A RETIRED priest, Canon Douglas Davies, who turns 100 today, has expressed thanks to God and his family for his long life. He is following in the footsteps of Captain Tom Moore (News, 1 May) by celebrating each year of his life with a lap of his house in Swansea, where he lives with his wife of 63 years, Patricia.
The sponsored walk will take place on 30 May at 2 p.m. to raise money for the Anglican mission agency USPG. Supporters are invited to join in walking laps at home to help him towards his £2000 target. He has already raised more than £1400.
Canon Davies said this week: “I can’t believe I am [turning] 100 years old. God has been very kind to me — calling me to be a priest from my childhood and giving me a lovely wife and family. I have met hundreds of people, and thank them all for their kindness, love, and support. I have had a very happy and rewarding life. Thank you, Lord. What else are you planning for me to do for you before I go hence?”
He was born, the second of four children, in the village of Glyndyfrdwy, in north Wales, where his father was Vicar. The family moved to Oxford, and he became a cathedral chorister at Christ Church, at the age of eight. In his late teens, he contracted tuberculosis, and spent two years in a sanatorium, regaining his health and strength. His daughter Cathie said of his illness: “No one could have imagined that he was to become a centenarian.”
Canon Davies was ordained deacon in 1946, and served his title at Christ Church in Sandfields, Swansea, moving to All Saints’, Oystermouth, where he met Patricia in 1957. The same year, he became Vicar of both Llangynllo and Bleddfa, where he remained until 1963, when the couple returned to Swansea with their three children.
He was the Curate-in-Charge of St Alban’s Conventional District, Treboeth, for three years, and then Vicar for 24 years until his retirement, during which time he served as Rural Dean of Penderi, and was appointed a Canon of Brecon Cathedral. He was the first chaplain of the newly opened Ty Olwen Hospice, until he reached 80.
As family and friends are unable to visit him on his birthday because of the lockdown, his daughter, Cathie, has been collecting video messages. The church bells are due to be rung 100 times at noon today, and a drive-past of salutations has been organised.
Describing him as an “avid reader” of the Church Times, Ms Davies said: “He looks forward to his paper being delivered every Friday: it is the highlight of his week. . . He has devoted his life to the Church, and, although not delivering services any more, he still says matins and evensong every day, and is a source of comfort, love, and support for the parishioners in the parish he now lives in.”
The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd John Davies, said on Tuesday: “My contacts with Douglas have shown him to be both a gentle and kindly individual, and, despite his many years of retirement, also a faithful priest of God and his Church. I have sent him my warmest congratulations on reaching 100 not out, and, in doing so, have also thanked him for his faithful and devoted ministry over the years, and for the life of discipleship which he has lived, and continues to live.”