Posted: Fri 5th Apr 2024

Devoted Bangor Fundraiser Glenis Watkin Pearce Dies at 91 /

A “devoted” mum, avid children’s cancer fundraiser and renowned champion of Bangor, its pier and football club has died aged 91.
Proud ‘Bangorian’ Glenis Watkin Pearce (also known as Glenys) passed peacefully at her home in the city on February 16.
She was the widow of the late Brian Pearce and a “beloved” mother to David, the late Jonathan, and the late Bronwen, as well as mother-in-law to Karla and Natalia. She was also a “proud grandmother” to Dylan, Savannah, Rhys, Liam and Lara.
A stalwart of the city, Glenis was born in Bangor and her parents Emrys and Ellen Edwards were the Mayor and Mayoress of Bangor, in the early 1960s.
Her life began and ended in the family home in Upper Garth.
Her grandfather, Evan Edwards had built three homes, Glenis’s parents had moved in to one, after they wed, Evan and his wife, Mary lived next door and a third was occupied by various families, including the speaker Parch John Gwilym Jones.
Her son David recalled his mother’s childhood memories of Bangor.
“As a child, she remembered sheltering under the stairs during the Second World War as planes rumbled over the Irish Sea.
“She told me how sweets were rationed and exotic fruit was scarce in Bangor then, ” he said.
Her mother’s family had been shipbuilders in Porthmadog, and Glenis’s grandfather had been Captain David Williams.
David recalls: “My mum was very proud of this part of her heritage.”
She was also proud that her father Emrys was chairman of Bangor City Football Club in post during its famous exploits against Naples in 1962. He was also made a Freeman of the City in 1973.
Glenis would go to school at St Winifred’s, Llanfairfechan and went on to Bangor Normal College.
She married husband Brian, originally from Pontypridd, in 1957, and worked for Nestle and The Gas Board, demonstrating cookers and driving vans up the steep winding roads of the Great Orme.
The couple would later move to Edinburgh, York, then back to North Wales in the 1970s.
Her son David is a teacher in Edinburgh, his late brother Jonathan worked in Switzerland for Nestle, his late sister Bronwen was born with severe disabilities and sadly died as a teenager.
“Bronwen was a lovely person: ever-smiling, ever- happy and when she died at the age of 15 the impact on mum was huge,” David said.
“Bronwen’s condition required almost 24/7 care and mum could not have been more devoted.
“But mum was inspired to do all her charity work by my sister’s passing. She raised several £100,000 over the years for children’s charities over a 50 year period – even up until her 90s.
“She raised a lot for Alder Hey hospice, Claire House Hospice and Ysgol Delyn in Mold, as well as for Landmine charities.”
Glenis was unafraid of badgering MPs , councillors, businesses, famous names from sport and entertainment, cajoling and prompting them to donate.
“She was never afraid to speak her mind and always with an eye to promote the causes she supported,” David remembered.
Her work gained wider recognition as she became regularly featured in the local press, appeared on ‘Songs of Praise’ and on a panel on Radio Wales.
David would accompany her to a gala dinner in Llandudno where she was awarded North Wales’ Woman of the Year. His brother Jonathan was also honoured to escort her to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her charity work.
Glenis would also put in a “huge shift” voluntarily manning an information kiosk on the Bangor Victorian Pier. After her husband Brian died in 1993, Glenis, with others, ran the kiosk as a tourist information office for 24 years.
“Mum was also very active in helping to secure the future of the pier – which in her words was ‘the city’s jewel in the crown’”, David added.
In the latter part of her life Glenis would also initiate a project that was to become the most dear to her. Along with Eddie Hinks from the Alder Hey Children’s Cancer Hospital in Liverpool when they liaised with RAF Valley.
Together they organised an annual visit to the RAF base on Anglesey for terminally ill children, providing priceless memories for youngsters with just months to live.
At the kiosk she also helped promote Bangor and Bangor City FC, of which was a big fan.
“She really was a very, very proud Bangorian!” David said.
Sadly, Glenis’s last few years were not easy, her arthritis greatly limited her mobility and was devastated by the loss of Jonathan, in April, 2022.
“It was an awful ordeal for a mother who had already lost a daughter,” David said, but her “indomitable spirit” helped her live on in hope of planning more trips to RAF Valley, which sadly were not to be as her health failed.
David added: “She was a strong, brave and fearless woman. She was single-minded too, but a fiercely loyal citizen of the city, steadfast in her support for children’s charities and her close friends nearby.
“Above all, she was a daughter, mother and grandmother who was protective and fervently proud of her family.
“Without doubt, Bangor has lost a real champion of the city – she was eternally proud of the place but always ready to challenge those in authority to improve and develop the community.”
A funeral service and committal was held at Bangor Crematorium on Thursday, March 7.
Her grandson, Rhys Pearce, an aspiring poet, who is studying English Literature at Trinity College in Dublin has written a touching poem about his grandmother, which David wanted to share:
Return Journey
On the Menai Strait, the ships sail by
and I just stand here and try
to catch time’s river ‘twixt my fingers
like I used to catch crabs by the pier.
And the pier stands proud after a century,
presiding over memories
its listing like an outer shell
preserving towards posterity
But in the moment, there’s still much to change
and all in Bronwen’s name,
so come along to CHICS, to Hope Hospice,
then we’ll get on Songs of Praise
We’ll take on MPs and the councillors,
just like the Woman of the Year
and she’s the Woman of the hour now
and bequeaths her lack of fear
So shoes off, if you love Bangor,
if you’ll fight all your life to keep it,
and shoes off, if you love Bangor
even half as much as she did
And Glenis, if you’re listening
we thank you for your mission, and
we’re proud to take the torch from here
Now that you’ve cleared the path ahead.
And all the time I knew you,
you were a ship as yet departed,
well I know you’ve found the safest harbour now,
I hope you’re right back where you started. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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