South East Wales

Funeral held for Nos Galan race founder Bernard Baldwin

Bernard Baldwin with author Gary Marsh Image copyright Gary Marsh
Image caption Bernard Baldwin with author Gary Marsh

About 150 people have attended the funeral for the founder of the annual New Year's Eve Nos Galan race, Bernard Baldwin.

Mr Baldwin died in Cynon Valley Hospital on 3 January, aged 91.

The funeral service was held at St Margaret's Church in Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taff, before a cremation at Llwydcoed Crematorium.

Mr Baldwin's family described him as "a passionate Welshman" who "meant so much to so many people".

A reading on behalf of his daughter Alison said: "I loved being dad's daughter. He was a one of a kind and I'm proud to call him my father."

The first Nos Galan race, held in Mountain Ash, was in 1958 and now attracts more than 1,500 runners each year.

Mystery guests are also a feature, with Wales football manager Chris Coleman the latest one to take part, just three days before Mr Baldwin's death.

Other famous faces to have taken part include sprinters Colin Jackson and Linford Christie, rugby stars Alun Wyn Jones and Shane Williams and ex-footballer John Hartson.

Image copyright Family photo

Ann Crimmings, chairwoman of the Nos Galan committee, said: "Whilst we all mourn the passing of Bernard, we can take great comfort in the fact that he has left us all a lasting legacy in the shape and form of the world-famous Nos Galan road races."

Mr Baldwin, one of seven children, was born in Barry in September 1925 and served as a trainee air gunner in World War Two before training as a teacher.

While working as PE, games and music master at Mill Street Secondary Modern School in Pontypridd in 1950, he discovered the legend of Guto Nyth Bran, which led him to start Nos Galan.

He later married Pat Richards and the couple have one daughter, Alison.

As well as being made an MBE in 1971, Mr Baldwin was awarded the freedom of Rhondda Cynon Taff in 2014 to recognise his contributions to athletics.

His ashes will be scattered at Guto Nyth Bran's grave.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption A rain drenched Bernard Baldwin helps a Nos Galan mystery runner start


  • Founded in 1958
  • First race featured 101 runners - rising to 1,600 in 2016
  • Commemorates the life of legendary Welsh athlete Guto Nyth Bran who died in 1737, aged 37
  • A mystery runner carries a lit torch from Guto Nyth Bran's burial place at St Gwynno's Church, Llanwonno, four miles (6.5km) into the town centre to represent his spirit
  • According to legend, the Llwyncelyn runner could catch a bird in flight and once ran to Pontypridd and back - about seven miles (11km) - before a kettle boiled
  • Halted between 1973 and 1984 due to traffic concerns

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