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1977 Pin up in village row, steel town demands TV 'joke' apology, and much more made the news 34 years ago this week.

A young South Wales housewife who posed for nude pictures was later helping her husband paint out obscene slogans on the walls of their house.

The walls of their St Athan home were daubed after pictures of 20-year-old Sheila Hopkin appeared in a national men's magazine.

Her husband Robert identified the daubings as gravy browning. "They left a trail of it running down the road," said 26-year-old Mr Hopkin.

"Next time I'll leave them a pot of paint and let them get on with it."

The incident happened three days after Sheila, below, appeared nude in Mayfair magazine.

Mr Hopkin, a long-distance lorry driver, had to take time off to stay home with his wife and plans to move house to be near his work.

The couple have also been banned from the village's Three Horseshoes public house after a row between Mrs Hopkin and her sister-in-law, Susan Hartland.

The picture of Mrs Hopkin's 35-22-35 figure was the main topic of conversation in the normally sleepy village.

Newsagent Ralph Williams said: "I think it's a woman who wrote on the walls.

"There are ones who seem to be more upset than others and I think they are making a mountain out of a molehill.

"Most people who have come into the shop have taken it in good humour and there has been a great deal of sympathy for the girl."

But Mrs Hartland, of Pan-y-Celyn Place, said she objected to the pictures because they have upset the family.

"We've got to bring our children up in this village and it won't be nice for them to walk down the street and have people shouting that their aunty's a nude model," she said.

"I've lost all respect for my brother for exploiting his wife's body."

Mrs Hopkin said: "I ignored all the gossip - but it shook me up when I saw the writing."

Another bid to allow pop concerts at Cardiff Castle got very little support at a meeting of the city council.

When the matter was raised only 42 of the 75 members were still in the council chamber towards the end of a seven-hour sitting.

The council agreed that concerts should be allowed in Copper's Field, which is in Bute Park about 100 yards from the Castle.

Coun Bob Costley wanted them to look at the matter again to reconsider the Castle Green as a site.

"The youth of the city deserves to be considered and given the same facilities as other sections of the community," he said.

Vicious, vulgar, cheap and distasteful... these are the some of the words used by members of Afan Borough Council to describe a BBC Nationwide film about Port Talbot, shown last week.

Now the council is to demand a public apology from the BBC.

The film arose from a reference to Port Talbot as a place for a "stop-over" on a British winter package holiday advertised in America in a British Airways brochure. The film showed a reporter in a dirty raincoat and with a battered suitcase touring Port Talbot and finding everything locked up for the winter. After earlier complaints the BBC said the programme was intended as a joke.

The Mayor of Afan, Coun Sylvan Thomas, told councillors: "It was with a feeling of disgust that I learnt of the contents of the programme."

Two families in a road at Blackwood were warned to be ready to move out after massive 60ft wide crater, shown above, opened up near their homes.

The sudden drama brought a narrow escape for one man who stopped his car inches from the edge of the crater. It was believed heavy rain could have caused the slip.

If Harold Lewis, aged 34, of Hall Street, Blackwood, had driven any further he would have plunged into the huge hole.

It was Roy of the Rovers stuff for Cardiff City after a dramatic finish to their FA Cup fourth round tie against Welsh rivals Wrexham.

A devastating dribble by Steve Grapes set up a sensational injury-time winner for ice-cool John Buchanan, earning the Bluebirds a fifth-round home tie against the winners of Swindon and Everton. "Acka" Wells had a great send-off last month from his mates when he set off for Rhodesia to join the army. Last night he was back in the skittle alley of his Cardiff local.

Arthur, aged 34, - Acka to his friends - left his mother's home in Heol Muston, Ely, Cardiff, with his friend Brian Burrell, aged 38, of Cathays, on December 20. Their destination was Johannesburg, South Africa, then on to Salisbury, the Rhodesian capital.

The two men had hatched the idea while working together on a British Steel gas plant. "I had itchy feet. I wanted a life of adventure and had heard that money was good in the Rhodesian army," said Acka.

To pay for the trip he sold his car, record player and collection, his watch and even his rings from his fingers, and believed he could get a job in the Rhodesian building trade if he was unable to join the army.

Over the next month their hopes, and wallets, were gradually drained. Service in the army, they heard, began with a six-week basic training in combat tactics.

The monthly rate offered to them was 130 Rhodesian dollars a month, less than pounds 125, and because of government restrictions they would be allowed to send only a small fraction of their money out of the country.

Acka was disgusted by the bragging of young white soldiers about the number of "kafirs (Africans) they had shot.

"I wanted to fight the communists. Many of these youngsters didn't know what they were fighting for, he said.

Back in Cardiff, Acka says he has virtually nothing to show for his trip - just his friends and the lighter they gave him as a farewell gift.

Naming a street in Dowlais after rugby and broadcaster Carwyn James, right, was an insult to former world champion boxer, Merthyr-born Howard Winstone claimed a councillor.

Coun Morgan Chambers said: "I am not particularly keen on boxing as a sport but boxing more than anything has been part of the Merthyr scene.

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Sheila Hopkin, a 20-year-old housewife, watches as her husband Robert paints over obscene slogans daubed on the walls of their St Athan home following her nude appearance in Mayfair magazine. See story left.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 25, 2011
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