Alderman Davies Church in Wales School

Friday saw Peter conclude his tour of local schools talking to children about his experiences of growing up in South Africa under Apartheid Rule.

Following the talk Peter was open to any question that the children wanted to ask him including who he thought would win in the Arsenal Vs Chelsea match on Sunday.

In response to a question about his parents imprisonment Peter said,

“It was difficult, my grandmother came to live with us to look after me and my brothers and sisters. For the 11 days that they were in prison we weren’t allowed any contact with them, but I do remember writing them a letter. But compared to the 10,000 days that Nelson Mandela spent in prison we were fortunate.”

Pupils at Alderman Davies School have taken up the cudgels to get the Gwyn Hall rebuilt as soon as possible. And this week they enlisted support from Neath MP Peter Hain.

On a visit to Alderman Davies Church in Wales School Peter met with a group of pupils who are campaigning to get the Gwyn Hall rebuilt. “It was lovely to see children taking such an active role in their community and preserving their heritage.” Said Peter.

The group were working on projects about the Victorians, Hywel Gwyn and his contribution to Neath. The School, like many others in the area, held numerous productions in the Gwyn Hall including Wizard of Oz and Annie, they were looking forward to many more once the Hall was refurbished.

Following the fire the children wrote reports on the Gwyn Hall and have used these reports in a campaign to get the Hall rebuilt. Peter was then invited to the school to voice my support for the campaign.

“I was able to meet with these children and listen to and share in their stories and views of the future of the building. Like me they had experiences of going to see performances and important memories of the Hall. Stars like Alderman Davies’ own Kathryn Jenkins had performed there.”

They were able to ask Peter a range of questions including what was his favourite thing about the Gwyn Hall, his reply of the museum was met with a chorus of approval.

“During the visit I was shown the posters that the children had drawn of the Gwyn Hall fire. All the children had put a lot of effort into the posters showing how much the Hall meant to them.”
“The children were all very keen to know whether the Gwyn Hall was going to be rebuilt and more importantly if the building was going to be a new building or the old design rebuilt. When faced with the question both the pupils and I agreed that the old design should be rebuilt.”

“We were all bitterly disappointed by the destruction of the fire. I went down to the site the morning after the fire when the air across town was still filled with smoke and the building was still smouldering, it was saddening to see the Hall like that.”

The children are now going to write Peter a letter telling him about what the Gwyn Hall means to them, they are all going to sign the letter and Peter will take it to the Leader of the Council.