Friday 3 October 2008 saw Ystradgynlais resident, Meingwyn Rees, call it a day after 50 years in the coal mining industry. A day short of his 65th birthday, Meingywn operated the plant at Celtic Energy’s Nant Helen site in Coelbren for the last time and looks forward to a slower pace of life.

Meigwyn started his career in 1958, aged 15, at Rhiw Fawr opencast site in Upper Swansea Valley. His father had warned him ‘not to go down the pits’ so he looked to opencast mining instead. Meingwyn added; “opencast had been going a few years when I started but was relatively new and I’ve frown up with it and it has given me a good living. I hope the work will go on for years as it means jobs for people and there is little else in the area”

The past half century has seen him work at more than 15 different sites for employers such as George Wimpey and Amec, but the last 6 years have been at Celtic Energy’s Nant Helen site.

Richard Davies, mine manager at Nant Helen, paid tribute “Meingwyn has been a valued and loyal member of Celtic Energy’s team for over 10 years. He started out t our Selar site in Rhigos then moved to Nant Helen in 2002. His experience and expertise in operating all kinds of plant and machinery at the mine will be difficult to replace. On behalf of Celtic Energy and myself, I wish Meingwyn continued good helath and a long and happy retirement”.

Meingwyn is husband to Caryl, dad to Clair and granddad to five year old Rhys whom he is looking forward to spending a lot more time with now – that as well as a spot of sea fishing with friends.