!






Let it Snow Says Mike


For RDN readers who might miss out on a white Christmas, share these scenes captured on the Brecon Beacons, Dec 11th 2017


Images by Mike Davies 

 Editor’s comment:

 Mike is a BBC Weather Watcher and his Brecon photos were shown on the main BBC news that night and BBC Breakfast Time the following morning. But he and his equally intrepid wife Maureen, who was with him on the Beacons, deserve a prize for daring too!  All the shots (120 in all) had to be taken on the move through the car window.  If they’d stopped the car they might not have got going again.




Christmas Tea Great Success

Every year, a mouthwatering Christmas Tea is held in St. David’s Church Hall, Resolven.and last Friday, I attended the event for the first time and spoke with Val Bishop, one of the main organizers, who told me more about the preparation of the tea and what happens during the event. She said, “The tea is in aid of the Church Restoration Fund and we usually expect around 90 people each year. We normally raise around £700 per year and the highest we’ve ever raised is £900. People who can’t make it on the day will give donations also. We are very grateful to the community. The tea was set up around six years ago and each year we hold a summer tea and a Christmas tea. We wanted to use the idea to provide something different for the village and we are very happy with its success”.

Val Bishop

I also asked Val Bishop if she has enjoyed being a part of the Church Restoration.   “Yes I’ve enjoyed it very much. When we saw the improvements on the outside of the Church it was worth all of our hard work. I mostly enjoy drawing the raffle each year. I am the Queen of the Raffle!”

After visiting the members who were working hard preparing for the tea, it struck me that we have some very dedicated and passionate members of the community, who really care for the village. The annual tea has proven to be a great success for the Church committee and I hope that our enthusiastic organizers can keep this popular tradition active for years to come.


Neath MP Christina Rees (1st left at back) joins the workers








































Message From Resolven Boy in Luton

  Hello Resolven District News!

Pleased to see you back with your new web site. I am interested in William Willis’s new book and to hear he is getting another one lined up, as I have a few things he may be interested in researching. I haven’t got his recent published book yet though.   I’ll see to that now.

I left Resolven in January 1950.  I live in Luton now and was 92 years old last Friday ..

  With All Best wishes to everyone for Christmas and the New Year.     

   Des Jones 

  (Councillor Des Davies’s uncle)

EDITOR—Lovely to hear from you again Des and belated Happy 92nd birthday greetings from the Resolven District News team


Super Moon Over Vale of Neath

The cold moon or super moon last night (Dec 3rd) was at a point in its orbit or perigee at which it is closest to the earth.  It can appear to be up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual.

The image was taken when the moon was rising and the skies were overcast, but I was fortunate to get a 20 minute window space, and It is superimposed on a picture of the town clock in Neath to give the full effect of the moon’s size.

 Mike Davies 

Mike’s Photos and Video from Christmas Fayre

Despite the gloomy overcast afternoon weather with dampness in the air, the Resolven residents came out in full strength on Saturday to brighten up the proceedings. There was plenty of variety in the marquee selling Christmas  bric a brac for every ones taste, and talking of taste the home made cakes and pies in the church hall were to die for,








Santa was a little late in arriving probably due to the gloomy weather that his reindeers had to fly through, but as always Santa  never lets the children down, and the joy on their faces when Santa could be heard and then seen  in the distance  through the mist was a joy to behold.

Many congratulations go to the Resolven Community Events Group who must have worked hard and long to organise such  a delightful afternoon in the run- up to Christmas for us.

 Report, photos, and video presentation by Mike Davies


Building Blocks Youth Cafe

Thomas Evans- satisfied customer

Resolven Youth Café is held on a Tuesday once a month in Resolven Building Blocks—  6.30 pm to 8 pm for school year 6 pupils to school year 11. It opened on October 17th and provides a relaxing and safe environment for the village youth to visit.  Each session’s delicacies are themed, ranging from ‘Taco Tuesday’ to Italian week, —- easy-going food at reasonable prices and as well as music, the café boasts a pool table and a hockey table.

Building Blocks manageress, Ceri Pritchard, told me” We started to meet up over a year ago when we applied for the community fund. The Youth Forum came up with the idea of having a cafe and we started to talk about it further to get money to fund it. I do think it is important for the village youth, providing additional activities for them.”

Building Blocks are soon to host other festive events.  there will be a Christmas Fair and Parent Tour of the building  on December 6th from 3-7 pm and then a Turkey Tuesday with turkey rolls, chocolate logs and lots of other festive fare on the 12th of December.  As well as the Christmas themed cafe, Building Blocks are to hold a Parent and Child Christmas sensory session and child development skills class free of charge.   So for the next few weeks, during the Christmas build up, the  Building Blocks team have  you covered for everything you need to get into the festive spirit!

Youth Forum members From L–Carley Lewis, Megan Langdon, William Pritchard, Emily Langdon, Thomas Evans, Jack Groth

Behind the cafe, the Resolven Youth Forum have put in a lot of hard work during their spare time in order to get the cafe up and running. After visiting one of their events I can safely say that I think it’s a great idea.









New Local History Book Launched In Resolven


The following is a profile of the talented author William Alun Willis. William was born and brought up in the village and is a true Resolven boy. He is well known to many as his family kept the local post office. He left the village for a while but returned to his roots and is now happily living in the village with his young family. He has a keen interest in ‘everything local’ and believes that the past and its people should not be forgotten. His latest offering gives an insight into the Resolven of today, while reminding us of what village life was like for past generations ‘back in the day’.

William’s new book, ‘RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’, has been on sale since 15th November 2017. This book chronicles the history of Resolven in photographs between 1895 and the present day. It is William’s intention to compare the old and the new by way of the local shops of the time, the Resolven Institutions, Societies and local Industries. Most of the photographs and images that William used have not been seen or published before, and include some rare pictures of village life.

‘RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’ – front cover



The new publication covers every aspect of village life such as shops, local societies, stage, transport, schools, war heroes, sport, worship and coal mining. William was keen to cover as many interests as possible. Each photograph is accompanied by detailed captions containing names and information about the subjects. Many of the eighteen chapters contain potted histories of the topics.

William spent many months gathering and taking photographs and compiling the captions and histories of the subjects. This could not have been achieved without the support and keen interest of the people of Resolven, to whom William as the author acknowledges a great debt. It quickly became apparent to him how strongly the village cares about its history and its heritage, and how this feeling is shared among older and younger generations alike.




There were so many contributions to the book ‘RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’ that William has decided to publish a second volume of photographs in the Autumn of 2018. This publication will aim to cover new subjects, such as Resolven’s great characters, its traditional pubs and historical eating places, farms, Rheola House, as well as shops and stores at the higher end of the village. Anyone who would like to to contribute is kindly asked to contact William via the address contained in the book.

Postman and Staff pictured outside the Resolven Post Office of ‘….NOW’

RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’ may be purchased directly from William, the author, at the retail price of £8.95 or from Marcia’s Shop [Resolven Post Office].



William Alun Willis was born in Resolven. His parents, Joan and Vic Willis, ran the village Post Office for more than 40 years. His mother, Joan, was a serving Justice of the Peace for more than 20 years. William attended Ynysfach Primary School, Resolven (see photo below c.1968 – author is 4th pupil from left in the back row).

Ynysfach School pupils – 1969

William started writing comedy scripts with his close friends Eurfyl Davies and Geraint Evans whilst studying for ‘A’ Levels at Dwr-y-felin VI Form College, Neath. Publishers W.H. Allen took an interest, and encouraged the author to try to write professionally.

William attended the University of Wales at Swansea, gaining a combined honours degree in Social History, Sociology and Social Anthropology. However, much of his ‘studying time’ was spent writing and editing the University ‘Rag Mag’ – a charity publication. William was also editor of ‘The Beck Mail’, a residential hall newspaper.

In 1984, William gained his post-graduate qualification in Social Work Studies (specialising in Childhood and Adolescent Behaviour) at Southampton University, before returning to Swansea University to take up the post of Press Officer.

William worked in the training department at Milland Road (under the auspices of Neath Borough Council) for more than twenty years, specialising in special needs teaching and, later, key skills training. He became Training Officer for Neath Borough Council at Milland Road in 1988.

Between 1990-91 William took a gap year, first back-packing around Egypt, Libya and the Sudan; then accepting a year’s TEFL contract at the English Education Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he taught English to professional groups such as doctors, architects and businessmen.

William returned to work for Neath Borough Council in 1991, where he met his partner, Joanna, in 1994. They have been together for 23 years, and have two wonderful children.

In 2001, William began writing for radio and television (see last section of this article), but also decided to re-train as a Law Costs Draftsman [legal accountant], from which job he recently withdrew to take up professional writing again.



William’s first local history book was co-written with his cousin, Alun Evans, and was entitled ‘GHOSTS AND LEGENDS OF THE VALE OF NEATH’. William also illustrated the publication. A foreword was provided by Chris Stuart of BBC Radio Wales.

The book related some of the many supernatural stories about the Neath Valley, including: the Hounds of Hell; the Fountains of Paradise; King Arthur at Craig-y-Dinas; the Devil’s Pathway; Edward II at Neath Abbey; the Ghostly Mera; the White Lady of the Gnoll; the Old Lady of Water Street; the Farmhouse Monks; the Dance of Death; the Schoolhouse Haunting; and the Hitchhiker of Briton Ferry.

Published in 1987, this title sold two-thousand copies in 3 months, but is now out of print. Copies are occasionally available via e-bay or local second-hand bookshops.



Later in 1987, the author and Alun Evans co-wrote/illustrated another book, ‘FOLKTALES AND SUPERSTITIONS OF THE VALE OF NEATH’, which was also a sell-out success.

This book chronicled some of the many traditional folktales linked to the Vale of Neath, including the giant Ysbyddaden Pencawr, the lovers Cilhwch and Olwen, the mischievous fairies known as Tylwyth Teg, the Green Goddess, the Water Horse, the Mari Llwyd, Guto Bach, and Tam and Merin’s encounter with the hobgoblins.

Although sadly now out of print, copies of ‘FOLKTALES AND SUPERSTITIONS OF THE VALE OF NEATH’ are occasionally available via e-bay or local second-hand bookshops.





In 1993, William wrote and illustrated his first solo publication, ‘OLD CRAFTS AND CHARACTERS OF THE VALE OF NEATH’. BBC Wales Producer/Presenter Anita Morgan provided the foreword.



This book was a history of all the traditional crafts practiced in the Vale of Neath, such as coopering, tanning, smithying and wheel-making, and also looked at local characters such as the the drover, the tinker, the apothecary, the rat-catcher, the cockle-seller and the poacher. Owing to the much larger print-run for this publication, some copies are still available via the author. The retail price is £3.50 (softback, 44 pages including covers).









In 2001, William entered a competition run by the BBC – ‘The Celtic Nations Comedy Cup’ – which was aimed at developing new comedy writers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. William was fortunate to be chosen as one of the winning Welsh entries, with a prize of his winning comedy play being staged at the West End in Glasgow. As a result of this, William was given a commission to write a comedy series for the BBC.

In 2002, the comedy series ‘Do It Yourself’ was completed, which followed the exploits of the staff at Dragon DIY and Pet Store. All six episodes of this first series were recorded before a live audience at Resolven Miners’ Welfare Hall in February 2003. The series was directed by ‘Only Fools and Horses’ director Gareth Gwenlan, produced by Darren Broome, and featured an all-star cast from Welsh comedy television and radio. The show was a resounding success, and over the next 5 years another four series (24 episodes) of ‘Do It Yourself’ were commissioned from William, and were recorded before live audiences in a range of local theatres, such as the Coliseum in Aberdare and in the Cwmaman Institute.

In 2007, William wrote another series for the BBC – ‘The Harder They Fall’ – a six-part comedy which followed the trials and tribulations of a compensation law firm. Gareth Gwenlan directed, and Paul Forde produced the series. The cast included veteran actress Margaret John (‘High Hopes’), Brian Hibbard (‘Twin Town’ and ‘The Flying Pickets’), and Richard Mitchley (‘Blackadder’ and ‘Dr Who’). This time, the complete series was recorded before a live audience at the BBC studios in Cardiff.

William has only recently returned to professional writing after taking time out to help raise his two children. Among other projects, he is currently working on ‘Richman’s World’, a comedy pilot episode for television.