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Friday, June 11, 1999 Published at 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK


Welsh cartoonist retires to 'Aberflyarff'

Cartoonist Gren hard at work

Wales's best-loved cartoonist, Gren, is hanging up his pen, as he officially retires from the job he has done for more than 30 years.

Grenfell Jones, better known as Gren, is leaving his job as resident cartoonist at the South Wales Echo, after celebrating his 65th birthday.

He created the village of Aberflyarff, Nigel and Neville the message-bearing sheep, and countless other characters, which have made him an institution, even outside of Wales.

It is 31 years since Gren drew his first sketch for the Echo but now he is drawing his pension as well, he is cleared out his office and will now work from home.

[ image: Gren draws one of his famous sheep]
Gren draws one of his famous sheep
Many of Gren's originals have been sold at auction to raise thousands of pounds for charity and he was awarded an MBE for his services to newspapers in 1989.

He drew the cover for the Max Boyce album Doctor's Papers and became the first cartoonist to receive a gold disc from the record company EMI.

"The thing I'm going to miss more than anything else is the company of the newsroom people and the social side of it," said Gren.

"The actual production of the cartoon will be very much the same. We'll still be using one every day in the Echo. I'm going to miss the company of the boys and girls in the newsroom, and going to the pub at lunchtime."

Best provincial cartoonist

Gren was voted best provincial cartoonist in Britain four times during the 1980s but he says that a typical day has changed.

[ image:
"It's great to be part of the rugby scene"
"I'm a newsaholic and I try to see all the late night shows. By the time I come into the office I'm sure I've got the right subject, but I check through the papers. From various headlines I try to create about six draft cartoons and then think which ones are the best or most important.

"When I started out I enjoyed the same things as I'm drawing now. Wales, rugby, local politicians, anything we in this part of the world are able to relate to. I aim to reflect our life and it goes down well with the readers."

Lighthearted opinion

Gren sees his role as just offering a light-hearted opinion about current events.

"I'm not trying to prove any points. I try not to get into the political area as that isn't my audience."

When asked how he started out in the cartoon business, Gren said he cannot even remember a time when he did not want to be a cartoonist.

"I was always drawing. There aren't really courses for news-related cartoons. It is a thing that you have. A natural talent in the drawing but you have to work on the humour and gradually they meet."

But fans of Gren need not worry too much. He will still have his daily cartoon in the paper, although from now on, he will be sketching it at home.

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11 Jun 99 | UK
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