Tributes paid to Caerleon stalwart and ex-policeman
11:10am Thursday 3rd January 2013 in News
A FORMER policeman who dedicated 65 years of his life to the community has died, aged 88.
Royce Gardener, of Caerleon, died at Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital on December 29 after suffering a stroke 11 days earlier.
Mr Gardener was one of those who helped after the Aberfan mining disaster in 1966, which killed 116 children and 28 adults.
He was working for the number eight Regional Crime Squad at the time and was summoned to work at the temporary mortuary set up following the tragedy.
The former Abertillery Grammar School pupil left school at 16 and started working in the laboratory at Six Bells colliery before joining the police force aged 23.
He was stationed in numerous Valleys areas before being promoted to a detective constable at Blackwood.
He later moved on to Cwmbran and was a sergeant at Abergavenny, and later promoted to Caerleon.
The father of two later became the Monmouthshire representative for the Wales-wide number eight Regional Crime Squad, and once worked as Princess Margaret’s bodyguard during a three-week visit to Wales.
Later he worked as the crime prevention officer for Newport, until he left in 1978 to set up the Abetter Driving School. He retired aged 65 to dedicate his time to voluntary organisations.
He was the chairman and president of the Gwent branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers, as well as the Caerleon Retired Persons Welfare Club, and was a member of the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations, Newport Hard of Hearing Club and Newport Friendship Club.
He received an MBE in 2004 for services to Gwent Police.
Mr Gardener and his wife, Marion, were married for 58 years until she died seven years ago.
They had two daughters, Vanessa Horsell and Gay Stevens, who say their father will be sadly missed by all.
Newport West MP Paul Flynn described Mr Gardener as a “great friend and companion” who would be “greatly missed by all his friends, who will celebrate in gratitude for his full marvellous life of service”.
A date for his funeral is yet to be set.