Doctor Huw Ballard Thomas
Born in Fochriw in 1929, the only son of Mr. & Mrs. T. Griffith Thomas. He attended Lewis’ School, Pengam, and graduated with honours in Celtic Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Wales, Cardiff. At the age of 20 he was initiated into the Gorsedd at the National Eisteddfod at Bridgend and subsequently became a member of the Council of the National Eisteddfod.
During January 1949 he began to broadcast on the B.B.C. Welsh Region. The programme was entitled “Teresa’r Diwydiad,” and was in Welsh, and was a study of the life and work of Ann Griffith, the famous Welsh hymn writer. It was the outcome of an article which Mr. Thomas published early in 1948, and which aroused considerable interest in Welsh circles. At the age of 20, Mr. Thomas was one of the youngest writers ever to have work featured by the B.B.C.. He assisted the Rev. Moelwyn Merchant with the broadcasts of Welsh Compline from the Welsh Region during 1948. Many of his articles and short stories have previously been published.
In 1950, he was tutor in literary studies at Ampleforth College, York and was guest organist at the North Riding Choirs’ Festival of Music held at Thirsk. He also assisted in reviving the famous Ampleforth sword dance, which had its first public performance for years at Ampleforth College Exhibition, held in June.
In 1953 he gained a Doctor of Philosophy research degree with distinction at the University of Louvain, Belgium. He received many messages of congratulation from friends and associates. These include messages from the Marquis of Bute, the Earl of Dumfries, the Viscount Southbury, P.C., Sir Horace Evans, G.C.V.D., Dr. David Jones, C.B.E., D. Litt., and a letter from Sir John Cecil Williams, Ph.D., conveying the congratulations of the Council of the Honourable Society of Cymrodorion, and inviting Dr. Ballard to accept membership of the Society.
In the autumn of 1954, he was appointed assistant director of a leading firm of London publishers. The duties of the post included selecting and editing works for publication, and supervising the exchange of ideas and material with publishing houses on the Continent. However, earlier in 1954, for health reasons, he was granted a dispensation from membership of the Benedictine Order at Ampleforth Abbey by the Pope. To celebrate his new appointment, a luncheon party was given at the Garrick Club, London, by the directors of the firm. The guests included Lord Robert Stuart, Sir John Gielgud, and Mr. Vernon Bartlett.
Having moved to Cardiff, he achieved distinction as a writer and psychologist, and gained acclaim as a broadcaster. One of his talks on the B.B.C. Home Service, was about his