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sam.malone@walesonline.co.uk Churchman loved to travel.



CANON Dillwyn Morgan Thomas, who has died aged 85, was a South Wales vicar whose passion for travelling saw him serve parishes all over the world.

Having won a scholarship to Quakers' Yard Grammar School aged 11, he left education after just three years to train as a mining engineer.

He began work at the Dowlais-Cardiff Colliery at Abercynon yet his mining career was cut short when he contracted muscular rheumatism.

Canon Thomas was then accepted by the RAF as a volunteer for flying duties but again his career came to a premature end following a reduction of aircrew training with the end of World War II.

After demobilisation he applied for a place as an ordinand at St David's College, Lampeter, from which he graduated in 1950.

He next moved to Queen's College, Birmingham, before he was ordained in the Llandaff diocese in 1952. Curacies then followed at Christ Church, Dowlais, and St Catherine's in Pontypridd.

While in Pontypridd, in 1960, he married childhood sweetheart Marie Jenkins and the pair enjoyed a happy marriage until her sudden death in 1998.

Canon Thomas left St Catherine's to become vicar of Llanwonno before moving to Bargoed in 1968 and All Saints in Penarth in 1975, where he stayed until his retirement in 1988.

His work in the All Saints diocese was recognised in 1986 when he was installed as a Canon of Llandaff Cathedral.

Canon Thomas' love of foreign travel took him to many countries and while at All Saints he organised parochial group visits to Israel and on one occasion he took part in a month-long exchange of pulpits with the parish priest of Redondo Beach in California.

In the later stages of his ministry he worked as holiday cover for chaplains of Anglican communities abroad. He and his family spent time in Utrecht, Holland, in Chantilly and Menton in France, in Nicosia, Cyprus, and in Salzburg, Austria.

In 2002, the 50th anniversary of his ordination was celebrated at All Saints with a service led by the Lord Bishop of Llandaff.

His brother, Irwyn Thomas, said: "The regard in which he was held was marked by a congregation which filled the church. It consisted not only of his Penarth parishioners, but of those of the other parishes where he had carried out his ministry and of many other friends."

Canon Thomas, who died on April 4, is survived by his son Dillwyn and his daughter Elizabeth.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Apr 24, 2012
Words:421
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