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Mr Aston Thompson

Aston Lloyd Thompson was born in Manchester, Jamaica in 1934 and travelled to the UK to live in 1960. He settled in Newport immediately, and soon joined the thousands of men who had arrived in the town to work at the new Llanwern steelworks.

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LLANWERN STEELWORKS; SPENCER WORKS, NEWPORT

Growing up in Jamaica

Like many Jamaican families, Mr Thompson’s family were cultivators – or farmers – and his family ran a small grocery shop where they sold their fresh produce to local people. While he worked alongside his father, he was also learning his trade as a builder.  

Mr Thompson came from a family of musicians; one uncle played the violin, another the guitar and other relatives played the organ.  Mr Thompson now regrets that he never learned to play an instrument, not even the commonly played banjo.

Arriving in the UK

Getting used to the colder climate was one of the challenges facing Mr Thompson when he followed his brother to Wales in 1960.

He chose the faster – but more expensive – plane journey over boat and quickly found lodgings with a friend in Newport’s Coomassie Street. He continued to work in the building trade for a couple of years, this time as a heating electrician’s mate.

When the steelworks opened in 1962, Mr Thompson quickly found work in the packing department where he shipped coils around the world.

Like many Jamaican families, Mr Thompson and his wife relied on Caribbean friends to help mind their children while they were out at work. 

Married life

From the moment Mr Thompson first set eyes on his wife Marion in Jamaica, he knew she was the one for him.

Not wishing to let the girls of his dreams get away, he wasted no time in writing to her mother to ask for her daughter’s hand in marriage. Fortunately for him, Marion had, by this time, moved to the UK and she was living with cousins in Gloucester.

Encouraged by her mother’s blessing, she got in touch with him and the couple were married in 1962.  Soon they were moving into a new house on the Alway estate; however, Mr Thompson had not forgotten his building skills. He bought a plot of land in nearby Magor and built a house for his growing family. 

He and Marion had four children and enjoyed a long and happy marriage, which sadly ended with Marion’s death.

Faith and religion

His Christian faith has played an important part in Mr Thompson’s life since he was a young man and continues to sustain him and determines how he leads his life.

 

It is his Christianity that has guided him throughout his life, and he believes that embracing the Christian way of life has helped him live a good life, cope with Marion’s death a few years ago and approach his own ill health in a philosophical way. 

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