It was with the greatest sadness that Caldicot Male Voice Choir was presented with the news that long standing, devoted chorister Mervyn Roberts passed away at the Grange Hospital on Thursday 14th October. Mervyn had been ill for some time and suffered the effects of Covid-19 alongside other symptoms soon after being admitted.
Mervyn was born on the 4th October 1935 in Resolven, Neath and celebrated his 87th birthday 10 days before his death. Like so many others, he transferred from Port Talbot steelworks to Llanwern steelworks in 1962 as a Heater in the Soaking Mill at where he remained for 27 years.
Mervyn joined the Choir as a baritone in 1989 following his retirement and was unique, according to Musical Director, Sian Hatton that instead of singing up and down the scales for his voice test he sang ‘I am the Lord High Executioner’ from the Mikado. This has never been repeated and is a testimony to Mervyn’s sense of humour.
Mervyn served for many years on the Committee and accepted the post of Treasurer at the crucial time of the building of the new Choir Hall in Mill Lane, Caldicot. Mervyn was exemplary in this role and thanks to his diligence and attention to detail kept the finances under control and within budget.
Mervyn, along with many others was awarded a certificate and silver lapel badge in 2013 to recognise his continuous service to the Choir for over 25 years. In 2018 he was a warded a Lifetime Achievement Award and conferred as an Honorary Vice President in recognition of his significant contribution over many years to Welsh Male Choral Singing at Caldicot.
Mervyn also spent many years supporting RAOB (The Buffs) and helped raise several thousands of pounds to aid St David’s Hospice and other charities. The Choir is proud that it joined in enthusiastically to help The Buffs in its and Mervyn’s endeavours.
Together with his late brother Theo, Mervyn had a unique joint sense of fun and both are often remembered for their antics on the call to get on the bus after an afterglow by rushing to the bar to order a final glass of whisky. On many occasions one or other was in serious danger of being left behind.
Mervyn formed many long lasting friendships with other choristers and he would often be seen reminiscing about past events including his train journeys and outings to the Mumbles and elsewhere from his home in Resolven as a child.
Mervyn was a truly dedicated chorister and rarely missed practice or concerts and it is so sad that his long career, like others had to end prematurely due to the effects of the Covid-19 virus.
Despite the tragic loss of his daughter Susan, in 2018 and the effects of his wife Kath suffering a severe stroke in January 2021, Mervyn maintained his sense of humour and would always greet choristers with a smile or a joke. Many will remember being greeted often by Mervyn in a terrible Indian accent. He maintained a brave public face throughout but those close to him knew how much he must have suffered.
Mervyn was a much loved chorister, a gentle gentleman and will be remembered and missed for a very long time. Thank you Mervyn for your devoted service to the Caldicot Male Voice Choir, your continual sense of humour and kindness which has touched all who have been privileged and honoured to have known you. Rest in Peace, dear friend.