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Graham Kneath 1928 - 2006

Obituary                                                                        8 October 2006


Captain Graham Kneath, a Vice-President of the Morriston Orpheus Choir Supporters Association has died at the age of 78.  Graham Kneath had an association with the Morriston Orpheus stretching back over 25 years.

Born on 12 May 1928, Graham Kneath of Denefield, London Road, Crowborough, East Sussex was born and bred in Llangyfelach Road, Swansea, where his father was a steel worker foreman.  Graham left School at the age of 16 in 1944 for the Merchant Navy where he trained as a Radio Operator and always came back to Swansea .

Graham was at sea for nine years and travelled all over north Russian on oil tankers serving two years in Hong Kong .  He then worked for the Union Castle Line for four years, a glamorous time for a young man.  He went to Southern Rhodesia to where he planned to emigrate.  He returned to to train himself as a Pilot and as there were no central African airways left in 1957, he joined Silver City Airways at Lydd, ; later, he joined BUA and then British Caledonian with whom he flew for 34 years.

 As the Fleet Manager of the DC10, he was chosen to fly the Pope back from Cardiff on his visit to in 1983, at the time the Morriston Orpheus Choir was chosen to provide a musical welcome for the Pontiff.  This was Graham’s introduction to an abiding interest in the Choir through Gwyn Bailey, who was put in contact because of Gwyn’s work in Hospital Radio and his efforts to help a patient play a record for his Brother in law!  From this small start Graham developed a life long devotion to the Morriston Orpheus.  Living in East Sussex , he was unable to attend concerts as much as he wanted, but managed to persuade the Orpheus Committee to bring the Choir to Tunbridge Wells on two occasions to sing to the Hospice in the Weald, both events being received with great enthusiasm.  New friends were made! Graham’s English wife, Shirley, is equally involved and has learned the Welsh National Anthem, so she can join in the MOCSA concerts.

When British Caledonian was taken over by British Airways he was delighted to receive a letter from Lord King for 35 years of devoted service.

He ran a Sunday school at St Johns Church Crowborough teaching 63 children without any previous formal experience.

Graham had been ill with Bone terminal cancer since 1988.  He characteristically left instructions for a big party for all his friends, having died peacefully.  He was noted for his fund of humorous anecdotes even to the extent of sending friends lists of jokes by e-mail.

“As a Training Captain and Test pilot Graham Kneath powerfully influenced others with his expertise” said Clive Williams, spokesman for the Morriston Orpheus Choir.  “Graham was a modest man; he hated being told he was good at anything.  He will be fondly remembered as a kind and considerate man and a MOCSA fanatic and Swansea boy through and through”

The funeral service is next Friday, 13 October 2006, a family cremation only, followed by a celebration of his life at St Johns Church, Crowborough at 2.30 p.m.  Family flowers only, donations if desired to the Hospice in the Weald, Maidstone Road, Pembury. Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4TA . 

A CD of Graham´s beloved "Orpheus" is to be played at the Church service.



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