Care HomesNews

“Formidable” Ex-teacher Rhiannon, 104, Reunited with Pupil in Care Home

A retired 104-year-old domestic science teacher has been reunited with one of her former pupils at the care home where they now both live.

Great great grandmother Rhiannon Grey Davies and 86-year-old Joyce Jones were “surprised but delighted” when they bumped into each other at Pendine Park’s Gwern Alyn Home in Wrexham.

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.

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.

According to Joyce, a great grandmother, her former teacher was “very strict” but always fair.

Now they often sit and chat to reminisce about their old school days.

Joyce moved into Gwern Alyn with her husband, Raymond, in February of this year while Rhiannon moved into the care home at the end of June.

As soon as she heard the name Rhiannon Grey Davies, she knew it could only be her former teacher.

She said: “It might have been 1944 but I can remember the classroom at Acrefair Secondary School like it was yesterday.

“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.

Rhiannon said: “I enjoyed teaching. In the war I did some classes for housewives to help people make the most of their rations. It’s what we did. I was also a First Aid volunteer but we weren’t called out too often.

“Domestic science was all about teaching girls how to run a house, cooking, cleaning and everything else. We didn’t have so many gadgets then.

“I only taught girls but at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd I did teach a few boys in my own time. My own son went to college and didn’t know how to cook basic food so I thought it would be a good idea to teach boys some basics so they could look after themselves.”

Gwern Alyn activities co-ordinator Yvonne Moran says in 30 years working in the care sector she has never known a former teacher and one of her pupils to both residents of the same care home.

She said: “It’s wonderful. Both Rhiannon and Joyce are amazing and very well thought of by everyone, staff and residents at Gwern Alyn.

“When I heard we had a lady moving win who was nearly 104 I was amazed. However, not as amazed as when I first saw and spoke to Rhiannon.

“She remains very independent and is still has a formidable presence about her. She has an air of authority even now.

“There is no doubt that women and men who lived through the war years are somehow strong and have a real determination about them.

“It’s lovely seeing both ladies chatting and reminiscing about school days and their old school.”