CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

'THE VANISHED SWANSEA SCHOOL WITH A QUITE REMARKABLE LIST OF FORMER PUPILS' [EXTRACTS]

By Nino Williams

South Wales Evening Post – 25 February 2019

[ … ]

ROWAN WILLIAMS

A Welsh Anglican bishop, theologian and poet, who was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury between 2002 and 2012, the principal leader of the Church of England and the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has 85 million members. He now sits in the House of Lords as Baron Williams of Oystermouth.

Reverend Rowan Williams:

"I had a difficult start in Dynevor because we’d just moved back to Swansea from Cardiff, so I knew no-one in the new school. But I very soon made new friends and came to appreciate the enormously positive and creative spirit of the school.

"By the sixth form, I couldn’t have been happier – I felt stretched and encouraged by some wonderful teachers who were always ready, it seemed, to go out of their way to help and challenge and extend horizons. And our year was very active in extra-curricular things – drama and music and debating groups and so on.

"I felt and still feel very fortunate to have experienced a learning community like that, the very best of Welsh secondary education of that era.

"In my first term at Cambridge, I occasionally felt it was quite tame by comparison. We were taken seriously and helped to see that there was a big world out there in intellectual and imaginative terms.  I still think it would be hard to beat the best of our teachers by any measure."

* * *

NIGEL EVANS MP

Born in 1957, he worked at his parents’ newsagent and convenience store in Townhill, Evans the News. Since 1992, he has been Conservative MP for Ribble Valley. He was shadow secretary of state for Wales from 2001 to 2003, and has served as vice-chairman of the Conservative Party. He has been a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee since 2005.

Nigel Evans:

"It was a delight to go to Dynevor as the final grammar intake – and it had a great reputation.

"Unbelievably, the 6th former who happened to show my parents around the school during an open evening was one Julian Lewis – I didn’t know him then, but our paths joined and followed the same path.

"The head, Mr Norris, was an imposing figure. Discipline was a byword throughout but with the stress on arts and creativity. The teaching staff were brilliant and I particularly thank Mr Taylor my English teacher for encouraging my writing.

"I believe it was the brilliant staff, along with the ethos of encouragement which really helped push the pupils. And from the son of a Townhill grocer that helped me attain my dream. Thank you Dynevor."

* * *

Julian Lewis MP

The 67-year-old contested the Swansea West constituency in 1983, and has been Conservative MP for New Forest East since 1997. He was a Shadow Defence Minister from 2002 to 2004, and from 2005 to 2010, also serving as Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office from 2004 to 2005, and as an Opposition Whip from 2001 to 2002.

He was a member of the Defence Select Committee and the Welsh Select Committee, and has been elected to the executive of the Conservative Party's 1922 Committee. He served on the Intelligence and Security Committee for five years before being elected Chairman of the Defence Select Committee in 2015, and again in 2017.

Julian Lewis MP:

"My father, Sam, had attended Dynevor – then known as the Municipal Secondary School – in the mid-1920s, but had to leave at age 14 after only three years to join the family tailoring firm.

"He saw it as an excellent grammar school and encouraged me to follow in his footsteps.

"At Dynevor I developed my interest in politics, history and defence. My first form-master and later English teacher, Graham Davies, encouraged this by setting topical essays on challenging subjects.

"The school Debating Society was a vital asset, though at one stage we had to beat-off an attempted far-left takeover – a useful apprenticeship in political infighting! The intellectual debt I owe to the school and its staff, whose strong personalities I clearly recall half a century later, can never be repaid."

[In May 2017, Julian revisited the site of Dynevor School to deliver the Annual Old Dy’vorians Lecture.]