The Rhondda Leader (31/07/1997)

NOVELIST Ron Berry, who died last week at the age of 77, will be remembered for his passion for the Rhondda and its people.

Mr. Berry, from Ael-Y-Bryn, Treherbert, had his first novel Hunters and Hunted published in 1960 and this was followed by Travelling Loaded (1963), The Full-Time Amateur (1966) and Flame and Slag (1969).

Another one of his novels, So Long, Hector Bebb, which was published in 1970, tells of a second-rate boxer whose revoked licence after a bad foul leads to a tragic end.

Born in Blaencwm, Mr. Berry worked underground after leaving school and following military service he became a professional footballer with Swansea Town.

The records at Vetch Field show that he scored a vital goal for the Swans in a cup match.

Damaged knees ended his football career and he then turned to his love of writing.

After a 25 year absence he returned to the literary fold last year when his last novel This Bygone was published.

He also wrote several BBC television plays and a book about peregrine falcons.

Mr. Berry derived immense pleasure from walking the mountain sides of his beloved Rhondda and was a keen fisherman.

He did not recognise the works of Richard Llewellyn, Jack Jones or Alexander Cordell because his belief was in novels which portrayed valley life as it really was.

Although dogged by ill health, Mr. Berry never lost his marvellous wit and always provided the very best of company downing a pint at the Treherbert Con Club.

Sir Wyn Roberts, former Minister of State for Welsh Affairs, was instrumental in securing him a Civil List pension while Tonypandy born Dai Smith, head of programmes for BBC Wales, recently promoted the publication of his last novel and also shown great interest in reviving the novelist's work.

A committed family man, Mr. Berry is survived by his wife Rene and five children.

Dave Edwards