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Gareth was born in Pontypool, then Monmouthshire now Torfaen in South Wales, on September 7th, 1956.

He grew up in the Pontypool area, studying at Victoria Village Primary

School and later Croesyceiliog School, Cwmbran. He left school in 1973 at 17 and starting work as a reporter with his local newspaper, the Free Press of Monmouthshire. It was here that his love of words developed.

At the same time he began playing guitar because the local church youth group had no musicians and this developed into writing hymns and songs for the church to use.

For more than 25 years he worked in journalism. For two years he was a sports writer in East London with the Ilford Recorder Group, covering soccer and athletics, notably the decathlon triumphs of Daley Thompson.

In 1979 he married Joy Penberthy and they moved back to Wales where he joined the South Wales Echo, spending six years there in various roles. He finished up as Deputy Features Editor, working alongside legendary Welsh cartoonist Gren (pictured below left). He returned to Pontypool as News Editor, later Group Editor of the Free Press.

During their stay in Wales they lived in the Pontypool area and their children Sian and Andrew were born - becoming the third generation to attend the village primary school.

In 1992 the family moved to Camborne in Cornwall - where Joy's father was born - for Gareth to establish a successful journalism training programme at Cornwall College.

 During almost 10 years in charge of the programme, he gave more than 450 people a start in the media industry.

Gareth (centre) with his brother Michael (left) and cousin Frances in their grandparents' garden in Talywain.

Gareth had been a preacher from the age of 17 and during the early 1990s sensed a call from God to the Methodist ministry. After selection and training he began work in 1999 as a minister in Camborne in the United Kingdom and was ordained at the Royal Hospitals School just outside Ipswich in 2001.

Above: Gareth and Joy, who celebrated their Silver Wedding in 2004.

Above: Gareth (centre), his brother Michael and cousin Frances pictured at their gransparents' home in Talywain, South Wales, in the 1960s


That year he moved to live in Wadebridge and, during his seven years in North Cornwall, he pioneered the Tubestation project at Polzeath. At this surf church a beachside chapel replaced the pulpit with a skateboard ramp and installed a coffee bar, wi-fi internet and began outreach to surfers and those on the edge of traditional church.

In the summer of 2008 he moved to Truro to become a pioneer minister, working in a Fresh Expressions project. His role is to work with people on the fringes of church using house groups and the Internet to encourage them towards faith. It's also developed into involvement with the village panto society - so far playing a vampire and the Wizard of Oz! - the local pub quiz and trying to find unusual ways of helping people explore faith, like the Lent film group meeting in a local pub.

Gareth has also been appointed as an Associate Missioner with the joint Methodist-Anglican Fresh Expressions project.

He still plays guitar and led worship as part of the band GraceNotes. They were the "house band" for the monthly First Tuesday worship event in West Cornwall for more than two years.

In 2007 he was named as one of the BBC Radio 2 and Local Radio hymn-writers of the year for the hymn Dear Lord, Where are the Signs of Hope?.

Gareth, a passionate Welshman, says: “I love hymns, especially the rich harmonies that I remember from my chapel upbringing. I become very emotional when I hear great crowds singing hymns like Cwm Rhondda, especially victorious Welsh rugby congregations!

“But I am also a child of the 1970s – those were my teenage years - and love the pop music of that era. It’s been a constant source of amazement that many parts of the Church think they can ignore pop culture – music, films, books – and still be surprised when people under 55 don’t want to know about church.

“There is a black hole in the European Christian Church that largely equates to the rock’n’roll generation: those who would have bought hit singles as a teenager.

“Perhaps what I write will make virtually no difference but I have to keep trying to speak both to people who think in traditional music terms and to those who like more contemporary worship.”