Gibbs, George (Lampeter Area)
Born in Glasgow September 26th 1917
Died December 18th 2003
He sent a letter to one of his friends with his funeral arrangements :
'When I die i would like to be buried at Capel Brondeifi Churchyard. Why? - because it is so peaceful there, also i will be with my own breed - the Celts, which I am very proud of. Will you see to it that my beard will not be cut off. In the Chapel I would like all my friends I leave behind to sing 'Keep right on to the end of the road' and 'Scotland the Brave'.
Yr eiddoch dros Gymru,
He learnt Welsh and Gwynfor Evans was one of his heroes
Aeron Davies of Felinfach wrote the following poem in memory of George Gibbs :
'Mewn dinas fawr yn Alban bell
Un nos fe anwyd baban
A chariad pur, ar aelwyd lan
Yn datgan swyn y cyfan
Gadawodd aelwyd Tad a Mam
I weld y byd fel morwr
Ond gelyn creulon daflodd fom
A mawr oedd siom yr arwr
Ei gartref clyd yn ddarnau man
Gan effaith cas y rhyfel
Ond daliodd ati drwy ei ffydd
Ehag cywilydd hud y botel
'Rol treiglo oes y cerdded byd
Heb ofyn fim i'w arbed
Un prynhawn daeth pen y daith
Yn nhalaith wresog Llanbed
'Roedd yn ei boced amlen wen
Ac ynddi ei orchmynion
Darllenwyd hwy pan ddaeth yr awr
Gan gyfaill mawr y gwron
Ym mhridd Brondeifi nawr mewn hedd
Mae'r arwr blin yn gorwedd
Fe brofodd siom a throeon dwys
Cyn gorffwys mewn Tangnefedd
'King of the Road' (from the BBC Website)
In December 2003, more than 100 mourners attended the funeral of George Gibbs who had lived in Lampeter for 20 years. A local character, he'd spent much of his life tramping the roads of Wales.
Tributes have been paid to celebrate the life of Wales' own 'king of the road' who walked around 90,000 miled will all his possessions in a pram for more than 30 years.
Around 100 mourners attended the funeral of George Gibbs, 86, just before Christmas.
He had lived in Lampeter for the last 20 years but before that had spent more than three decades tramping the highways and byways of Wales, with only an old pram for company.
One of his last wishes was to have the song 'Keep Right on the end of the road' played at his funeral.
Originally from Glasgow, Mr Gibbs joined the Mercahnt Navy in 1931 and served until he was demobilised after World War 2 in 1946.
He arrived home from leave in 1942 to discover his wife Flora had died after a bomb had hit their home in Clydebank.
After demobilisation in 1926 Mr Gibbs moved to Flintshire and he was to spend the next 30 years tramping up and down Wales.
'George walked every road in Wales and averaged about 3,000 miles a year', said Lampeter Unitarian Minister Goronwy Evans, a friend of Gibbs.
'Whenever he came to a town or a village he would call at the police station to let officers know that he was in the area'.
PC Arwel Jones from Aberystwyth police station, first came across Mr Gibbs shortly after joining the force in 1975.
'George was a true gentleman of the road and was no problem at all,' he sais.
'I remember that he kept a large book in his pram which was full of the names of policemen and a record of their creers over the years. The only problem we had with him was that you would be driving up to Machynlleth in the middle of the night and find George pusing his pram in the middle of the road',
In the 1960s and 1970s Mr Gibbs' life on the road was feted with a series of articles in the national press.
He spent many years working on farms in exchange for a night's sleep in a barn and some food before moving on.
As the years went on Mr Gibbs restricted his movements in the area between Machynlleth, Lampeter and Pembrokeshire.
'In an age when everyone is squeezed out exactly the same, George Gibbs was an example of individuality and a fine character,' said Machynlleth county councillor Michael Williams.
Comment from Christopher Thomas from Lampeter :
'I knew George Gibbs from his first visit to Lampeter back in the 1970s. He was known as a very nice gentleman, he'd talk to everybody and he'd be the first person to help anyone who was in need. In his last years, he was given a bungalow in Maesyfelin in Lampeter where he lived until he died. He used to work a lot on the farms around lampeter as a seasonal worker. You couldn't class him as a tramp. He was more of a traveller, going from one place to the other looking for work but he liked Lampeter so much, he decided to settle here. I believe he lost his wife and children during the war and that was why he decided to travel. He was very well known all the way from Cardigan, Llandysul, Lampeter and Aberaeron areas. Everyone had a kind word to say about him. He was a very hard working man and would talk to anyone'.
George, Clonc, rhif 207, Hyd. 2002, t. 9
George Roland Gibbs, Clonc, rhif 220, Chwef. 2004, t. 9
King of the Road Celebrated, BBC Website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/mid/sites/lampeter/pages/george_gibbs.shtml), 12/2003
Picture of George Gibbs, Clonc, rhif 109, Rhag. 1992, t. 7