Douglas Williams, Newlyn Man

Our well-loved Friend, Douglas Williams has died at the age of 92. This Newlyn man, son of a fisherman, spent a lifetime contributing to his native village. The importance of his written legacy was recognised when he became a bard of the Gorsedh and took the name Lev ha Pluven (Voice of the Pen).

He joined the Editorial staff of The Cornishman after leaving school and later as Chief Reporter he covered most major local events including the tragedy of Penlee Lifeboat. He tape recorded his interviews with local people and gave much of this recorded legacy to The Newlyn Archive. We also have a diverse collection of his newspaper reports which cover the major local events of his lifetime. He wrote a series of local history books which we have in the Archive. During a visit by Princess Diana to Newlyn she was presented with a copy of his book on the port.

He was made an M.B.E in the New Year’s Honours of January 1997 and that year also became Worshipful Master of the Freemasons Lodge at Penzance. As well as his great written contribution to the history of Newlyn he was also involved in many decisions about its future. For several years in retirement he was a member of the Newlyn Harbour Commission. During this time he worked with the Newlyn Fish Forum striving to make major improvements to the harbour. 

Singing was always important to him, beginning as a boy soprano soloist. While still at school he joined the Penzance Operatic Society and later served as President. As a Tenor soloist he sang throughout Cornwall. For some 40 years he took part in Good Friday oratorio. He sang at The Minack Theatre. He was a member of the Penzance Choral Society and was their soloist on many occasion. He regularly sang in performances of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ at St Mary’s Church, Penzance at Christmas. He was closely associated with Mousehole Choir and was their soloist when they performed at Central Hall in London. For some ten years he was its president and for the Choir’s centenary he wrote their history ‘A Century of Song’ that includes the story of the picturesque village and its artistic heritage. For his services to music in Cornwall he was presented with the prestigious Gorsedh Shield.

But we at the Newlyn Archive shall miss Douglas most because of his friendship and generosity of spirit.