One of Risca's most respected characters, retired school teacher Pam Jones, has passed away. She was 95.

Former verger of St Mary's Church, she lived in a cottage in its shadow for many years and was a familiar sight as she drove around the village, hunched over the wheel of her white Metro.

She and Risca sighed with relief when she hung up her driving gloves!

Mary Pamela Jones was a 13-year-old wartime evacuee to the town, staying with relatives and never returning to the Camden, London, home in which she was born after the death of her mother. An aunt became surrogate mother and later household companion at their beloved Walnut Tree Cottage, roles that were to be reversed years later when Pam became her aunt's carer.

As well as her devout beliefs, she will be best remembered for the love and kindness she showed to everyone, particularly to children. It formed the happiest period of her life when she trained as a teacher.


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Pam joined the staff at Greenway Junior School, Rumney, Cardiff, in the mid 1960s. With its thirty-one classes and thirty-six teaching staff, it was then the largest primary school in Wales. To distinguish herself from other Jones teachers, she chose to be known as Miss Claire Jones. Surviving colleagues from that era still know her as Claire.

In 1974 she was appointed deputy-head teacher at All Saints' Primary, Llanedeyrn, Cardiff, a Monmouth Diocesan School, where she was to teach until her retirement in 1990.

Five years before, in August 1985, she was to experience personal tragedy when, on a school coach trip to London, accompanied by her fianceé Doug, he suffered a heart attack and died. Her faith, her friends and her career saw her through and she wore her engagement ring until the day she died last month of advanced frailty and old age at Ystrad Mynach Hospital.

After the death of her fianceé, she studied for an in-service B.Ed degree at the University of Wales College, Cardiff.

A colleague from that period, Selwyn Mort, now of Danescourt, Cardiff, said: "Pam always had a very busy professional life and getting her thesis finished on time was hectic! Even in retirement she retained a close interest in the Monmouth Diocesan Schools – she was a Bishop's Visitor – which she was sometimes invited to visit and give a talk to the children.

One of her closest friends, Sidonie Herbert, of Gelli Avenue, Risca, paid this tribute: "Even when she was at her weakest and needing the help of carers and nurses, she always had a keen interest in their lives and families. She would then pass on these details to me, often losing me in the complications of other people’s lives, which kept her going and formed a new family for her.

"She was generous to a fault to the children and grandchildren of friends and acquaintances alike. Above all, she had generosity of spirit and rejoiced in the pleasures and successes of others. She was equally loving and compassionate to those in trouble of any kind,leaving no stone unturned in her desire to help. She truly was a Christian, in word and deed.

"She recruited hundreds of children to St Mary Sunday school over the years, all of whom remembered her affectionately as 'Auntie Pam'.”

Her funeral will take place at St Mary's, Risca, on Thursday July 23rd at 2.15, followed by cremation at Langstone.