TRIBUTES have been paid for a former Pontypool RFC rugby player, who also played football for Cardiff City on two occasions.

Ambrose Williams, who was known as Bomber throughout his life, died on Friday, February 23 – five days after his 89th birthday – at the Thomas Gabrielle Nursing Home in Cwmbran.

Born on February 17, 1929, he was brought up in Cwmffrwdoer and excelled at a number of sports, mainly football and rugby.

“He was a well-known sportsman and achieved a Senior Schools rugby cap for Wales in 1946-47, while attending Abersychan County Grammar School,” said son Allen Williams.

“He later went on to play rugby for Pontypool, Abertillery, Bridgewater and Albion.

“During his national service, he was stationed at Oswestry and Germany and was chosen to play for the British Army XV on a number of occasions.”

Mr Williams added that his father was also a talented goalkeeper, playing locally and for one of Wales’ most famous clubs – Cardiff City.

“As a regular player for Cwmffrwdoer AFC in his late teens, he also had two games for Cardiff City as goalkeeper,” said Mr Williams.

Towards the end of his sporting career, Mr Williams added that his father coached the Pontypool RFC youth team and also taught PE at the Penygarn youth club during the 1950s and 1960s.

Sport played a key part in Ambrose Williams’ working life and played for the rugby and cricket teams at the British Nylon Spinners/ Imperial Chemical Industries during his 25-year career as a work study officer, previously working at ROF Glascoed.

In his later years, became the secretary of the British Legion in Pontnewynydd, while playing snooker for Pontnewydd Workingmen’s Club.

He was married to wife Pat, nee Matthews, for almost 67 years and became a widower after her death just over three years ago.

He is survived by his five children - Glyn, Allen, Anne, David and Mair – and 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, with his 19th due to be born later this year in Florida.

“He was an unassuming and gregarious man but above all he was a family man who was bright and loving to the last,” said Allen Williams.

“His kind heart and wonderful smile will be missed by us all.

“Our thanks go to the staff of Thomas Gabrielle Nursing Home for their care and friendliness during the last few weeks of dad’s wonderful life.”

A celebration of life service will be held at Gwent Crematorium in Cwmbran on Wednesday, March 14 at 3.00pm.