Years of bridging the gap between North and South

FUW Carmarthenshire assistant county secretary (1961-66) and Denbighshire county secretary (1966-1990)
Meurig Voyle reveals his memories of working for the union…

MEETING AND GREETING: From left, FUW head office supervisor Margaret Shepherd, former insurance administrator Cynthia Andrew, Meurig Voyle, finance officer Kate Ellis Evans and former IT officer Debbie Jenkins outside the FUW pavilion at the Royal Welsh Show in 1991.

MEETING AND GREETING: From left, FUW head office supervisor Margaret Shepherd, former insurance administrator Cynthia Andrew, Meurig Voyle, finance officer Kate Ellis Evans and former IT officer Debbie Jenkins outside the FUW pavilion at the Royal Welsh Show in 1991.

THIS year I will have lived in Denbigh for 49 years and I thank the FUW for the privilege of providing a service for farmers in Denbigh and Flint and for the good times I’ve shared with numerous friends outside the farming circle. I treasure the memories that I have. The first three people that came into the office to see me were, the late Mr William Howatson, Singrug; Mr John Edwards, Penycefn and the Rev W I Cynwil Williams, pastor of Capel Mawr. In those days, there was a difference between the North and South dialect. On my second night in Denbigh I gave a talk in Llannefydd and I must admit I did struggle to understand the way they spoke. Towards the end of the meeting I overheard two brothers whispering quietly to each other: “I think he’ll make a good County Executive once we understand what he’s saying.” I learned a valuable lesson during the early days when I tried to make arrangements to visit a farm to complete some forms. The farmer wasn’t the easiest to get along with and did not have a very good reputation. I was incredibly busy at the time and, trying to be helpful, I suggested that I called with him on a Sunday afternoon to complete his forms. Naturally, I thought I’d receive a positive response but to my astonishment he replied by saying that I was not to call at his farm on a Sunday afternoon to complete forms! I have never forgotten that incident. I received a warm welcome at numerous farms and I remember calling at a farm where the family had 10 children and the wife invited me to have food with them. I replied by saying: “No thank you, you have more than enough to do with the children, husband and yourself.” The wife replied by saying that another one won’t make a difference. The children have now grown up to be pillars of their communities. A lady came to see me regarding her father’s will. She had inherited the house and her sister was to receive £15,000 – both represented equal amounts back then. The lady had a dilemma when she wanted to sell the house for £50,000. She was perfectly entitled to accept the price, but she wanted to treat her sister fairly. She split the difference between £50,000 and £15,000. That example of principle has made a lasting impression on me. I returned home from a committee meeting in Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant one evening, and a farmer phoned me the next morning to ask if I’d seen anything special on my way home the night before. I hadn’t seen anything, but threequarters of a field had been ploughed during that night! After I joined Capel Mawr one member, in particular, made an impression on me as a Christian, Miss Lilian Roberts. I went to see her after she had fallen and hurt her face and arms. I asked her how she was and, as usual, she replied: “Surprising that you haven’t asked what state the other person’s in!” I remember the late Rev J H Griffith was most annoyed that the congregation of the church had fallen below 400 for the late service. This has no comparison to the decline in numbers today. I am most thankful for all the memories from the North as well as those from my time working with the union in Carmarthenshire.

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