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Giant Gesture From Our Modest Manic - Monmouthshire Free Press, 25th August 2003

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ARTICLES:2003



Title: Giant Gesture From Our Modest Manic
Publication: Monmouthshire Free Press
Date: Monday 25th August 2003


He may be used to appearing in vast arenas all over the world, but one of Wales' most famous rock stars has returned to his roots to help a small workingmen's club in their charity appeal.

James Dean Bradfield, guitarist and vocalist with the Manic Street Preachers, made a surprise guest appearance at the Llanarth Workingmen's Club in Pontllanfraith.

The club was celebrating raising £10,000 over the last four years for Velindre Hospital as part of their John Paul appeal - named after two local men, John Parry and Paul Williams, who died of cancer.

James Dean Bradfield accepted a cheque on behalf of Velindre and boosted the total with £1, 000 out of his own pocket, and another £1, 000 from fellow band members Nicky Wire and Sean James.

Two years ago, James Dean Bradfield donated £8, 000 to Velindre - the hospital where his mother, Sue, was treated until her death in August 1999.

Her untimely death prompted him to pen the hit single Ocean Spray in her memory.

After catching up with old schoolfriends at the club, James made a rare speech in which he referred to his mother - who was well known in the town, where she ran a bookies'.

He also promised to return and double his contribution in four years' time if the club could raise another £10, 000.

Phyllis Williams, mother of Paul Williams and chairwoman for the charity appeal, said: "I've known James for a while now, and he was really lovely - he had plenty of time for everybody.

"We haven't seen him for a long time because he is a busy lad these days, so we were lucky to have him, but he was in no rush to leave the club at all."

Gwyn Evans, chairman of the Llanarth Workingmen's Club, said: "The night went absolutely superb. James was more than happy to sign autographs and have his picture taken for everyone and anyone who approached him.

"We are absolutely over the moon that he made the effort, and he was just like the James we knew before the band became famous - there were no airs and graces with him whatsoever."