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‘He has stood up for people his entire life’: Family and friends celebrate Richard Nash’s 100th birthday

A man who worked in a mine at the age of 14 had his 100th birthday party this afternoon in Cwmbran.

Richard Nash is 100 on Tuesday 29 November 2022 but today his family and friends gathered at the Thomas Gabrielle EMI Residential Home in Old Cwmbran to celebrate.

He received birthday cards from actor Michael Sheen, Nick Thomas-Symonds MP for Torfaen, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford and singer Katherine Jenkins. Mr Thomas-Symonds told Mr Nash: “Thank you for your decades of service to others, striving to create a better world.” Mr Drakeford told Mr Nash he was: “Defined by your beliefs and Welsh heritage. I’d like to thank you for your many years of service.”

Big Pit National Coal Museum recently visited Mr Nash to record his memories for the national archive. St Dingat’s Church in New Tredegar where Mr Nash and Ruby, his late wife, got married, also sent him a birthday card.

Born in New Tredegar he left school following the death of his father so he could work at Elliot Colliery as a carpenter and bring money into the family home. He has four children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Sandra Prail, one of his two daughters, said: “He left Elliot in 1966 when it closed and became a civil defence instructor. He was at the Aberfan Disaster and for one day he was in charge up there and that was obviously a pretty horrific experience.”

Phil Nash, one of his two sons, said: “He was a union rep all his life. He was a councillor in Bargoed. His proudest thing, was having left school at 14 his four children all went to university. Back in the day, it wasn’t like now, only like two per cent of people went to university.”

two sisters and a brother smile for photo
Three of Mr Nash’s children (l to r). Sandra Prail, Phil Nash and Linda Richards

Sandra said: “Education was the way to not have the life that he had. His life when he was young was absolute poverty. He tells the story of his dad dying and being in bed with a few days to go and going into his dad and asking ‘I’m really sorry but I don’t have any money at all. Do we have anything?’ and him saying ‘I’ve got a shilling in the lining of my coat pocket. That was the level of poverty that they lived in. So he has seen huge changes.

“He has stayed true to his beliefs. He has stood up for people his entire life would be my description of him. He has got great values. That was instilled in us. If you work hard at school then you would have a better life than he had.”

Phil said: “He never smoked or had a drink in his life.”

Video: A letter from Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, is read to Mr Nash

‘Thomas Gabrielle EMI Residential Home’

a frame of photos
Mr Nash’s memory frame outside his room in the Thomas Gabrielle EMI Residential Home

Mr Nash moved to Thomas Gabrielle EMI Residential Home in March 2022.

Sandra said: “The care they have given him here is absolutely second to none. I live in England and I can’t tell you what it means to me to know that he is not just safe and looked after but is in a place that genuinely cares for him. They are wonderful.”

Phil said his dad lived in Bettws until 2020 and was still taking the bus into the city centre twice a day. Following some recent falls his family looked for residential care.

Video- Watch Jackie, one of his granddaughters sing at his party

She sings If I Were a Bell from Guys and Dolls.

A post from one of his granddaughters

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Posted inNews

‘He has stood up for people his entire life’: Family and friends celebrate Richard Nash’s 100th birthday

Richard Nash at his 100th birthday
Richard Nash at his 100th birthday