Hundreds remember the life of veteran Bedwas councillor and campaigner Ray Davies
Hundreds of people celebrated the life of veteran Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen councillor Ray Davies at a remembrance service at Bedwas Workman’s Hall today, May 15.
Mr Davies, who was a councillor for over 50 years, passed away aged 85 after a short fight with cancer on May 7.
The service was a celebration of Ray Davies’ love of politics, music, poetry and family, in his absence as he was given his wish of having his body donated to medical science.
The hall was decorated with flags and banners from the various campaigns he supported, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Rhymney Valley Anti-Apartheid group and LGBT liberation.
The service was delivered by humanist celebrants and his family paid tribute not only to Mr Davies’ dedication to fight injustice, but his service to his community and his family.
Cor Cochion, Red Choir, of which he was a proud member, sang a number of songs, including A Miner’s Life in recognition of his time spent underground and support for the miners during the 1984-85 strike.
His wife Wendy said when she first met him, while he was singing with Cor Cochion, she was a “timid person and Ray got rid of that”.
She said: “He gave me courage out of his own courage.
“He had a passion about his village, his community, about the Welsh language, about the global perspective.
“He always thought wherever people suffer, that is his natural home. His bad experiences made him compassionate and never made him narrow or bitter.
“He truly believed that we could change the world and made us believe. So now it’s our turn.
“We will all do everything we can to carry on your spirit.”
The service was opened with music from Cllr Davies’ brother in law Frank and son Tad.
The Arms Park and Caerphilly Male Voice Choirs, who Ray Davies sang with, also performed.
His eldest son David read poems as part of his remembrance, recalled how he set up successful football teams for young people and paid tribute to Cllr Davies’ courage.
He said: “He faced his last battle as he faced his other battles. Fronting up, staring it straight in the face and doing whatever he could to beat it.
“But sadly not even Ray Davies could beat that one.”
Cllr Davies’ daughter Rachael recalled how for her 12th birthday he took her to Greenham Common to join a “human chain” as her present.
She said: “Not all of my memories of Dad are about demonstrations and human chains and prison visits.
“He taught me to swim, he gave me away when I got married and spent hours rocking my daughter sleep and it’s for these reasons that to me he wasn’t Councillor Ray, or Red Ray, or any of those names.
“He was Dad. Just Dad.”
His youngest son Carwyn said Ray Davies was a tough man but “was never beyond expressing his soft and compassionate side”.
He said his dad will be remembered “as nothing less than a strong willed and heroic icon for me to follow”.
He said: “I’ll always be proud to call myself your son.”
The family thanked the volunteers at Bedwas Workman’s Hall and donations were made to Ray’s Lift Fund to raise money for a lift at the hall to improve accessibility.
On July a celebration of Ray Davies life and legacy will be held at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff.
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