A tribute to Ifanwy Williams by Carl Clowes
It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of Ifanwy Williams, one of Dolen Cymru’s original trustees, at 98.
Although she was born of a generation of Liverpool Welsh, she spent most of her life in Wales and her heart was very firmly in the Porthmadog area. Having lost her husband at a very young age she subsequently lived by herself until the end of her days and, for those of us who had the pleasure of knowing her, she represented a truly unique personality. Her social circle knew no bounds and, even in the last days of her life she had attended a Plaid Cymru St David’s day dinner and a service at her local chapel. My first recollection of Ifanwy was as a social worker during my early days of medical practice in Llŷn but it was her involvement with Dolen Cymru that firmly implanted her in my mind.
Me Lineo Phachaka, Dolen’s first Organiser in Lesotho, with Ifanwy Williams at Castell Deudraeth, June 2018
As a prominent member of Merched y Wawr and Chair of its Disability Committee, Ifanwy paved the way for the highly successful link between the Lesotho Homemaker’s Association and Merched y Wawr. Ifanwy, together with ‘Malikeleli [Mali] Mokokoane, President of the Homemakers, was prominent in the training and exchanges between the societies on more than one occasion.
Ifanwy was very much a ‘people’s person’ - on the one hand I recall her addressing a workshop in Lesotho on ‘The place of development in in a democratic world’ and the next day on her knees on the floor playing the drums with the Queen’s Dancers of Lesotho. Others will refer to Ifanwy’s many other interests - as a peace campaigner, her work with Cymdeithas y Cymod [Fellowship of Reconciliation] and a campaigner against nuclear weapons and nuclear power. At the same time , her interest in life generally was infectious - always enquiring about the family and anything that might be promoting the interests of Wales! A rounded personality.
More than anything she had style - she often quoted her husband – “if you can’t offer a feast, give them style”. She had the measure of it right until the very end.
In the last week of her life, she highlighted a piece in the Western Mail ‘ How Nature helped conquer Capitalism’. Time will tell but the irony was she became the first victim of coronavirus Covid-19 to die in Gwynedd. It was an honour to be able to call her a friend.