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Tributes to Wrexham minister 'who always put faith first'

Published date: 04 August 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A CHURCH minister who worked until his mid 90s has died.

Tributes have been paid to long-serving Baptist minister Rev Dyfan Thomas who “always put his faith first”.

Mr Thomas died at Wrexham Maelor Hospital on Friday, July 25, after a long illness. He was 97.

Born in Cefn Mawr in 1917, Mr Thomas lived in the area for much of his life before later moving to Trevor.

He was ordained in the Baptist ministry at Bethania Chapel, Cefn Mawr, in 1950 and later went on to minister at Capel Salem, Penycae, from 1982.

During that time he carried out hundreds of weddings, baptisms and funerals.

His daughter Meryl Felwell, 64, said: “He was very community-minded. A lot of his work was done voluntarily, including services such as funerals and weddings – if he knew the people involved, he did it for free and it would only be a thank you job.”

She added that Mr Thomas never retired from his ministry and kept working up until illness forced him to slow down late last year.

“He always put his faith before anything else and although he wouldn’t want to have been thought of as a Welsh nationalist, he was very, very Welsh.”

A former pupil of Ruabon Grammar School, Mr  Thomas was ordained as a deacon at the age of just 21.

As well as his work in the ministry, he had also worked as an educational welfare officer in the Llangollen district from 1950 until his retirement in 1982.

He was also a member of the Cefn Mawr and District Welsh Society and had frequently served as its secretary and president.

He also had a long-standing role at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, acting as a supervisor at preliminary contests from the 1980s, a role in which he continued for 25 years.

He was also made an honorary life member of the eisteddfod’s music committee.

In 2000 the Llangollen Rotary group presented him with the Service Above Self – Comm-unity and Voluntary Services award.

At the time of his death Mr Thomas had been living at Plas Telford Care Home in Acrefair.

His son Berwyn Thomas said: “He was held in high regard by the community and he was very well-respected.”

Mr Thomas leaves children Berwyn Thomas and Meryl Felwell, grandchildren Ailsa, Emily, Dafydd and Aled and great-grandchildren Harri Llyr and Gwenan Mai.

His funeral will take place at Capel Salem, Penycae, at 2pm on Wednesday followed by a service at Pentrebychan Crematorium.

Donations can be made in his memory to the Baptist chapels at Penycae and Acrefair, the Plas Telford Residents’ Fund and Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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