Mr Trevor Rees: eulogy

 An eulogy delivered by Rev. Roy Watson, B.A. at West End Congregational Chapel, Ebbw Vale, on January 23rd 2009.

I welcome you this morning to this service of thanksgiving and celebration for the life of Trevor Rees. You come in sadness, but I trust that as we look for a few moments at the lovely features of his life, then our service will become one of gratitude for all that he was and all that he did for those he loved and served. We meet also in the Christian Hopes, and I trust that those hopes will give us comfort and consolation at this time.  

Trevor Rees was born in Ebbw Vale on January 29th 1911. In the family home, besides caring parents, there was a sister, Mary, who passed away a few years ago. He was educated at the County School in Ebbw Vale, a school where eventually he was to become a teacher. The spiritual realities were not forgotten and he was a staunch supporter of Penuel Calvinistic Methodist Church , where he was organist for many years. Throughout his life there was that strong Protestant Work Ethic, chapel life was important to him and he was a committed Christian though, like many, he had intermittent doubts.  

After school days he went to University College , Bangor to pursue a teaching career. In financially hard times his parents sacrificed much to see him through those university days. His first teaching post was at a school on the Llŷn Peninsula, and there it was that he met Muriel, his future wife, they taught together at the same school and eventually married.  

By this time war clouds had gathered and the Second World War was underway. In 1942 Trevor volunteered for flying duties with the R.A.F. but poor eyesight denied him that opportunity and he spent much of the war in Norfolk dealing with wireless communication. He often claimed that threat of ‘piles’ from sleeping in corrugated iron Nissan huts was only just superior to the threat of the Luftwaffe.  

Leaving the R.A.F. in 1946 he returned to teaching, at Brecon Grammar School and again his wife Muriel taught in the same school. However, love of life in Ebbw Vale was such that in 1947 he returned to teach at Ebbw Vale County Grammar School , again with Muriel on the same staff, and remained there until retirement in 1975. A highly respected figure in the school community, excellent in his chosen subjects of Mathematics and Music, thousands of youngsters passed through his hands and there must be many former pupils who can vouch for the dedication and devotion to duty which Trevor displayed. Teaching, for him, was not a job by which to earn a living but a vocation which filled him with pride and satisfaction, an offering of his talents to God, from which so many young lives benefited.    

Outside the area of school life Trevor was well known in the community for his service there. His musical talents meant that for many years he was Conductor of the Ebbw Vale Ladies Choir and in that sphere there were happy events such as leading the choir to sing with others at the Royal Albert Hall in 1981, and there were also successes with the choir at the National Eisteddfod and the Miners Gala at Porthcawl. He loved to play the piano, and indeed was doing so up until  a month before his passing, and his tastes were catholic: from Gershwin to the hymns of William Williams of Pant y celyn. There are many who benefited from Trevor’s love of making music.  

A skilled practitioner at the art of billiards, Trevor had many ‘century breaks’ to his credit at the tables of the Ebbw Vale Institute. He was a star of the tennis courts, an ability which was to stay with him for many years, and he became Club Champion at the Ebbw Vale Tennis Club. He was also a keen supporter of Ebbw Vale Rugby Football Club.  

In spite of this full commitment to work and community, Trevor Rees made an immense impact on his own family; he was devoted to Muriel, who predeceased him by some twenty six years, and to his two sons, Philip and John. In such a father they had a man of strong principles who introduced those principles into their lives, so giving them a firm foundation on which to build their lives, and one who supported them in all their aims and objectives. He took delight and pride in their achievements and also in those of his grandchildren, David and Sian , and his great grandchild Isabelle filled him with great joy.  

Now we bid ‘Farewell’ to a good and upright man who lived his life with integrity and honesty. He gave so much to many people, in the school in which he served, in the community in which he lived, and most of all in the family he loved.  

Jesus told the story of the man who received from his Master the accolade, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”, it is a fitting tribute to Trevor Rees.

We commend Trevor into the keeping of Almighty God, praying that with God he will be safe,  happy and complete, until we meet again in God’s Heavenly Kingdom.


© evcgs former pupils 2013