THE FAMILY of a much-loved community figure turned on the new Christmas lights in the village where he was council clerk for almost 20 years.
Penyffordd residents met to switch on the lights in memory of former community council clerk Nigel Jones, who died suddenly in October, aged 69.
After his death, tributes poured in for Mr Jones, who was also clerk in Flint and Leeswood.
He died after collapsing when walking his dog Geoff at Pontblyddyn Cricket Club.
This year councillors in Penyffordd decided to change individual street lights for sparkling Christmas trees for their seasonal decorations.
Cllr Colin Bithell, chairman of the Penyffordd Community Council, said it was absolutely perfect to have Mr Jones’ family light up one of the new trees.
“They were Nigel’s idea,” he said. “The family were overjoyed to do it.”
Penyffordd will have three trees with the main one under the village’s Millennium clock.
Cllr Bithell said Mr Jones had suggested a tree would act as a central focal point for people to gather around and sing carols.
He said his friend had also been keen to help the council find ways of saving money.
“The lights were costing £4,000 each year, which was a lot for a small community,” added Cllr Bithell. “We thought it was a wonderful idea.
“We’re going to have three trees with this one in the middle of the village, under the clock – somewhere all the villagers can meet.”
Mr Jones’ daughters, Anna and Claire, son Rhys and grandson Cayo Jones attended the ceremony to switch on the lights.
“I’m sure if Nigel was looking down, he’d be very happy,” said Cllr Bithell, adding Mr Jones had always done his job “the old way – by going and seeing to things personally.”
“He was able to deal with people which is not always easy to do,” Cllr Bithell told the Leader. “It was Nigel’s personality. That’s why so many people came to his funeral.”
Cllr Bithell said he had also been pleased to Nigel’s dog, Geoff, again.
“When Nigel died, Geoff stayed with him and lay beside him until someone came,” said Cllr Bithell. “That shows how loyal he was. Nigel walked him every day without fail.
“He’s obviously still pining for his master but they do. Animals have feelings like we do.”
This year, two temporary trees have been put up at the Millennium Clock and at the Dobbs Hill roundabout.
As soon as the weather is right, three permanent spruces will be planted, “which will grow into perpetuity”, said Cllr Bithell.
A third tree will be planted at the Penymynydd Church roundabout.