It is with mixed feelings that we sing the beautiful hymn in Welsh, ‘Gwahoddiad’ meaning ‘Invitation’ because so often it is sung in tribute to the passing of a current or retired chorister. Last week was no exception when we learned of the sad death on 21st July, after illness of long standing and loyal chorister 88 year old Ken Gibbs.
Ken has been a stalwart and loyal supporter of the choir for over 42 years since moving from Margam to Underwood where he was involved in local politics and was also a school governor at Llanmartin Primary School. Ken had an active varied life having also served in the army and had volunteered as a local Scout leader. Until his retirement from Choir practices at the end of last year, Ken was always to be seen from his central position amongst the second tenors with a beaming smile and a wave to all who came into the hall. Ken was devoted to our Choir which came second only to his love of his wife of 62 years Marilyn, his son and four daughters, thirteen grandchildren and six great grand children. He was well known as a devoted family man and father, for his wicked sense of humour, his friendship and warmth and can best be described a a true gentleman, loved by all. The photograph above was taken at his last appearance at the Choir Hall when he attended, proudly in his blazer and greys to see us perform on St David’s Day.
He was thrilled last November at the Wentwood Inn in Llanfair Discoed, in front of his family, many of the choir and to his great surprise, to be presented with the Choir’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Honorary Vice Presidency for his outstanding contributions and loyalty to the choir over many years.
He is sadly missed by all of us and our lives are emptier at his passing.
The choir was proud and privileged to have sung at Ken’s funeral on 5th August at Caldicot Methodist Church, presided over by Rev. Preben Andersen. Items requested by the family were ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables, ‘Gwahoddiad’ and ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ sung to music by Malotte. Shirley Anne James conducted and John Nicholson accompanied on piano.