When Hazel Gambold was asked about her favourite hymn she didn’t need to think about it. This is what she wrote in the Burry Green Chapel magazine:
When I was young there was a very well-known minister in the town. Some of you reading this may have known him. He was the Revd Arthur Lloyd M.A., a very highly respected man, an excellent preacher and musician. He did not have a Chapel, he was a regular guest preacher, not only at Carmarthen Road Congregational Church where I grew up, but in many others in Swansea districts, including Gower.
He had a favourite hymn for the morning, which was “When morning guilds the skies, my heart awakening cries, may Jesus Christ be praised”, and for the evening service, the hymn which became my favourite:-
Hushed was the evening hymn,
The temple courts were dark,
The lamp was burning dim
Before the sacred Ark,
When suddenly a voice divine
Rang through the silence of the shrine.
This hymn tells of Samuel the great prophet, serving God when a child in the temple.
There is of course a reason for this hymn being special to me. For these of you who are too young to have known Revd Arthur Lloyd, I must tell you that he was totally blind. He had never seen the “morning glory guild the sky”, nor yet the darkness. His day and night were one.
As children we would sit in the gallery, looking down on the pulpit , watching Revd Arthur Lloyd reading from the scriptures written in Braille. His left hand finding the sentence, and his right following the words across the page. We sang his chosen hymn to him with great feeling.
There were many occasions when he came into my life. I would like to share this one with you…
I was one of a number of young people taken into membership on a Sunday evening in the very early forties. A short time afterwards the Christian Youth Camps had been started at Llanmadoc, thanks to a local man who had given the site for that purpose. The Revd Morris Charles of Walter road Congregational Church was very involved with this project. In our turn, we in Carmarthen road were invited to spend a weekend at the camp which was very basic at that time. We were thrilled at the prospect of spending Friday night until Monday morning in the country with our Sunday School teachers. There was just one obstacle. We were obliged to have the Deacons’ approval. This was given, provided that we attend the trinity chapel at Cheriton on the Sunday evening. We did our best to clean ourselves up and make ourselves presentable. What a surprise! The preacher, like ourselves, was a visitor—the Revd Arthur Lloyd. We received Communion that evening from a man that we held in such high esteem. It did not matter that we were not in our Sunday best.
Account from Maureen, Pauline and Edna
"We were glad to see a road to St Madoc" said Maureen, one of three friends from North Gower Chapels visiting St Madoc Centre on March 9th to celebrate the work of the Gower ChristianYouth Work Trust. When they used to visit in the 1940s, they had to get off the bus in Llanmadoc village and walk the mile and half to the camp. "There were no proper windows in the buildings, just slits." said Edna, a retired theatre nurse. "We had to go outside to collect the water and there was only cold water for washing."
Maureen commented that Health and Safety wasn't an issue in those days. There was no electricity and the meetings were kept long deliberately so that it was dark by bedtime and the youngsters couldn't see the spiders in the dormitories! Unfortunately, the dark also meant that that one of three girls bouncing on the top bunk bed hit her head on an iron beam and had to have stitches for the wound.
Pauline described making the porridge at night and putting it into a hay box to keep it warm until the morning "It was the best porridge I have ever tasted." she said.
They all agreed "We had wonderful times at St Madoc Camp."