Taff’s Well Rugby Club and the whole village of Taff’s Well mourns the passing of yet another legendary figure who served his community with so much distinction throughout his political, sporting and musical life. The irrepressible Ifor Jenkins – a man known throughout the shires for wearing his Taff’s Well heart well and truly on his sleeve and being instrumental in so many things that his native village can thank him for.
Long-term friend and colleague Gordon Bunn recalls as a school child seeing the diminutive Ifor on his return from serving in The Royal Navy playing on the wing for Taff’s Well alongside Iori Jones back in 1947 when the clubhouse and changing rooms were the Castle Hotel opposite the Co-op building and the playing field was on the old bakery site by the roundabout on the relief road passing the station. Gordon recalls how ‘nippy’ Ifor was, the same kind of guile no doubt that was to serve him well in the 1968 formed branch of Plaid Cymru as in 1973, Ifor was to join and stand for election which he duly won to extraordinarily stand as the member for Taff’s Well until his undefeated retirement in 1996 when he stood down after the boundary reorganisation which meant that Taff’s Well fell from being under the auspices of Caerphilly Urban District Council to Taff Ely.
Mayor of Taff Ely
During his illustrious career, Ifor was to become Mayor of Pontypridd in 1991-92 hosting the visiting Samoan rugby team at Rhydyfelin Leisure Centre and representing Pontypridd on the many visits to the town’s twinned city Nurtingen in Germany. He became synonymous with the successful efforts to reopen The Nantgarw Chinaworks Museum in 1991 and served on the Taff’s Well RFC sub-committee which dealt with the re-siting of Taff’s Well rugby as well playing a crucial part in canvassing the council to change the planning permission usage of the current rugby club site to recreation which enabled it to move following the fire at the old club; Gordon also recalls how Ifor somehow charmed the local council into regularly fertilising the old rugby club field, something unheard of at the time for a private members club. Such was his enthusiasm, gregariousness and outgoing nature, Ivor would be respected from all sides of the political spectrum and with a smile on his face, would be glad to talk politics, sport, music or especially about his beloved Taff’s Well to anyone.
Work, Sport & Music
Ifor spent many years as a manager of Copygraph on the Treforest Industrial Estate and finished his career with Garth Print sited in the old Chapel building at the end of Tabor Street but he also led a full life outside of his work and politics by being associated with St. Michael’s & All Angels Church in Tongwynlais and serving as a Governor at Ffynnon Taf Primary school plus being a long-term member of Taff’s Well Bowls Club and playing the cornet in the prestigious Tongwynlais Silver Band which regularly played in competitions all over the country somehow surviving on his little known diet of Welsh Cakes & pop! As a man, he left nothing in the locker and was liked by everyone he came into contact with and the village has lost a larger than life character who gave his all to everything he was attached to including Taff’s Well Rugby Club. He will be sorely missed and will be remembered for his friendships with the likes of Gordon, Elgar Lewis, Adrian Hobson, Carl Thomas and Lyn James plus the many more lives he came into contact with including my own as he was one of the very first people I can remember meeting as a child in the village when my family moved to Taff's Well over 40 years ago – Cysga’n Dawel Ifor Bach.
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