Former driving instructor and Girling employee turns 100

A CWMBRAN woman who spent World War II checking aircraft parts at the Girlings factory, before teaching people to drive in the town, celebrates her 100th birthday today, Friday.

Constance King, known as Connie, was born in 1922 at Gelli Rhewa Farm in Garndiffaith.

One of the highlights of his long and interesting life was meeting the Duchess of Cornwall in 2015 at the 70th anniversary VJ Day in London.

She was there to represent her husband Mervyn, a Burma Star veteran, and marched from Horseguards Parade to Westminster Abbey with her daughter Wendy.

The Gelli Rhewa farm belonged to his grandfather Thomas Williams, who was the main farmer.

Ms King has fond memories of getting up before school with ‘Grancha’, to check on the sheep on the farm on the hill, and on her way home she would drink a cup of hot cider before going to school. ‘school.

Her father was Ivor Jayne, a lineman, and her mother, Blanche, tended the dairy cows on the farm.

Mrs. King’s first school was Penygarn School. However, her father had to look for work which took her across the country, meaning she continued to attend 16 different schools.

At the age of 14, Mrs King reluctantly had to leave County Grammar School in Pontypool to care for her brother Kenneth, then aged two, due to the sudden death of his mother.

During World War II she worked at Girling’s factory in Cwmbran in the quality control department checking aircraft parts and she remembers taking in two evacuees: Madge from London and Isobel from Dover.

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Mrs. King taught herself to knit with two twigs from a lilac bush from the farm’s garden and a ball of string. Later, she learned to crochet.

She has knitted and crocheted many jackets, hats and slippers for the children in the family and she recently finished a bedspread to go above her bed in lilac – her favorite colour. Mrs. King is also a very good seamstress.

She loves animals and enjoys feeding wild birds and hedgehogs in her garden.

She also used to show her Staffordshire Bull terriers and had the most success with a red colored female dog called ‘Meg’ who won Best Puppy female dog and Best Puppy at the Western Championships at Yate, Bristol in September 1988. This qualified her for Crufts in 1990.

Mrs King married Mervyn King on April 5, 1941 at St Michael & All Angels Church, Llantarnam.

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Connie and Mervyn King, photographed circa 1939

Mr. King was a star Burma veteran and served in the Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm. He served on HMS Khedive as an artificer during the war.

After the war he worked at the Panteg and ICI Fibres, Pontypool steel works as an instrument technician/electrician.

Mervyn was also a driving instructor and had his own Eastern Valley Driving School of Motoring and his wife also trained students.

The couple have four children: Vivienne Edwards, 80, Jeanette Ellam, 72, and twins Wendy Walton and Peter King, 68. They all still live in Cwmbran.

Ms King also has 11 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren

Ms King said her secret to a long life was to always sleep well. She has never smoked.

She will spend her special birthday at home with her family.

About Tracy G. Larimore

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