Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Shaking the Tins for SPUC with a Flat Top!

I came across this little gem the other week when clearing out some old keepsake boxes in the loft. Dated 1988 it comes from the SPUC's famous White Rose flag day when they collect at churches and the like to raise funds.

Well in 1988 a few of us thought we'd shake the SPUC tins outside Woolworths in Roath, Cardiff and make it a bit more "public." It must have been a sight to behold because a few people came running over to accuse us of raising funds for this, that and the other. Either that or they were so used to the usual 'student-rent-a-cause' crowd bothering the shoppers so didn't know what to make of us.

One chap who waved on jovially was my Italian barber who had just given me my first ever "flat top" haircut (hey, it was the 80s) and was thrilled to see me wearing it in public. After so many years of crew cuts and shorter, it was quite an audacious move to go for the flat top. I think the barber was secretly thrilled to be doing something more worthy of his skills.

As a youngster (I would have been 17) my friends and I used to have have such fun promoting the Pro-Life cause in Cardiff. Once a few of us went to a SPUC meeting in St Patrick's in Grangetown only to sit directly behind a mum of a friend (she and my mum were good friends) and her chums who were pleased to see us there.

On another occasion we went fly-posting with SPUC posters supporting the (parliamentary) Alton Bill around Cardiff. I think it was the first ever time SPUC posters appeared in the city, and on popping them on the metal boxes near the lights at the big junction between Albany Road and Newport Road, by Summers Funeral Home, I turned around to see a police car queueing at the lights. I gave the WPC a cheeky wink and a smile and pottered on to join my chums. She either agreed with the message or wasn't too concerned as we carried on our merry way, unmolested by the long arm of the law.

On another occasion me and my friend Paul went to the LIFE headquarters, which was then in one of the many arcades in Cardiff town centre. We wanted to give them a donation and pick up any leaflets or similar they might have. On seeing two young men with short hair etc. they were all flustered. It seems they thought we were the aggrieved boyfriends of pregnant young ladies out to give them some stick. We all had a good chuckle once they realised we were there to show support.

Perhaps best of all was when we organised a noisy counter-demo to a pro-death march led by Ann Clwyd MP... That was a noisy and fun event!

Ah they were innocent and fun times. Paul died a few years later in a tragic accident, just before I left Cardiff - for good it would transpire - so when I came across this little piece of paper (signed by the inspirational Paul Botto, who still organises SPUC in Cardiff) it brought all the memories flooding back.


  1. A most interesting read.

    God bless your friend, Paul. May he Rest In Peace.

    By the way, I do like the Hurley Coat-of-Arms on the Side-Bar of your Blog Page.

    I have that Coat-of-Arms, plus the other two Hurley Coat-Of-Arms. Making three, in total. It looks quite impressive.

    in Domino.

    David Hurley

  2. Thanks David. if I remember rightly the other coats of arms are different branches of the Hurley name - from other origins/places. The one here is from Co Cork where my family name originates. Hurley (apart from some from that village in Berkshire) is an anglicisation of a couple of Irish names, the larger of which is the Hurleys from Cork as I understand it.


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