By Carl Llewellyn

It was a shock to hear of the death of yet another chorister, Royden Evans. He’d been associated with Dowlais Male Choir since its formation 50 years ago, when the employees of the Guest Keen and Nettlefold met to discuss the possibility of forming a male voice choir. Royden was unable to attend the first meeting but attended the second.

Elwyn Royden Evans was born on 27th October 1932 at Seward Street Penydarren, though he was always known by his middle name, Royden. He was christened at a religious meeting by a missionary named Mrs Royden, who must have made an impression on Royden’s mother, who gave the missionary’s surname as Royden’s middle name. Royden was the youngest of six children of Thomas & Mary Ann Evans; his siblings being Idris, Mary, Tom, Leslie and Aneurin.

Royden was a member of Horeb Congregational Chapel, Penydarren where he attended the Sunday school and later became a member. Royden was the sixth generation of his family to attend Horeb Chapel with his great, two great grandfathers, grandfather and an uncle being deacons.  While at Horeb Chapel he met Jeanne Newby and they were married at the Chapel  in 1957, thus celebrating 58 years of marriage. Their golden wedding gift was a flight to New York to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Royden and Jeanne have two daughters, Judith and Jill, three grandchildren, Iwan, Erin and Ossian and most recently a great grandson Taliesin.

Royden and Jeanne first lived at Arfryn Terrace, Twnyrodyn finally moving to No 6 The Parade.

Royden attended Penydarren School and Cyfarthfa Grammar School before he began his working life in the offices of Guest Keen & Nettlefold, Dowlais. Royden was ambitious and when he was recognised by his accountancy correspondence course, this resulted in Royden becoming a fully qualified accountant. When he left the Guest Keen & Nettlefold he worked for a subsidiary company of Kayser Bondor, named Ballito. From there he worked for the Welsh Water Board and finally the local authority in Ebbw Vale before his retirement.

Royden’s voice was found to be at the lower end of the scale and was placed in the down bass section of the choir, a section he stayed until his health dictated his absence from rehearsals. Royden played an important part in the finance of the choir, and was one of two choir auditors alongside Peter Rosser. He provided support to the previous choir treasurer Bill Thomas and was of great help to current treasurer Cledwyn Price. At choir AGM’s Royden, in his professional capapcity, always stood up at and gave a presentation of the choir’s financial situation. He always praised the treasurers for their excellent book keeping, however Royden was not an IT man; pencil and paper were his forte. For nearly fifty years he was a faithful and loyal chorister and his contribution to the choir was immeasurable.

Not only did Royden assist the choir as an auditor he was also Captain, Treasurer and latterly President of Morlais Castle Golf Club. He was also Treasurer of Horeb Chapel’s building project after the chapel was burned down.

Royden loved watching a number of sports, his main interests being golf, football and rugby. He shared his love of rugby with lifelong friend and fellow chorister John Francis, whose friendship began in Cyfarthfa Grammar School and was forged when Royden worked for Guest Keen & Nettlefold Company. Royden and John were regular rugby supporters when former chorister Perry Williams organised rugby excursions to Murrayfield, Twickenham and Lansdowne Road.

Royden loved his music and favoured such greats as Perry Como, Matt Monro and Bing Crosby. Following concerts the choir would have an ‘after glow’ in the nearest hostelry, where he was always called upon to sing such songs as ‘Born Free’, ‘My Way’ and ‘Memories’.
Royden has left us with some great memories and he certainly did it ‘his way’ and will never to be forgotten.

On Wednesday 14th October 2015 at a joint concert with Cantorion Cyfarthfa, Dowlais Male Choir dedicated the hymn ‘Finlandia’ to their much missed friend. Rest in peace Royden.

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