26 January 2024 / Club News

In Loving Memory of Gerry Thomas

It is with heavy hearts that we share the somber news of the passing of our dear friend, Gerry Thomas, who served as our Fixture Secretary, past Treasurer, and former Committee Member.

As a Life Member, Gerry's enduring commitment has left an indelible mark on Aberdare RFC.

Gerry's absence, especially in his crucial behind-the-scenes role, has created a significant void within our club. A character in his own right, Gerry embodied qualities of honesty, loyalty, stubbornness, straightforwardness, reliability, and humour that endeared him to all who knew him. 

He saw the world in black and white, never wavering in his convictions and showing no tolerance for nonsense or foolishness.

His love for Aberdare Ruby Club and its shared goals was unwavering, and he remained loyal to the end. Gerry, a true influencer and guide, played a pivotal role in steering the club through financial challenges during his tenure as Treasurer. His knowledge and intelligence continued to support us from behind the scenes until the very end.

The void left by Gerry's passing is irreplaceable, and we remember him not only as a fixture secretary but, more importantly, as a great friend. 

We extend our deepest condolences to his family – Jan, Rab, Donna, and his extended family and friends – during this challenging time.

Gerry, your impact on Aberdare RFC will be felt for generations to come. May you rest in peace, and may your legacy continue to inspire us.

God Bless, mate


Just a few stories of Gerry from the past as recounted by myself and Bob Jenkins his best friend!!!, our friend and comrade fought those how knew him and of him is just a reflection of how he was some of them are just unbelievable really but are all so true, poor Jan and the family but is what made him so unique, he was fiercely loyal and passionate about our club and making sure he continued to do his bit to move us upwards along the right lines and in the latter years in his fight with all the health challenges he continued to support us all, with his armchair phone calls and texts.

Even on his last trip to the hospital he’s was more concerned in making sure the referees were contacted and confirmed from the ambulance, he was a one off that is so true and I know personally he will be missed by me, with his Sunday morning calls for a debrief of the matchday performance.

So to a few stories of his encounters around his life

He got involved with the club and soon started organised mini and junior rugby with the other parents, Dai Shellard, Rob Young and the support of many more, he wasn’t your classic rugby coach he just wanted the young players to run around and enjoy themselves, he was even seen on a couple of occasions refereeing games. He was very influential on Rhys Shellard in his informative years, I think it was better that Rhys was talented and moved quickly on or he would have been at the bar more than on the field.

Bobs Stories

I knew Gerry from twelve years of age, when we met at Grammar School, as we caught the same bus to school from Aberaman. He told me he didn’t do sport due to him breaking his elbow at eight years old play goalkeeper in the school yard he used that excuse for the rest of his life!! And went on to become a supporter, coach and administrator of the highest order,

As teens he got stuck in to most things that are now consider bad for you: Cigarettes: Alcohol and Takeaway food!!!, and as he got older so did his intake of those items increased.

But what most people did not understand Gerry was intelligent and took a job in local government and rose to the heights of management and handling large budgets for different local and county authorities.

But he never ever moved from the fact he was his own boss. Many times I’ve described him as an “intelligent nutter”, his driving skills weren’t the best he took five attempts to pass his test, on the first day of travel after passing the test he managed to roll his new van bought the day of the test near Baverstocks on the heads of the valley there were three passengers and an old engine in the back thankfully there were no injuries and only Gerrys pride gone.

When marrying the long suffering, Jan, he turned up to the wedding with a huge black eye and swollen left one sustained on the night be fore’s Batchelor party. They lived in Hirwaun and Gerry needed to share a lift to work, so as was his habit he would take his dog for a walk in the evenings (Gerry loved his dogs even to the end) and ended up in the pub always staying longer than he intended 3am was not unusual, on one occasion he was late for work which the driver didn’t take to kindly to and gave Gerry a peace of his mind which resulted in them stopping at the bottom of the Glynneath bank for a fight, they are still friends though.

Gerry was an avid Rolling Stones fan, he knew all the words to Ruby Tuesday and Honky Tonk Woman, but for those old enough his favourite was Satisfaction where he would strip off and place his pint in his underpants and gyrate the beer to keep his old boy clean or so he would say!! But Gezza even though he liked music he had a great aversion to one star namely Cliff Richard he claimed his music was posh and poncy and we who can recall would never stay in the room if any of his music was played creating a huge scene as always as walked out swearing.

On one trip to Scotland he decided to invent a cocktail, it consisted of beer, fags and assorted rubbish which he would proceed to drink and try to encourage others to partake , he knew one one would attempt it and berate all those around him as weaklings

And then giving everyone a wicked look and a gleam in his eye it was just for the devilment of it all.

As Club we would travel up to Twickenham, drinking on the bus and arriving at Nether Hall at the invite of the Army Band School, we would get there and decimate the bar, Gerry on this occasion decided to sing his normal song on a large round table, instead of staying in the centre he moved around and the table tipped over and Gezza flew into the air landing on the edge of the table ribs first, he collapsed and went grey and moaned, he cracked a number of ribs and that weas the quietest I’ve ever seen him, but as usual a couple of days later he was in the club as normal still moaning about unsafe tables and the rights to dance on them!!

Gerry was stubborn and when he thought he was right look out we went to the races and he thought one of the bookies called “Honest John “ had cheated him so he stayed for a number of hours standing in front of his pitch shouting that Honest John was a crook and cheat eventually the course stewards where called to remove him as they wanted John to make a living as all the punters

where avoiding him due to Gerrys protest, Gerry as he felt aggrieved reported them all to the Jockey Club, for his treatment he was never wrong!!!!

Thank Bob there are so many more stories one or two I remember

On the Isle of Wight when taking a tour with the minis where he conned the Leisure centre staff to admit the team to the swimming pool telling them there were only ten or twelve kids to go in and getting a group discount as he paid and talked to the staff distracting them over twenty five kids where pushed through the revolving gate and into the pool area when challenged he claimed to have miscounted but it was to late know as they were all enjoying themselves.

His Saturday club out of season where we would meet in the club for a beer and then he would organise lifts to different pubs or areas such as Glynneath and Skewen he would sit in the first pub order a round and then after the first one he would stay there whilst the rest of us had a wander and pick him up to get back to the club, he claimed his legs were not great I say he just didn’t like exercise.

Gerry was a character alright but a more honest, loyal, stubborn, straightforward, reliable and funny man you could not want as a friend Gerry saw things in black and white and did not bend when his mind made was made up he had no time for bullshit or suffer fools gladly.

He loved those in Aberdare Ruby Club who wanted the same outcomes as him loyal to the bitter end he lived his life on his terms and our club has lost a great influence and guide he righted the financial situation when he became our treasure when we were in dire need through his knowledge and intelligence he continued to very end supporting us all from behind the scenes

We will struggle to replace this complex character and just accept him for what he was a great friend.

To his family we know he was so pleased to see them marry and lately his granddaughters birth and christening bring that old glint back to his eye. God Bless mate

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