A MENSTON resident has been discovering more about his family's links to the 'father of the NHS'.

Dr Steve Ellams, former Chair of Menston Community Association, was aware that his grandfather, William Morgan, had some connection with Aneurin Bevan when they were young men.

The pair grew up in the same part of the South Wales Valleys in the early 20th Century and as teenagers went on to work in their local collieries.

They then both got heavily involved in local politics.

Dr Ellams, inspired by this year's 70th anniversary celebrations for the NHS, recently started delving further into his grandfather's history.

His online research unearthed a photograph featuring Mr Morgan and Mr Bevan along with fellow members of the Tredegar Query Club - a group set up in the early 1920s to challenge the power of the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company.

Dr Ellams said: "I was pretty astonished to discover this picture of Bevan with my grandfather.

"I knew from an early age that my grandfather was a miner, had spent the early part of his life in the Rhondda Valley and apparently had had a connection with Aneurin Bevan in his early career.

"I remember him always saying when I was a youngster that 'I could have been where Aneurin Bevan was' but I didn't think much about it.

"I've now found out quite a bit more.

"They both sat and won scholarships (sponsored by the South Wales Miners' Federation) to the Central Labour College in London but, unlike Bevan, the Morgan family were too poor to support William and he stayed in South Wales and went down the mine.

"The name Aneurin Bevan, of course, needs very little introduction and he left South Wales to go to London - the rest is history!"

The two men's subsequent paths, following the scholarship offers, could hardly have been more different.

After studying economics, politics and history, Mr Bevan - following a spell of unemployment - became a union official, a Labour councillor and then an MP.

As Minister of Health under Attlee’s government he implemented his National Health Service Act - which took effect on July 5, 1948 - and revolutionised the delivery of health care in the UK.

Mr Morgan, meanwhile, remained a miner who, during the Great Depression, left South Wales for the mines of South Africa.

Dr Ellams said: "His passion for democratic socialism was quickly destroyed by the apartheid system, so it wasn’t long before he returned to Britain, now even more disaffected, finally ending his days in the Kent Coalfield at Chislet Colliery, Ramsgate were I was born.

"I trained at the Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff, mainly due to my family roots, and spent the best part of 40 years working for the NHS, first as a dentist and then as an oral surgeon.

"I have never been down a mine and have some appreciation of those that did.

"Perhaps if it wasn’t for the mines the NHS may not have come about!"