RECENTLY Penarth and District Ramblers heard of the sad passing of Andy Noble which came as something of a shock, not only to his family but also to those who knew him, as many were used to seeing him on his walks around the town.

Becoming a member in 2004, he also became the group stick monitor and when the group stopped for breaks and were ready to move on, he would shout ‘Sticks’ to remind everyone to pick up their walking poles and woe betide you if you didn’t!

Andy was a man of few words and for those of us who attended his funeral we learned all about his very full and active life.

Born in Edinburgh, the youngest of three children he originally became an aircraft fitter in the RAF and met Peggy his wife to be when he came to St Athan and later moved to Barry in 1965 after they were married. Not only did he journey to many exotic locations, but was an excellent baker and cook, enjoyed reading and doing crosswords and following his retirement thoroughly enjoyed his walking exploits as well as being so proud of his daughter and granddaughter.

As a tribute to his friendship and as a treasured member of the group, William organised a memorial walk of six miles taking in all the places in the town that he used to stop and contemplate the world passing by, when he was out on his many local walks and his daughter Fiona and a few of her friends with their dogs, joined the group to share the fun and laughter as people shared their memories of Andy.

On an overcast morning when it was trying hard to rain, a group of 24 met up at Barry Railway Station and heading up to Bird Cage Walk, they paused near a bench where he used to sit, before heading up Miskin Street and following a back lane to St Nicholas Road. Down The Grove to Romilly Park Road and on past the Gorsedd Stones to enter the delightful Romilly Park, where a beautiful avenue of trees led them on to pass through Birch Grove Wood. Down through Birch Grove to the Knap Gardens with its waterfowl on the lake and along the promenade with its hazy views out over the Bristol Channel of the Somerset coastline and as the weather brightened a little, past the site of the Knap Lido to pause above Watchtower Bay.

Here there was a choice, to cross the open sand at the Old Harbour or continue with the main group. The dog owners and a few others plumped for the Old Harbour so the dogs could enjoy running free, whilst the main group carried on along Cold Knap Way to enter the Parade Gardens. Then along the causeway to walk through the main car park on Barry Island where they re-grouped at the York Breakwater for the circumnavigation of Friar’s Point with a pause for a refreshment break overlooking Whitmore Bay.

After this, Geraint as a thoughtful nod to Andy shared Everton mints and Barley sugar sweets with the group as Andy always brought along a selection of sweets which he handed out to everyone after the lunch break on walks.

Because of the dog ban until September, reaching Whitmore Bay the walk continued along the busy promenade, through the western and eastern shelters to join the Clement Colley Walk around the base of Nell’s Point to Jackson’s Bay, for a group photograph. Then uphill to Redbrink Crescent and a short stop for lunch on the green where William shared a poem by his favourite poet WH Davies entitled ‘Thunderstorms.’

On past the allotments at Dyfrig Street, along Clive Road to the steps leading down onto the old docklands which have now been developed with housing, along Neptune Way and Hood Road to the tunnel which lights up and into Broad Street for the short walk back to the station. Ending a delightful route, well walked by Andy during his lifetime and despite the fact he hadn’t walked with the group for some time, rest assured he will be missed, but his memory will certainly live on in the tales that people in the group share whilst out walking.

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