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THE PORTHCAWL DROWNING FATALITY. A Cilfynydd Fireman's Tragic Death. SAD ENDING TO A HOLIDAY. On Friday afternoon a "Free Press" reporter wired from Porthcawl: A married man named William Stephens, fireman, William street, Cil- fynydd, was drowned whilst bathing here this morning at about eleven o'clock. Stephens, who was thirty-three years of a £ je, and emploved as fireman at the Albion Colliery, Pontvpridd. was staying here with his wife and three children. It appears he was carried beyond his depth by a heavy wave, and was seen to be indifficulties. Efforts were made by other swimmers to rescue him, but to no avail. The body was recovered at half-past one after coastguard and other boats had been put out. The sad event has cast quite a gloom upon Pontypridd visitors at Porthcawl. The sad news was quickly circulated, and cre- ated a profound impression throughout the town and district, especially at CiJivnvdd. where the deceased was so popular. Later our Porthcawd correspondent tele- graphed The circumstances under which pool Stephens met his death were exceedingly pathetic He was down here with Mrs Stephens and the three children for a week's holiday, and they intended returning, together with a number o'f Cilfynydd friends, on Saturday afternoon. It had been arranged by the party to have a fare- well musical gathering on Friday evening at the Sliip and Castle Hotel, the home of Mr and Mrs Job Davies, formerly of Cilfynydd. But alas! the hours of conviviality and joy were turned into hours of lament and weeping. Arriving here full of joy and hope, poor Mrs Stephens returned a widow. In her painful position, however, she was not without sincere sympathisers and friends Mr E. H. Davies, J.P., Pentre, who arrived just after the fatal occurrence, at once interested himself in the case. Finding that the bereaved wife and children were not in very good circum- stances, he lost no time in initiating a movement for collecting funds for their assistance. A ready band of helpers, most of whom came from Maesteg- and were perfect strangers to the grief- stricken family, rallied round Mr Davies and set their wits to work with a view to eliciting practical sympathy. A committee was formed. with Mr R. E. Salmon. Maesteg, as secretary. and Mr D. John, Maesteg, as treasurer. On Friday evening an eisteddfod, organised by this committee, was held at the assembly room of Mr Comley's restaurant, that gentleman kindly giv- ing the use of the room free. Mr E. H. Da- vies was in the chair, and his opening remarks showed how strongly he sympathised with the famil who had been so suddenly and so tragi- cally robbed of a loving husband and a tender father. In order to make the eisteddfod more attractive, Mr Bevan, jeweller, Porthcawl (for- merly of Porth), kindly gave a handsome silver- mounted brooch for the best rendering of the soprano solo "Holy City,' and this was won by Miss Agnes Rowlands, Treforest, a member of the distinguished Pontypridd Ladies' Choir. At the close a collection was taken, and in appealing for financial aid for the widow and fatherless Mr Davies spoke with a tenderness of feeling which produced a very strong effect indeed upon his hearers. He started the collection by him- self giving ten shillings, and his example was imitated by Mr Williams, Mountain Ash, who generously subscribed a like sum. On Saturday evening Mr Comley again gave his room free for the holding of a concert organised by the com- mittee. Mr E. H. Davies once more presided over a crowded audience, and among the soloists were Miss Agnes Rowlands and the well-known Dewi Dar, Cilfynydd. A coodly sum was again collected. Throughout Friday and Saturday a band of collectors worked hard in the town, and the result was that in all a sum of nearly jE24 has been handed over to the grateful widow. 1 cannot too highly commend the kindness of heart and generosity displayed by Mr E. H. Davies, who proved himself a friend indeed to Mrs Stephens and the children, because a friend in need is a friend indeed. One incident which came under my notice was a revelation to me of his sincerity. When the body was conveyed to the apartments occupied by the Stephens family a suggestion was made that a sheet should bo placed under it on the ambulance. Without any hesitation Mr Davies remarked, "I will get one," and immediately he ran to the nearest shop, returning as soon as possible with the required sheet.. Mr Davies eives nobly and gives generously towards any deserving cause, but he never wants his left hand to know what his right hand has done. Too much, also, can- not be said in praise of the host of Maesteff visitors who took suoh a warm interest in the case. From first to last, with Messrs Salmon and John at their head, they worked hard towards getting the required monetary assistance. Their enthusiasm in the cause was delightful to wit- ness, and is an instance of true Welsh sympathy of which I, as a fellow Welshman, feel very proud. The inquest on the body of the unfortunate man was held on Saturday morning at Porthcawl Police Station, by Mr Cuthebertson, coroner, Neath, and a, jury, of which Mr Rogers was fore- man. The evidence having been heard, the jury returned a verdict of "Accidentally drowned." Th? foreman expressed the sincere sympathy of himself and his fellow-iurors with the widow, to whom they presented their fees. The body was subsequently conveyed home by the 2.30 train. A short service was held at ae house, which is in close proximity to the railway station, and the immense gathering of visitors, who had assembled to pay their last tribute of respect, sans: with great pathos several old Welsh hymns. The scene was a painfully pathetic one, and will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.









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