responsibilities at social functions - notably the May Morning Breakfast.
It is also of interest that the first May Morning Breakfast was held in 1917 and has taken place annually, without a break, to the present time.
Full time Secretaries at Newport before the First World War were: C. Thompson and A. F. Coffee (afterwards the General Secretary of the Birmingham Association.)
The strength of any Movement, whatever its purpose may be, is its influence to induce any of its members, especially the young, to dedicate themselves to full time leadership in that movement. It is a tribute to the Newport Association that it has produced some prominent full time secretaries. Newport was the home Association of T. R. Ponsford, M.A., Secretary for the Overseas Work of the English National Council, and A. Frost, General Secretary of the Calcutta Association and later Appeals Secretary of the English National Council. A boy who - at the age of ten was a member of Charles Compton's Bible Class, and later a member of the Newport General Committee, is A. K. Stafford so well known to the members of the Newport YMCA and a retired General Secretary of the Cardiff YMCA.
No evidence documented or oral, is available to indicate when and in what building the YMCA was established at Neath. The earliest records are to be found in small 'much hand Minute Book with faded script.
It reports the activities of the General Committee from 1st April, 1884 to 30th August, 1886. The meeting of the 1st April, was held in rented premises at 19 Queen Street, which presumably, were the YMCA Centre at that time.
The owner of 19 Queen Street had decided to sell his properties, 18 and 19 Queen Street, by auction. It was decided to make a bid of up to £620., for both properties and the Committee succeeded in purchasing at a slightly lesser amount. Mr. John Cory of Cardiff donated £200 towards the cost. It would appear that at that time the Committee was also renting the Green Mission House. The Association had a good gymnastic group but from time to time found difficulty in providing adequate accommodation. Plans were later prepared to build a brick structure (50ft x 30ft) at the rear of their property but there is no evidence that the work was ever undertaken.
In these various dealings there is no hint as to where the Association was founded but some light is shed on the commencing date in the Annual Report of the National Council, London, for 1884, in which it is stated that the Neath YMCA was founded in 1875.
It is, therefore, a feasible conjecture that the Neath Association was formed in 1875, possibly at the Green Mission House and later moved to the larger accommodation at 19 Queen Street, using the Green Mission House for its Gymnastic activities.
It is always interesting to know the names of men of faith and valour who initiated a new YMCA Centre. Unfortunately, we are denied this as far as Neath is concerned. But we do have the names of the members of the General Committee who were responsible for the purchase of the Queen Street
Thomas Williams,(Chairman,) J
. Nash Rees,