October 20, 2020

Ruth Jones tears up with emotion as she discovers granddad lobbied for NHS


Gavin & Stacey star Ruth Jones finds out how her grandad lobbied for the founding of the NHS – only to be denied a chance to work in it.

The actress and writer makes the emotional discovery on BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are? after saying she’d “love to know more” about her grand-fathers, who died before she was born.

Talking about growing up in Porthcawl, South Wales, Ruth, 54, says: “My grandmothers both lived around the corner and were involved in bringing me up, but I never knew my grand-fathers.

It feels like there is a missing piece because they have been these elusive figures in our family for so long.”



Gavin & Stacey star Ruth Jones has filmed an episode for BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are?

On her fathers’ side of the family she learns that Henry Richard Jones, born in 1897, attended to those injured in the Navy early in the 20th Century before returing to work for Neath and District Medical Aid association and then the South Wales and Monmouthshire Alliance of Medical Aid Societies.

The groups provided medical treatment to workers and families for a
small subscription.

Henry lobbied Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan, a fellow Welshman, to hold talks about forming a national health service.

But when the NHS was created in 1948, Henry’s application to work in it was rejected.



Henry Richard Jones – Ruth Jones’ paternal grandfather, 1917 – lobbied for the NHS

In tears, Ruth says: “I find that really sad because he was really fighting for everybody and kept persisting, had that brilliant CV and they say ‘no sorry, no room at the inn’.

“Even though he did not then get a job with the new NHS, his work helped influence the development of the National Health Service.”

An obituary in a regional paper described Ruth’s grandad as “a legend in his own lifetime” in medical circles.



Henry Richard Jones (pictured on wedding day to Margret Anita in 1927) later applied to work for the NHS but was rejected **STRICTLY EMBARGOED NOT FOR PUBLICATION BEFORE 00:01 HRS ON TUESDAY 20TH OCTOBER 2020** – (C) Julian Jones – Photographer: Unknown

“Good on you, grandfather,” says Ruth. “You gave back to life and helped a lot of people. I am a big believer that there
are reasons why stuff happens. If he had got a job with the NHS he may never have left Neath and moved to Porthcawl. My dad would not have met my mum and I wouldn’t be sitting here now.”

On next Monday’s show, Ruth also finds out her great-great-great-grandad on her mother’s side was a sea captain.





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