The Early Days.
In 1967 - 68 the village of Creigiau started its transformation from a sleepy hamlet into what it is today by means of a staged process commencing with the development of Parc Castell-y-Mynach.
By the autumn of 1968, phase one had been largely completed and the new houses ( nos 1-33 ) were mainly occupied by young professional families.
The neighbourliness developed over the early summer months of 1969 and the general trend was to spend evenings at the only two hosteleries in the village, viz, the Golf Club and "Ivy’s Club" or to give it its correct name, the Constitutional Club which by 1971 had become The Creigiau Inn.
It was during one of those Friday evenings or it might have been Saturday morning at that stage !!! as they walked home from the club, that neighbours Dr Geoff Bond, Peter Brown and Howard Evans came up with the idea that the ladies should also have the opportunity to enjoy regular evenings out. So the idea that if a "Round Table" was formed, that would give the ladies an opportunity to form their own ‘Ladies Circle’, as the latter could not come without the former.
As the idea quickly gathered momentum, they proceeded to draw together those neighbours and friends from within the village that could form the basis of a new "Table" ( all of whom would have to be under 40 years of age ).
The first dinner with "Round Table" area personnel in attendance was held at the Golf Club in Late 1969 ( although precise date is unknown, it is generally agreed that it was in November 1969), where they were told that they were not sufficient in number nor large enough in area to warrant the setting up of a Creigiau "Round Table". They learnt that if they wanted to persist with the idea then they would have to ‘tag along’ with other "Tables" in the area, possibly Pontypridd or Cardiff.
This was not good enough for those like minded and farsighted gentlemen whose main objective was to pull the residents of the old village and the new development, which was growing rapidly, together and to keep that community feeling.
Subsequently they decided to form their own dining club which would meet at the Creigiau Golf Club on the first Wednesday of every month. There were 23 present at that dinner and thereafter they would be known as "Creigiau 23".
Although, it could have easily been Creigiau 22, as, Dr Peter Jones was on call and was called out to attend an emergency after only being in the meeting for a few minutes.
Out of the 23 founder members, 18 lived on Parc Castell-y-Mynach, and although some still live locally, sadly none are current members.
Those 23 Gentlemen were ( in alphabetical order),
|Mr Mike Abbott
|Dr Geoff Bond
|Mr Peter Brown
|Mr Alan Campbell
|Mr Keith Capron
|Mr Colin Casson
|Mr Brian Davies
|Mr Geraint Talfan Davies
|Mr Glyn Davies
|Mr Brian Dessent
|Mr Howard Evans
|Mr David Homphray
|Dr Peter Jones
|Mr David Morris
|Dr Wally Murfin
|Mr Brian Prichard
|Mr David Roberts
|Mr Chris Saunders
|Mr Robin Sheppard
|Mr Clive Thomas
|Mr Elwyn Tudno-Jones
|Mr John Walker
|Mr Islwyn Wigley
Since they decided to go on their own, membership was opened up to the over 40’s and as a result numbers quickly expanded to 37. A subsequent business meeting was held on January 21st 1970 and the first committee was established.
|Mr Howard Evans
|Vice - Chairman
|Dr Peter Jones
|Mr Geraint Talfan Davies
|Mr David Morris
The first formal dinner followed a few weeks later on the 4th of March 1970.
It must be noted that the idea to provide the ladies with an excuse for regular meeting has been amply satisfied through the annual Ladies Night Ball!!
The rest as they say, is history!!
Something which Creigiau 23 is very proud of is the calibre of its guest speakers during the monthly dinner meetings. Those early days were no exception. For that very first formal dinner meeting in March 1970, they had Arwel Ellis Owen. As well as being a current affair editor with the BBC, Mr Owen had himself just joined Creigiau 23.
He was closely followed by Alun Williams, Vincent Kane, Tony Lewis, Wynford Vaughan Thomas, Frank Bough and the list goes on.
Since many members had strong links with the BBC and ITV, speakers were normally drawn from the world of Media, Sport or the Arts.
As a token of our appreciation, those early speakers were given a pewter tankard and even sometimes a cigar! As the years went by and the costs went up, a motion to use a ‘cheaper’ tankard was put forward at the AGM in February 1981. Although the motion was defeated at the time, the practice of presenting a tankard was eventually dropped. Instead, a donation would be made to the Speaker’s chosen charity.
A quick bit of arithmetic would tell us that over the years we have had over 400 dinner evenings. As well as guest speakers, some evenings have been taken up by debates, away days and in February 1972 a ‘Film Show’, or to be precise a viewing of the 1971 Schweppes Cup match between Cardiff and Pentyrch, captained by one of our founders, Brian Davies.
It has to be said that a handful of speakers have even enjoyed it so much they have come back a second time! Indeed, the record must go to one of the founder members, Geraint Talfan Davies, who has been guest speaker on at least 4 occasions. His attic must be full of tankards!!
A special mention must also go to Howard Evans, Brian Davies and Dr Peter Jones. As well as being in the original 23 members, they have also been Chairmen and speakers.
In the early days, speakers were entertained at the Chairman’s home before going on to the Golf Club. By their own admission many Chairmen and Speakers were ‘well oiled’ before even getting to the Golf Club and would regularly turn up late. These days, the entertaining is done at the Golf Club, however, even that has its drawbacks. In December 2006, whilst talking to members in the bar before the dinner, a glass of red wine was ‘accidentally’ spilt over the then First Minister, Mr Rhodri Morgan. Oops!
Other notable speakers were Mr John Jackson from Vermont USA, who was our first International speaker in November 1976, and also our first Lady Speaker was a representative from the Samaritans, code named “Yvette”, who attended in October 1994.
Another speaker worth highlighting is Wynford Ellis Owen who spoke on the 4th May 2010, just over 40 years after his brother Arwel was our first speaker.
Creigiau 23 has been responsible for organising many village events. The largest and most popular, the Creigiau Carnival, in fact started in 1969, as an afternoon of sports, races, fancy dress, competitions and refreshments on ‘The Ten Acre’ field ( now Maes Cadwgan ).
As well as the local W.I., one of the people responsible for organising the sports day was Brian Davies. Brian was a Welsh international rugby player who had recently retired due to a knee injury and moved to Parc Castell-y-Mynach in 1968. Although, not playing at the highest level, he still played and coached Pentyrch at the time.
In 1975 the usual sports day was extended to include a Carnival procession. A couple of years later it moved to Parc y Fro, then, the School Playing fields and finally the Recreation Field where it gradually grew to what we have today. To this day, Creigiau 23 still takes an active part in its operation.
Quite often in those days the Sports Day would be followed by Disco/Dance at the Church Hall.
November 1973 saw the introduction of a Guy Fawkes Night and although still going, has been in recent years organised by the ‘Friends of the School’.
Other popular events are ‘Santa at the Church Hall’ and the ‘Boxing Day Walk’ started in 1973 and 1977 respectively. The walk initially organised by Arwel Ellis Owen as a casual walk through local countryside for the committee and their families together with a few friends. Today it has grown into one of the cornerstone events with a few hundred people normally present.
In those early days, the Cheese and Wine evening was always popular, for obvious reasons !! The event which started in 1976, was normally held in members' homes or in one case “Clive’s Barn”. I cannot go into too much detail for legal reasons, but it is fair to say they were boozy evenings.
Held first on 20th November 1970 for the cost of 3 Guineas for 2 people, the Ladies Night also proved to be lively ( !! ) evening, despite running out of food. A year later with decimalisation having taken place, a double ticket would set you back £3.50.
Treasure Hunt, BBQ, Summer Walk, Kids trip to the Circus/Pantomime, Wine Tasting, Disco and even a Ladies Trip !! are other events that used to be on the calendar though have not been held for a few years now.
Other Village clubs and organisations
In the early years, Creigiau 23 played a key role in the village development. The committees of the day were instrumental in pushing various authorities for the setup of a Primary School, Recreation Field, traffic control schemes, footpaths, bridges, blood donor sessions as well as leading in the fight to prevent the NCB opening an opencast site on the mountain road between Creigiau and Pentyrch.
Creigiau 23 members were also prominent in setting up local clubs. One such club was the Cricket club. The majority of the side was made up of members which in the early 70’s saw them play many friendlies, mainly against school staff and in a variety of locations including the Caesar’s Arms ground and in Pontyclun. Then, in the summer of 1974 the club joined the Cardiff Mid Week League and by the end of the summer had been promoted to Division III. Further promotion followed and by 1977 they were in Division I.
Soon after, they were joined by Gary Stevens, the Cardiff City striker, who had recently moved into the village and played cricket over the summer months. Can’t imagine that happening in today’s age somehow! A few years later, the team unfortunately disbanded.
Four years later, and thanks to the current President Dave Price, the cricket club reformed. Over 20 years later and the club is now thriving, with a junior section, 3 senior sides and a mid-week eleven. It is obvious that the club has gone from strength to strength, and are currently playing in Division 2 of the Glamorgan and Monmouthshire Cricket League although there are no Creigiau 23 members currently in the first XI.
The constant lobbying for a village sports field finally paid off, as in October 1979 Taff-Ely council finally gave permission for residents to mark out a playing area and erect some posts, but it was not until 1983 that the Recreation Field ( a.k.a The Rec ) was fully established with its own Pavilion. Although, don’t be fooled by the year 1981 marked on the pavilion’s gable end, the bricklayer claims not to have been able to do a '3' and so put a '1' instead!!
Another organisation that Creigiau 23 was instrumental in its formation was the choir. Shortly after Creigiau 23 was up and running, Howard Evans the inaugural Chairman approached a local singer, Mair Tudno Jones ( nee Roberts ), to lead a group of carol singers in an attempt to raise money for a local foster home. The money would go to buy Christmas presents for each child at the home.
The singers, many of whom were also members and their wives, formed a small choir and went under the name of The Creigiau 23 Choir. Early practice sessions were frequently held in the Chairman’s home as he was the only one with a piano at the time!!
In 1971, the Choir were at it again. Thanks to Russell Howell’s lorry, around the village they went and by now had taken in visits to Pentyrch and Groes-Faen. Driving must be in the blood, as nearly 40 years later, Russell’s son Bruce who is also now a member can regularly be seen towing Santa’s sleigh around the village each Christmas Eve.
By 1973, with the choir now having many non Creigiau 23 members, they decided to go their own way and became Cantorion Creigiau. They are still going strong today, with Mair still at the helm.
Thanks to Dr Peter Jones, the purchasing of presents continued for many years until the home closed.
In 1982, Cantorion Creigiau won the Village Choir competition at the National Eisteddfod in Swansea and again two years later in Lampeter. As well as national recognition they have also sung in many concerts overseas. Indeed, it has to be said that Cantorion Creigiau has probably achieved slightly more international recognition than Creigiau 23, although, our skiing team did achieve some sort of recognition during their 2009 trip to the French Alps, but that is another story !!
Even to this day, there is a still a link between the two organisations, with a handful that are members in both.
1976 saw another village society sprout up thanks to Creigiau 23 members, Lynn Thomas, Gabe Treharne, Ian Wilkinson, Ian Fenner, Geoff Grocott, Eric Willis, Brian Perriam and Peter Jackson, along with a few other villagers they started the allotments society or to give it its correct name, the Dynevor Gardening Association. It was so named as they met in the Dynevor Arms every month. But why the Dynevor Arms I hear you ask? Well, whilst they might tell you it was due to the fact the Dynevor had small rooms which lent themselves to such meetings, I think the fact that they served a nice pint of Bass might have something to do with it!
The association initially rented ground from British Rail in front of Station Terrace, then in 1979 they were offered the ground on the other side of the hedge at the far end of the current recreation field, where it is still going strong to this day.
The Youth Club was another club which was formed in the 70’s thanks to Brian Dessent and other Creigiau 23 members. Despite financial support from Creigiau 23, for various reasons it proved a rather stop start affair.
Fund raising for the benefit of the village has always been a key aim of Creigiau 23. In those early meetings each member put 10 ‘bob’ into a kitty, which was used to buy quart jugs of beer during the meeting, any money left would then be put aside and used to fund various donations.
With the increase in fund raising and subsequent donations to local organisations, the position of Donations Secretary and Donations Treasurer were set up in October 1973. However, in the late 1980’s they were consolidated into one.
Creigiau 23 is a non profit making organisation and all funds raised get donated back to village organisations. Since its conception in 1969, these organisations have included, The Scouts, Creigiau Primary School, Craig-y-Parc School, Cylch Meithrin, Playgroup, Cricket Club, Football Club, Tennis Club, Pentyrch Mini and Junior Rugby to name just a few, as well as local and national charities via speaker donations.
Over the years.
In the first few years, chairmen were elected each October, however, in the mid 1970’s that moved to February, with the lucky ( !! ) Chairman at the time, Elwyn Tudno-Jones, having to stand for 16 months which included 2 Ladies Nights !!
Since then, there also have been a few occasions due to ill health, work commitments, etc that the Vice Chairman has had to take up the gavel sooner than they planned and been chairman for more than the normal 12 months.
The society has never had a problem in attracting residents who want to get involved. Although it started as 23, it had climbed to over 50 within the first 3 months, and by 1978 had reached 70. However, due to the capacity of the dining room at the Golf Club, it was later reduced. Currently records show that there have been well over 260 who have been members at some stage in their lives.
Anybody that has frequented the Golf Club might have noticed a Ship’s Bell in the main bar. As well as calling last orders, the bell is also rung by the Chairman at each dinner meeting to signify the start of the meeting. However, I wonder how many Chairmen have noticed the "Creigiau 23" inscription on the Bell. The bell was presented to the Golf Club in 1981 by the former naval officer and the then Creigiau 23 Chairman, Mr Gwyn Watkeys.
1992-93 saw the redevelopment of the Golf Club, and as a result dinner meetings were held temporarily at Pentyrch Rugby Club.
A few years later in the summer of 1998 the monthly dinner evenings moved from the traditional Wednesday to Tuesday evening. Under the request of the Golf Club, this was to avoid the dinner meeting and the Golf Club’s own Wayfarers evening from clashing.
October 2003 finally saw the society enter the 21st Century when it went online with a new web site, www.creigiau23.org.uk. The web site has increased the society’s profile, with regular ‘hits’ from the US, Philippines, Sweden, France, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and even Russia !!
Finally, we would like to thank Mair and Elwyn Tudno Jones, Dr Geoff Bond, Dr Peter Jones, Brian Davies, Geraint Talfan Davies, Arwel Ellis Owen, Howard Evans and Lynn Thomas for their recollections.