THE funeral of the Rt. Hon. Denzil Davies the former MP for Llanelli took place today, Saturday (Oct 27) at Tabernacle Baptist Chapel in Burry Port.
The chapel was packed to capacity as family and friends attended to pay their respects to the MP who served his constituents in Llanelli for 35 years. The service was officiated by Revd. Roger Morley Jones and Revd. Jim Flanagan.
Among the politicians present were Lee Waters AM, Nia Griffith MP, Lord Michael Howard and Sir Richard Packer. Also present were Chairman of Carmarthenshire County Council, Councillor Mansel Charles and Deputy Chairman, Councillor Kevin Madge.
Cor Meibion Llanelli were led by Conductor D Eifion Thomas and accompanied by organist Mr Allan Fewster M.B.E. who in turn led the congregation in hymn singing during the service. Daisy Owens of Loud Applause Rising Stars also gave a beautiful solo rendition of Ave Maria.
Sir Richard Packer provided an insight into his friendship with Denzil Davies and told the congregation that they had lost a brilliant mind. Sir Richard detailed much of Denzil’s political life and achievements saying that he had met Denzil Davies in 1978. He said: “I was struck by how young he was, full of energy. Anyone who is made a Treasury Minister at a young age is seriously gifted. Denzil shone on the brightest of stages. Outstanding at school he moved via scholarships and prizes to a distinguished first at Oxford to the bar becoming a member of Parliament and very quickly becoming a Minister of the Crown and a Privy Counsellor.”
Speaking about the chapel surroundings Sir Richard said: “It is a perfect setting to add distinction and dignity to the service.”
A fellow student and friend of Mr Davies from his time at Oxford University Tony Yablon documented the former MP’s incredible academic background, which led to Mr Davies achieving a first class law degree from Oxford. He told a story of how an organist from Laugharne had helped Denzil Davies get to Oxford. He said; “The church organist at Laugharne, a Mr Morgan, was the origin of Organ Morgan in Under Milk Wood. Denzil was always grateful to Organ Morgan. His father had been blinded and his mother had been crippled with arthritis. Organ Morgan had given Denzil the coach fare for his travels to Oxford to attend his interview.” Mr Yablon went on to paint a picture of a very studious and brilliant young academic Denzil Davies. He said: “When Denzil entered for his oral law exam the Dons stood up and clapped, which rarely happened at Oxford.” Mr Yablon also pointed out that Denzil Davies took on a 1 year post at the University of Chicago law school. He said: “It was the same position held by Barack Obama before he became President of the United States of America.”
Former County Councillor Jan Williams paid tribute to Llanelli’s Member of Parliament for 35 years. She said: “Denzil had a brilliant mind and an engaging personality. He was the youngest member of the Privy Council when he was sworn in in 1978. Denzil was a man who had very strong values and principles and would not compromise them. He was an amazingly good constituency MP. He had a natural courtesy and a well developed sense of humour. He brought his considerable talents to bear to resolve his constituents problems. He helped everyone who asked for his help.” Jan Williams went on to tell the congregation of Denzil’s involvement with the church and the Christian faith. She spoke about his travels to Korea to support missionary work and his unstinting help for people especially those coming into the UK from abroad through pro bono work as a barrister and through his Chairmanship of the Credit Union. Denzil Davies started the organisation along with his agent and friend Jeff Hopkins who passed away last year.
Lord Michael Howard also spoke fondly of his friendship with Denzil Davies. Speaking to Llanelli Online Lord Howard said that he would often chat with Denzil about Welsh rugby especially the Scarlets. He said that Mr Davies would be remembered for his contribution to Wales and his brilliant mind.
Following the service there was a private family interment at St Illtyds Church. There followed a reception at the Stradey Park Hotel where two photographs of Mr Davies adorned a simple table lit by a single candle along with a vase of flowers and books written by the former MP. One of those photographs was of the young Denzil Davies in his prime as an MP and the other the last photograph taken of him during an interview with Llanelli Online.
One of the most poignant and touching moments of the service was when Cor Meibion Llanelli ‘hummed’ the tune of Myfanwy as the coffin of Mr Davies was led out followed by his family. Denzil Davies was described by many as a modest man, but a modest man who served his constituency well for an astonishing 35 years.
Rt. Hon. Denzil Davies 9th October 1938 – 10th October 2018