Tony and Dilys Thomas: farewell

Presentation to Tony and Dilys Thomas by Church Sec., Barbara Henderson
Presentation to Tony and Dilys Thomas by Church Sec., Barbara Henderson

Au Revoir to Tony and Dilys

 Tony and Dilys Thomas first came to St Andrews almost forty years ago.  Since then they and their children, Jonathan and Rachel, have been involved in almost every aspect of the life of St Andrew’s so it is with enormous gratitude, and some sadness, that we bid them farewell as they move to Aberaeron, close to Dilys’ family farm where they have spent many happy holidays.    Rachel grew so fond of Wales that she moved there some years ago, and Jonathan’s choice of university was Aberystwyth.

Dilys is known to many as one of our organists.   She has worn other hats.   She was a member of that legendary St Andrew’s institution, “The Young Wives”, who even now meet up from time to time – still young in heart.  For many years she ran the Toddlers’ Group where she encouraged play and music, at the same time lending a sympathetic ear and giving advice to young mums.   A member of the London Welsh Choir she has a beautiful voice which has graced St Andrew’s choir and singers.   Her culinary and baking skills have been much appreciated on many occasions, and……we’ll be looking for another volunteer to bank the collections!

Like the Wife of Noble Character in Proverbs she has enabled Tony to serve St Andrew’s in many ways.  He has been an elder for many years. He was a founder member of the Church Centre steering group, helping see the project through to a successful completion, and has only recently stepped down as a Centre Trustee. 

He has represented St Andrew’s on many local ecumenical groups, was a member of the West London Area Committee, and was Secretary to the Leadership and Development group in Synod.  He has also been a loyal member of both the Prayer  and Discussion Groups

He has many interests including Rugby, Cricket and music.   One of St Andrew’s annual pastimes was to spot Tony as he sang with the BBC Choir on the Last Night of the Proms.

As the son and grandson of missionaries, his childhood in India then subsequent education and from there to the dreaming spires of Oxford and a career in Law read like something out of a novel.   His background in the Church of South India, his wide interests in ecology, politics and beyond made him a popular leader in Junior Church where he worked with the teenagers.  His advice on many things and even his library were sought.   At a recent church gathering it was good to see that, although these teenagers are now adults, the friendly rapport is still there.

Tony was the first person in St Andrew’s to undertake the TLS course, supervised by the late Revd Liz Davies.   His background and experience made him a very popular lay preacher in West London and his advice and support were invaluable when some years later I followed in his TLS footsteps alongside Jackie Haws, Marion McNeill and Peter Knowles.

Tony and Dilys have been at so many social and family occasions in St Andrew’s Their laughter will be missed, but we hope they will come back and visit us from time to time. 

If history is anything to go by the Kinghams might bump into them somewhere.   Ron tells me that when Rachel was doing an internship in New York he and Gail, who were on a trip round the world, met up with her took her to lunch at the famous “Manny Wolf’s”.   Even more of a coincidence, when Gail and Ron booked a trip on the final voyage of the QE2, they found Tony and Dilys were there too.

So thank you from all of us at St Andrew’s, Dilys and Tony.  It has been a pleasure and a privilege to know you both.   We wish you well in the future …..and haste ye back.                       Anne Byfield