Having reached retirement age in 1954, after six years service as Education Secretary and thirty-four years as Welsh National Secretary, W. J. Pate announced at a meeting of the Executive Committee that he wished to retire at an early date. He had previously explained that vigour and urgency to implement extensive developments and building plans appeared to diminish as time went on.
After due consideration the Committee invited the Secretary to continue his service for another five years; he suggested that he should continue in office for the lesser period of three years to be arranged on a year to year basis as circumstances permitted and the Committee agreed to such an arrangement.
Towards the end of the third year period, the Committee asked the Chairman and Secretary to interview Mr. R. E. Roberts, a Welsh-speaking Welshman, who was at that time Secretary of the Personnel Committee of the National Council, London, to ascertain whether he would be interested in succeeding W. J. Pate as Secretary of the Welsh National Council.
As a result of these discussions Mr. Roberts met the Executive Committee and was offered the appointment; he accepted and commenced duties in
1956. Mr. Pate continued for several months as Education and retired in April, 1957.
At a farewell meeting, the Hon. John Hamilton Bruce paid a warm tribute to W. J. Pate in respect of the successful work and the developments accomplished during his long term of office. Colleagues of the retiring Secretary spoke of the feelings of friendship which had existed between the National Secretary and members of the Staff.
A great number of representatives of the Welsh YMCAs gathered together to pay tribute to their Secretary for over forty years of faithful service.
The new National Secretary, Mr. R. E. Roberts, revealed sound organisational resources by visiting Associations and meeting their Committees which enabled him to make enquiries about their activities. From information received he grasped the nature of their problems. One of these was an urgent need for long delayed new YMCA premises at Bridgend.
The founding of the YMCA in Bridgend followed a public meeting at the Town Hall on 13th March, 1898. The Association found difficulty in securing suitable premises for its activities and moved its accommodation three times between 1899 and 1905. From 1905 it continued its work in "three rooms" over a shop premises in Wyndham Street, for fifty-six years. Its programme of activities followed the "George Williams" pattern. One of two of its earliest members, Mr. Clifford Anthony, became Chairman of the Association in 1933, and continued as such for twenty-six years. His first experience of YMCA service found him giving help at a YMCA Forces Centre near the station during the 1914-18 war.
During the years of the tenancy in Wyndham Street, the Association contended with much fluctuation; the rise and fall of membership, sometimes dropping as low as twenty five, financial difficulties, and the strength of the Association Committee. The local Association survived these difficult times by the untiring efforts of two indomitable people, Mr and Mrs. Jack Lewis to whom the YMCA will always be indebted.