Caerphilly MP Wayne David’s Blog: October 15
The other day, I attended the launch of the Gren walk in Hengoed. The brilliant cartoonist was of course a resident of Hengoed and his depiction of Welsh life was truly unique.
Roy Noble was the guest and he was on top form. He graphically reminded us of the importance of Gren’s work and focused on the mythical community of Aberflyhalf. As we all know, there is no such place but with all the characteristics of a typical former mining community, Aberflyhalf could have been one of umpteen communities in the South Wales Valleys.
It is important to remember but also celebrate the work of Gren. Like no one else of his generation, he had the knack of putting his finger on the South Wales pulse and injecting a humour which both poked fun at ourselves and the ‘powers that be’.
Caerphilly County Borough Council is to be congratulated on developing the ‘Gren Way Walk’. If you start at the Hengoed Community Centre you can walk across the Hengoed Viaduct along the dismantled railway track past Gelli-haf-isaf towards Fleur-De-Lis and then back down the New Road on the other side of the valley to Hengoed. It is a good trek and provides an excellent opportunity to lock into the heritage and culture of our valleys.
As you are walking across the viaduct, it is worth recalling that before building the viaduct, the workers had to build their own houses in Maesycwmmer so they had somewhere to live during its construction. And as you go up the valley towards Fleur-De-Lis (sometime known locally as Flower) spare a thought for the French Huguenots who named the village in the 17th Century after they had fled religious persecution in their home country.
The valleys are truly crammed full of history, culture and humour. Long may Gren be remembered and promoted as both a product of the valleys and a brilliant exponent of everything which makes the valleys what they are today.
MP for Caerphilly