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Friends of St Mary's Church at Caerau

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St Mary's Church

By Mike Clements

I spotted an article about your book in a recent edition of the Cardiff Post, and I decided to visit your website.

I'm so glad I did, as the photographs of the church and of Father Jones brought memories of the time flooding back to me. I was a boy scout in the St Timothys brigade at the time that Father Jones was our leader. I remember him as a tall gregarious man with strength somewhat disproportionate to his stature. I learned how strong he was when he would lift large stones and beams and the like when he was rebuilding the church. I, along with other scouts used to go up to the church to assist him during the many hours he spent working tirelessly renovating the building. We did more than make tea and provide biscuits; we also lugged stones and timbers etc and cleared mountains of rubbish.

I often think of those days and wondered how the church had fared over the years. The first time I saw the church was when I walked up the hill with friends when I was aged about eight or nine. The brave ones would climb on top of the derelict walls, but I never plucked up the courage to do so. One thing we never did was cause damage or engage in vandalism of any sort. To us it was a meeting place, and I knew every inch of the woods and the surrounding area. I often wondered about the history of the hill fort, as in later years I did quite a bit of courting there too.

I remember going to 96 Heol Carnau, to collect further 'Bob a Job' vouchers from Father Jones wife when we had filled up the ones we had been issued with. I seem to remember they had about four or five children, or at least from memory it seemed that many.

It was a pleasure to see the photographs of Father Jones, and the older photographs fitted exactly my memories of him. I trust he is keeping well, he certainly looks it in the recent photos.

It is gratifying to learn of your efforts in raising awareness for the building, and of your passion for the history of the site. I commend your efforts and wish you well.