Last week, former coal miner and very keen rambler Roy Meredith launched his book Stepping Through Time at the South Wales Miners Museum, nestled in the beautiful Afan Valley.
Roy’s book is part of Awen’s ‘Voices From Underground’ project, supported by funding from Bridgend County Borough Council, which aims to give a personal angle to the stories behind the South Wales coal mining industry through focussing less on historical details and more on the individuals who lived through incredibly tough, but arguably character-building times.
Roy was joined by friends, family and others from across the local communities of the Llynfi and Afan valleys to support and share their own memories, in a celebration ensuring these important “underground” voices are kept alive. Roy’s book is one part of the project coordinated by Awen’s Creative Wellbeing Team in partnership with Big Pit, South Wales Miners Museum, Llynfi ex-miners group and various men’s sheds from around the area.
Creative Practitioner, Karen Steadman helped Roy curate the book of historical walks and was herself profoundly impacted by the project commenting: ‘’I feel very honoured to have worked with Roy and get to know the man that has inspired so many. Mining will always remain an important part of Welsh history, but it is equally important to remember the people who lived and worked through that time”.
Chris Davies, another former coal miner also involved in the project added: “My first memory of Roy was seeing him down the mine. I am younger than him and remember how muscly his neck was when he passed me in the lamp light. He brought the best out of me when we spoke together at the ‘Voices From Underground’ event at the Between the Trees festival in 2021. He is a legend!”
If you are a keen rambler and love local history, be sure to get down to South Wales Miners Museum and ask the manager Charlene Rodger for a copy of Stepping Through Time. The full Voices project celebration event including a documentary premiere is due to take place Saturday 29th April, 2pm – 6.30 pm at the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl. Tickets are free but need to be booked in advance by visiting www.awenboxoffice.com