Vaughan Morgan Willliams had a good life.
It's difficult to believe that he died on February 29th. I relished the occasional times I met him recently. He was uniquely optimistic, wise, idealistic and his eyes had a never-dimming twinkle.
He was a personal inspiration for me since I first met him in 1969. I was campaigning for Welsh Medium Education in Newport against a hostile Council. Vaughan and a band of other enthusiasts had achieved great successes in Risca in the face of strident local opposition. At the time my political energies were in the trade union movement. The lack of vision of local councillors convinced me that politics was the best way to achieve change.
Vaughan was a tower of strength on the Gwent County Council along with others in the Education Department including the director Hugh Loudon, Mick Morden (Jessica's father), Lyn Williams and David Morris (future MEP). There are ten of thousands of people in Gwent who benefited in their education to whom these names are unknown. They are the un-sung heroes of change who dedicated their lives to the well-being of others. Gwent was a splendid Education Authority devoted to the strongly rooted appreciation of the value of education that was denied to past generations.
At times, Vaughan's loyalty to Labour was strained by some of its small-minded members. In the longterm good sense triumphed although building Welsh Language education had obstacles every step of the way. Ultimately success and quality won and education in Gwent is in a fine place as Vaughan dreamed it would be. The future will be bright. We pay our gratitude to Vaughan and his generation of good people.