Our speaker on 12th June was Mrs Pat Reynolds who called her presentation, “Newport Hearts”.

We were shown photographs from the start of the redevelopment of Newport City Centre- buildings being demolished, shops closing or moving to out-of-town retail parks. These were accompanied by Pat’s witty poems.

Also shown was the new entrance to Newport’s Railway station which Pat likened to a phone handset in her poem. This was the structural heart of Newport.

Pat then talked about the real heart of Newport – the people. Those running the Food Banks, the Credit Union,  the Street Pastors etc. She quoted from The Maindee Parish Magazine of 1921  the work of the ladies of St. John’s Parish who brightened the lives of men who had been wounded serving their country in the 1914-1918 War and who were patients at the hospital in Beechwood Park.

The ladies carried out fundraising which enabled them to hire a charabang to take patients to Goldcliffe (twice) and Tintern in 1919. Afterwards, they organised Whist Drives, teas and suppers as well as a Christmas feast at the hospital where men could participate. These efforts were greeted with delight as shown by the keenness of the Whilst playing, pleasure when one of the coveted prizes was won and the heartiness with which patients voiced their thanks. Such acts and those shown each day in different communities throughout the city showed the real heart of Newport.

Member enjoyed sharing their memories of the photographs and people were given paper hearts to pass on to someone who had been a help in their lives.

Submitted by Dorothy Dyer

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