Resolven History Society ~ October Meeting

Renewing Your Bus Pass

St. David’s Cream Tea 2019

Sunrise over the NeathValley

Sunrise over the Neath valley 22/09/2019
Image by RDN photographer Mike Davies

Message from Transport for Wales

Our Valleys (Transport for Wales event) – Neath Port Talbot

Want to find out more about what’s happening in Neath Port Talbot? We’re holding our next Our Valleys, Our Community, Our Stations event at the Castle Hotel in Neath on 19th September. Join us from 4 pm to find out more about Transport for Wales’ plans for rail services in your area

Neath Railway Station -Image by MIKE DAVIES

Melissa Gnojek—-Rugby International

 Resolven might not have a women’s rugby team but it does have women rugby players. Charlotte Griffiths and Melissa Thomas, to name two, and now 18 year old Melissa Gnojek .

Originally Melissa joined the Resolven Juniors mixed team as under 9’s and played alongside Wales Under 18’s player Bradley Roderick for about 2 seasons. Melissa first love at this time however was Acrobatics a hobby she had pursued since she was 6 years old.  Melissa thrived within the discipline winning numerous competitions.  She also was part of Western Warriors a local cheerleading squad again competing nationally.

Melissa first got back in to rugby around the age of 15 when  Sioned Harries the current no 8 for Wales Women started a girls rugby team in Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera.  Sioned recognised that Melissa had a natural talent for the game and during one match made the comment “if Melissa played rugby she would get a Cap”.  Melissa joined NPT Hawks in the summer of 2016.  The Hawks is an initiative by the WRU to create Girls rugby hubs in each of the Rugby Regions. Melissa was also attending Bonymaen RFC who were trying to establish a girls youth side.   Sioned Harries encouraged Melissa to attend an open talent ID session for the Ospreys Girls Under 18 team.  93 girls attended that session and around 40 made the original cut.  Josh Humphreys, Head Coach, has since told Melissa that she only just made that cut and that they took a chance on her because of her lack of experience and because she didn’t have a club.

Melissa then signed for Seven Sisters Youth and made the final Ospreys squad selection and after her very first season at the Ospreys was named Back of the Year and nominated for the Ospreys Under 18’s most promising player at the main Ospreys awards.  In April 2017  Melissa was selected to play for West Wales vs East Wales and scored a great try under the watchful eye of Wales Women Head Coach Rowland Phillips.  Melissa went on to complete 2 further seasons with the Ospreys winning Ospreys Most Promising Player at the end of both seasons. Melissa Captained the side for her final season.

In April 2018 as part of Rowland Phillips plan to develop young talent in readiness for the Women’s World Cup 2021, an Emerging Wales Women’s side was announced to play Emerging England in the Principality Stadium.  Melissa was amongst those selected to play and they Beat The English!!!  The following year 2019 Melissa was selected again to play for Emerging Wales and was proudly named as Co-Captain of the side and they beat the English Again!

Melissa has recently played her first game for the Senior Ospreys Women team and has been selected in the Wales Under 18’s Sevens squad to play a Home Nations tournament.

There is a lot of time and commitment given By Melissa (and her parents) she is currently training every day between Seven Sisters, Ospreys and travelling to WRU National Centre of Excellence at the Vale Resort to train with the Wales sevens team.  Melissa’s natural ability for the game may run in the family on both sides with both her paternal grandfather and maternal great great grandfather playing for Neath, but it is Melissa’s commitment and desire to achieve that drives her own.  Melissa is often told that she is very coachable and it is this quality that continues to see her develop and improve her game.

Melissa does however keep her hand in with Acrobatics and Contemporary Dance by coaching and teaching when she can at her Auntie’s Dance School – X-Qlusive Dance Company.  These along with Rugby all require teamwork as well as individual skill and Melissa  has a real flair for coaching and encouraging others to do their best.

Over the past 3 years Melissa has seen vast improvements in the Women’s Game and the promotion of the sport.  There is still a long way to go to equal the Men’s game but steady progress is being made.

Community Flu Clinics 2019

Resolven Welfare Social Club on BBC Wales TV


Down The Social with Owen Money

In this 4-part series, Owen is joined by Ebbw Vale performer Mandy Starr to visit a number of different social clubs.  The first episode is at the Merthyr Ex Servicemen’s Club on Monday 16th of September at 7.30 pm

The second episode features Resolven Miners Welfare (Monday 23rd September at 7.30 pm) and sees the comedian and Radio Wales presenter visit a club that was once the pride of its Valley, but now faces an uncertain future


Resolven Miners Welfare– Contrary to appearances on the outside, inside the club is thriving and hugely popular with its 200 members. And it holds another secret –   a part of it that very few people now get to see.

Joined by veteran club performer Mandy Starr, Owen is taken behind locked doors to a hidden art-deco theatre. They both get a chance to explore the 340-seat hall, that was once home to vibrant opera nights and entertainment shows. However, it’s been left in a dilapidated state ever since its doors closed 17 years ago when it was deemed unsafe for the general public.

 Those performing at the club today are getting by with a makeshift stage now in the bar area. But there is a hope that, one day, the theatre can return to its glory days.

The club faces an even bigger, more pressing problem though – the general state of the building. Unless they can find the money to make the building safe, the insurance company won’t cover them, and they’ll have to permanently close the doors on Resolven Miners Welfare. They’re in a race against time as they have just four weeks to find the £10,000 they’ll need to make the building safe.

Owen digs deep into the history of the club, and how it’s helped out the community in times of need. In the early months of the 1984 Miners Strike, the women of the club set up a soup kitchen – the first in the country – to help support and feed the kids of miners who were surviving for months without income. Club Stewardess Diane Sims tracks down video footage of those events to give a younger generation an insight why places like the social club really matter.



Resolven Ladies’ Bowls Finals

Mother and daughter, Carwen Thomas and Ceri Holmes, faced each other in the Two Wood Final on Saturday.  After a wonderful display of bowling skills from both players , Ceri won by one shot after  an extra  end  needed to be played to decide the winner.




Carwen,Ceri and Christine Twaite (marker)

Carwen, who has enjoyed  a very successful season, then went on to face Brenda Rees in the Club Championship Final.   Brenda took the title and created a club record by doing so at the age of 83!   Never!!!





Brenda, Chris (marker) and Carwen


Ceri (Club Captain) receives her Two Wood  Singles Trophy from  Club Chairwoman Brenda


Brenda (Club Chairwoman) receives her Club Champion’s Trophy from Club President Iris Thomas

Another enjoyable season on the green ends  -our 33rd!  Roll on the 34th!





Report on Resolfen History Society’s AGM

The squally showers and incessant rain associated with the death throes of Hurricane Dorian, which had last week devastated the Bahamas, had a similar effect on the attendance at this year’s AGM on Monday 9th September. The meeting was poorly attended owing to a combination of illness and late summer holidays. Fortunately a quorum was achieved and the meeting took place.

The meeting began by remembering members who had passed away during the year. It is no exaggeration that the loss of two such talented historians as Phylip Jones and William Willis was a massive blow. Phylip in particular was the motive force behind the establishment of the Society in the 1980s and had been the Society’s President for many years. Indeed it was often said at the annual meeting that only Fidel Castro competed in the role of “President for life”. William’s contribution to the archiving of the history of Resolven by the publishing of three volumes of pictorial histories will leave an invaluable legacy to future generations.

There was some movement in the roles within the Society, Trefor Jones will now become Chairman in place of the long serving Mr Gwyn Thomas owing to illness, and the Secretary role will now be split between Mrs Catherine Graham and Mrs Jill Saunders. Mrs Julie Hicks will continue as the hard working Treasurer along with Transport Officers Mr David Woosnam and Mrs Val Davies. The general committee will now be composed of Mrs Mary Evans, Mrs Caryl Rees, Mrs Carole Jeffreys , David Jeffreys and Mrs Olwen Woosnam. The President’s role will remain vacant for now.

The formal business concluded with a notice of motion from the Committee establishing the foundation of an annual Phylip Jones History prize for the local schools.

Following the AGM, Trefor Jones read a further chapter from the fascinating autobiography of Joe Cookson. This year it revolved around the reasons that the family had come to the Resolven area from Aston, Birmingham in the Edwardian era. It revealed a world which had many parallels with today and also some notable changes in social attitudes.

To conclude , the History Society has been active in Resolven for over thirty years and remember it is yours, please support it.


Neath Fair


Every year, we host an Historic Open Air Event, in the centre of Neath.  It attracts crowds from  far afield  and is recognised as the fourth largest Chartered Street Trading Fair in the UK.



This annual event has been going on in the busy centre of Neath for many hundreds of years and is a huge favourite with the locals. The fair we know today with its stalls set up through the streets and its vibrant Fairground rides are very different to the original fairs of 700 years ago.

Traders from the UK and recently Europe, have been attending this four day event. Products range from textiles, bulbs and plants, china, pottery and many more making the total of up to 140 stalls, around the streets of Neath Town Centre. Many of the shops will be open late to coincide with the Fair, giving people a chance to browse.


All car parks (with the exception of Milland Road) will be open with free parking after 6pm!
Neath Multi Storey car park’s opening times have been extended to 11pm.

 Neath Port Talbot Council




Clyne Mission Harvest Celebration


Neath Road Clyne SA11 4BW



‘Give thanks to the Lord for He is good’


———— Join us for our  ————



              Sunday SEPTEMBER 29th  11.00am & 6.00pm

Speaker: Pastor Peter Mitchell (Clyne)


Monday SEPTEMBER 30th  at 7.00 pm

Guest Speaker: Rev. Adrian Brake

(Carmarthen Evangelical Church)


Clyne Free Mission Evangelical Church SA11 4BW




News from Sardis Baptist Church


Sardis Baptist Church will be holding Harvest Thanksgiving on Sunday  22nd 0f September.   In the morning at 10 30 am there will be a Family Service and at 6 pm Sunday Worship.  Afterwards, the produce from the Harvest will be shared between Neath Food Bank and Teen Challenge Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Gorslas.

We all have so much to give God thanks for.  Come along.  We would love to see you


 The annual Macmillan Coffee Morning will be held on Friday the 27th of September in Sardis Vestry between 9 30 am and 12 noon

This is a very worthy cause that  we can all play a small part in supporting by  attending the Coffee Morning.


 Sardis Community Hall has been open now for over 12 months.  Do you know that it is available for hire?  The hall is spacious with tables, chairs, heating and a well equipped kitchen.

For more details contact 01639 711398 or 07737076957


 Every Monday morning during school term, Rainbow Tots, a parent and toddler group for 3 years old and under meet in Sardis Vestry from 9.15 am till  We have lots of toys for the children to play with, books etc. as well as song time- also breakfast.

Come along and meet other parents and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a chat together.


Resolven residents cross the Irish Sea for baptism of Eira Monica Day

The recent August bank holiday was cause for great celebration in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.  Thirty six people from the Resolven area travelled over to celebrate the baptism of Eira Monica Warren Day. Eira is daughter of Carl and Jen ,sister to Aoife and granddaughter of Hugh and Janice Day, Rugby Road

. A beautiful service was held at Temples ambo Church of Ireland by Rev Ian Cruickshank.  Maddison Morgan, daughter of Edward and Adele had everyone in tears with a stunning a Capella of Calon Lan.

A great weekend was had by all, the weather was fabulous which enabled the large group to do some sightseeing with trips to Curracloe beach and The Hook lighthouse and not forgetting sampling some nightlife at a traditional Irish music session





Memories of a Resolven childhood from Nik Samuel


This is something I wrote about My Old Pal William Willis…


Memories of Childhood with “Willy Stamp”


“Oye you two, be quiet!  . I’m trying to do the balancing”

It was Victor, William’s Dad and The Balancing wasn’t some sort of Circus act, but balancing the books, which he did every Friday evening at The Post Office.

Anyway, we didn’t take much notice we were too busy fighting Germans in North Africa, in a Jeep made of pillows and cushions from The Willis’s best G.plan three piece suite.  We’d moved on from last week in France, Poland and Japan.  This was very much helped by a very nice unseen Japanese Lady who’d left us rations of biscuits and pop.

These were the winter months and all though fulfilling our childish imagination, we longed for the summer months, when we would build dens behind The Farmer’s and up Henllyn.We would build armies of Action men with Cuzy and Glynn. We had an envy of Melissa, who had a talking Action man and a Jonny Seven This was before The Comp years, where we would discover The Goodies and Monty Pythons Flying Circus( again nothing to do with The Circus)We had acquired a cassette recorder and joined by Glynn and Robert Richards started to write and record little sketches.

It was at this time that William came up with the idea of scaling the road between Sardis to the canal basin.  We plan a Friday assault starting outside the stables next to Sardis, along the pavement to the bridge and a sneaky manoeuvre at the bridge to the basin where it was only a short hop to Glynn’s house for refreshments.

We used our pocket money to purchase line rope from Place’s hardware shop and I made crampons from Welsh cake cutters sellotaped to my daps.  The rope was laid out along the pavement ahead of us and we began the crawl, with the thought of biscuits and pop ahead.  This was a Friday like I said and timing wasn’t good at a few points– Sylvia and Mervin from John Street had to step over us shaking their heads and tutting.  A bit further on, John and Ann, Wilky’s Mam and Dad did the same.  Hunger and light took over at some point and we agreed We would attempt it again the week after and abandoned that first attempt.

If all this sound a bit far fetched Glynn filmed it all on William’s Dads super eight. I know William kept the tapes (audio and film) and I hope one day that Jo, Williams wife finds them and is able to watch them with their kids and see how wonderfully daft we were.

As teenagers, we took different paths, `me with my music and William with his many talent-. writing and painting, having success with both and I remember how proud I was to be present at two recordings of his radio plays D.I.Y…and I have every book He published and signed for me.  He also did Angie and me the honour of hand writing our wedding invitations- about a hundred and fifty of them as our wedding present.

We kept in touch over the years and talked about our daftness and our adventures. He even encouraged my Son William to pursue His creative ways and was very proud when I told him that he and his work mates had won a Bafta Cymru.

I spoke to him back earlier in the year and talked about a story we were thinking about and also, putting a book of verse together using some of my few poems and the newly discovered talent of Geeky, also some of William’s words.

We never did finish the assault on Glynneath Road,

We’ll leave that till We meet again, see you later butty …

The are many other adventures I could share about William, like the bonfire nights we’d have down John Street with

Diane Evans

Stephen “Cuzy” Cousins

Glyn “Crocket” Davis

Lyn”Goyle” Hardwick

Wayne”Tom Cat” Thomas

Nigel Thomas

Marie Wrona

Sian Thomas

Marcia Davis

Melissa “Lisa” Andrews

Leighton “Wilky” Wilcocks

And I know I’ve missed many of William’s friends and they must have other memories of William …


Ref: Willy Stamp.—, William  lived at The Post office…