Huw “Chick” Jones had such a positive effect on so many lives no amount of words in tribute to the great man could ever do justice to what he contributed to this world.
When it was announced yesterday that this community champion had passed away at 62 years young, the feeling of loss across all age groups in the Corwen area and far, far beyond was immeasurable.
Huw was “Mr Corwen” – simple as. Whether it be in sport, through his role as a Plaid Cymru councillor, across all areas of public life. He was the go-to man for all things relevant in the town he loved, and which loved him dearly in return.
When compiling a tribute to a well-known figure, it is a popular trend for comments like “he/she was popular with everyone” or “he/she did not have an enemy in the world” to be aired.
Sometimes, with all due respect, these type of cliches are not always 100% accurate, but they are seen as the right things to say.
In Huw’s case, every plaudit you will read or hear was 100% true. You would never hear a single bad word about him.
He was warm, extremely polite, spent most of his time smiling, always encouraged, never discouraged and forever put others first. Everyone loved “Chick”.
I knew Huw for more than 30 years. We first met when I worked as a reporter on the now defunct Denbigh-based newspaper the Vale Advertiser and Huw was initially part of the first-team management set-up at Corwen Amateurs FC.
He held numerous positions within the club over the years and was always my first contact for information.
I recall him looking after me when I attended a Corwen presentation night in the early 1990s, he was the perfect host. He also invited me down to watch one of his junior teams one Saturday morning (picking me up from Denbigh and taking me back).
Huw was fantastic company. As we both loved football, there was always plenty to talk about, and he always ensured I was kept well-informed about Corwen FC matters.
When I moved to the Rhyl and Prestatyn Visitor in 1998, our contact became less frequent, although we would often bump into one another at Denbighshire County Council sports awards evenings.
I used to regularly hear about his work in developing girls and women’s football in the area. That continued almost right up to the present day. He did so much to nurture the talents of female footballers in the Corwen area in particular. The tributes from some of those girls on social media since his passing speaks volumes.
In 2018, we began to work together again through the North Wales Women’s Football League. I learned so much from him, the players to watch, the latest news. He’d give me little ‘snippets’ of news no-one else involved in the women’s game would think of doing.
Unfortunately, our association took a break last year as Huw dealt with a serious illness. It was not his first. Four years ago, he almost died from contracting sepsis during Euro 2016.
Huw’s later years were not always easy ones, but he never complained once, always positive. I’d ask him how he was and he’d always say the same: “I think I’ve cracked this now Dave, I’m on the mend. We’ll be working together again soon.”
I would copy him in on every Facebook article I wrote relating to women’s and girls football. The most recent entries on his page are mainly those articles. He was particularly proud in recent years of the Corwen Under-16 Girls team which experienced so much success. Many of the girls now represent the senior side.
Huw was also hugely proud of Corwen Football Club and all it achieved.
There were the Welsh National League Premier Division title wins of 1998-99 and last season, where the team was promoted to champions after original table-toppers FC Queen’s Park had points deducted. Also the Division One championship triumph of 1987-88 – my first season as a reporter!
Huw was also an inspirational figure in the early careers of Wales internationals, Corwen lads Gareth Roberts and Harry Wilson, both of whom represented Chick’s beloved Liverpool FC.
Harry, currently at Bournemouth on loan from Liverpool, paid tribute to Huw on his Twitter account today, Tweeting: “Sad to hear the passing of Huw ‘Chick’ Jones today, huge loss for Corwen fc and the town as a whole! True gentleman who followed me from the start of my journey! RIP chick.”
A goalkeeper in his playing days, football was Huw’s main love. He was also an ardent Wrexham fan and followed the Wales international team home and away.
However, he also adored cricket, playing at Corwen and later becoming a highly-respected umpire.
Very soft-hearted, a face and voice of kindness, Huw was also passionate about what he believed in and, in both the sporting and political arena, he was capable of making a strong point. As gentle as they come, but also no soft touch when he needed to be firm. I was in a dressing room with him a couple of times in his stints as manager and he wasn’t afraid of telling the players what he thought if they weren’t producing!
I knew less about Huw’s career as a councillor, but just a glance at some of the tributes on his Facebook page and on Twitter today reflect how respected he was. Situations in life where he could help people were tailor-made for Huw.
It’s been a tough time for local football. In recent weeks we have lost true giants like Eifion Parry (Mr Nefyn) and Terry Roberts, and now Huw “Chick” Jones.
I think the best way to cope with these losses is to talk to one another often about our much-missed friends, share stories, never let them fade from our hearts or our “book” of sporting memories.
I don’t think there is much chance of that happening with those three aforementioned angels.
It is sad to think Huw will not see his beloved Liverpool win their first top league title in 30 years within the next few weeks, but he will have gone to rest having seen how special that team is right now and will have had many smiles on his face no doubt at their performances this season.
And of course Huw was of an age where he could remember the great Liverpool (and Wrexham) sides of the 1970s and 80s.
He once had a dog called “Rushy Bach” you know…..named after you know who. The more I write, the more I remember…..all treasured memories.
Cwsg yn Dawel Huw – thank you for all the joy you brought to this world.