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UK News Tributes to 'formidable' former teacher who died aged 104

21:36  24 february  2020
21:36  24 february  2020 Source:   dailypost.co.uk

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a man and a woman sitting on a plate: 104-year-old Rhiannon Grey Davies (left) who used to be a school domestic science teacher in Wrexham and her former pupil Joyce Jones © ugc 104-year-old Rhiannon Grey Davies (left) who used to be a school domestic science teacher in Wrexham and her former pupil Joyce Jones

Tributes have been paid to a “formidable” ex-teacher who has died at the age of 104.

Great great grandmother Rhiannon Grey Davies, a retired domestic science teacher, passed away on February 11.

She had been reunited with one of her former pupils, 86-year-old Joyce Jones, when she went to live at Pendine Park’s Gwern Alyn Home in Wrexham.

Former pupil Joyce will be among the mourners at the funeral which will be held next month.

They first met when Joyce went to Acrefair Secondary School where Rhiannon was a member of staff during the Second World War in 1944 when she taught her pupils how to eke out their families’ sparse food rations.

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In the 1960s Rhiannon became a pioneer of Welsh language education.

She was among the first four teachers at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd in Wrexham which was one of the first Welsh-medium comprehensive schools to open in Wales.

Rhiannon was in charge of the school for several months until the permanent headteacher was released from his previous job.

a person holding a plate of food: Tributes have been paid to Rhiannon Grey Davies © ugc Tributes have been paid to Rhiannon Grey Davies

Among those who paid tribute was Nia Ceidiog, an actress, television presenter, children’s author and BAFTA-winning TV director and producer.

Nia, from Coedpoeth has fond memories of her school days.

She said:  “It is no surprise to me that such a strong and positive woman like Mrs Grey-Davies lived until the grand old age of 104.

“Thanks to her I had the opportunity to go on stage to act in a play by Saunders Lewis as well as learning how to cook in the kitchen.

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“She was very cultured and a great disciplinarian and I am grateful to benefit from her leadership in high school.

“I still have the notebooks and recipes with her corrections on them and I will always treasure them.”

According to Gwern Alyn manager Cindy Clutton, Rhiannon was a much-loved resident who was popular with everybody at the care home.

She said: “We were very privileged to have the opportunity to look after Rhiannon in the twilight of her days.

“She was a remarkable lady who was quite formidable in many ways but that was tempered by an innate kindness and generosity of spirit."

Ex-pupil Joyce said: “Rhiannon was an excellent teacher but very strict. We had corporal punishment then but I was always a good girl and never had a ruler struck across my knuckles like some did.

“Domestic science wasn’t just about learning to cook. Then it was about preparing girls to be good housewives and how to run a home for their husbands.

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“We even had to learn how to wash up properly and how to sweep the floor remembering to always brush toward the fire hearth. Everything then was so different. “

Rhiannon was born in 1915 the daughter of Presbyterian Minister John Foulkes Ellis and Lizzie Jane Foulkes Ellis in Gwyddelwern, near Corwen, but moved to Glan Conwy aged four.

She attended college in Cardiff in 1933 and completed a two-year course to become a domestic science teacher.

Rhiannon’s daughter Bethan, 69, who herself was a teacher and deputy head at Ysgol Glyn Ceiriog said her mother had been in excellent health all her life until she fell ill aged 103 and subsequently moved into Gwern Alyn.

She said: “Mum remained fiercely independent and didn’t like to be helped if she could do things herself. You didn’t argue with her!”

Rhiannon leaves behind two children, Bethan and John, two granddaughters and four great grandchildren.

Her funeral will be held at Pentrebychan Crematorium at 12pm on Friday, March 6, followed by a service at Capel y Groes at 1pm.

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