Lord Gwilym Prys-Davies of Llanegryn (1923-2017)
Gwilym Prys-Davies, who read Law at Aberystwyth and was President of the Students’ Union, played an important part in the political life of Wales and was a passionate advocate of Welsh devolution.
Initially a member of the Welsh Republican Movement, Prys-Davies later joined the Labour Party where he authored a document in 1963 which set out the possibilities of an elected government in Wales.
In 1966, after failing to be elected to a seat in the House of Commons, Prys-Davies returned to his practice as a solicitor in Pontypridd, specialising in representing the victims of industrial diseases. As well as advising miners and their families on litigation issues, he helped to ensure that parents of the child victims of the Aberfan disaster secured proper legal representation.
With a strong interest and concern for public health, he was appointed chairman of the Welsh Hospitals Board in 1968.
In 1974, another Aberystwyth alum, John Morris (now Lord Morris of Aberavon) was appointed Secretary of State for Wales, and announced his intention of introducing devolution to Wales. He appointed Prys-Davies as his part-time political adviser. It would be some 23 years before the Welsh Assembly would be established.
In 1982 Prys-Davies took a seat in the House of Lords, and was the first peer to swear the oath in Welsh.
(*Photo credit TopFoto/UPP)