Lewis Thelwall – a tribute

LEWIS Thelwall was a 19-year-old student from Pendarvis Terrace, Port Talbot, with a budding photography business and a large, vibrant community of friends and family. He was an enthusiastic member of Port Talbot Camera Club, a volunteer for Port Talbot Magnet, and had a keen interest in documenting the history and evolution of the town through photography.

Lewis Thelwall was a talented photographer with his own freelance photography business. Photo: Susan Plant

Earlier this year, he won the Port Talbot Camera Club award for the Best Portrait. A former pupil of Glan-Y-Mor Primary and Sandfields Comprehensive schools, Lewis achieved nine A* at GCSE and progressed to study Forensics at Neath Port Talbot College, where he proved himself an excellent student, achieving distinctions in his course. Originally from Swindon, Lewis had also lived on Bevan Street in Port Talbot, along with his mother Tina and father Les, who passed away two years ago. He also had two brothers, Travis, 12, and Lloyd, 7, and a sister, Tia, 3 as well as a huge number of friends including Barry Kirk (Captain Beany), Allen Blethyn, Sean Pursey, Michael Watkins, Andrew Waters and everyone at Port Talbot Camera Club.

Sadly, Lewis died at the end of November. His mother said of him: “Lewis was quite quiet and kept a lot inside. He was always polite, loving and caring, and very intelligent. We love him and miss him dearly.” Since his death, two Facebook tribute pages have been established, with more than 2,000 members between them.

Here is a selection of tributes from just some of the people whose lives he touched.


Captain Beany (Fundraiser)

Ever so saddened to hear of the premature death of a much talented youngster as Lewis Thelwall. We met on many charitable endeavours during the time that we first encountered each other at a St Paul’s Church Fete some while ago. Young Lewis took some great pictures of the Captain in action, and one of the endearing things he had was one of charming charisma and we instantly bonded together to make a great dynamic duo. He took some amazing pictures and I knew that from his Facebook photography page, that this young man had a rare talent for shooting pictures. I for one, shall sadly miss his colourful persona and that goes out to the rest of the residents of Port Talbot who knew him as a dear good friend.

I am still in total shock of his premature demise, and my prayers and thoughts go out to his beloved mother Tina and family.


Darren Boxer (Chairman – Port Talbot Camera Club)

Everyone at the club is devastated, our thoughts are with his family. Lewis was a very much loved member who was involved with everything at the club. He was a very talented photographer with a promising future. Lewis was specially gifted in portrait photography and won the Best Digital Portrait in this year’s finals. He was a talented young man who will be missed by all.


Rachel Howells (Port Talbot Magnet)

All of us at Port Talbot Magnet were incredibly saddened to hear of the tragic and untimely death of Lewis Thelwall. Lewis was one of our regular volunteers at Port Talbot Magnet, and had contributed news stories and photographs to the website on all kinds of topics, from music gigs to charity fetes, from the opening of Gatti’s ice cream to his photos of the Aberavon Beach Festival. He loved Port Talbot and was hugely involved in community life. I got to know Lewis when he came to Magnet asking to learn more about news photography and I invited him to accompany me on interviews and stories I was working on. He came with me to most of the public meetings held by the Afan Lido campaigners earlier this year and took some excellent reportage shots. He was keen, curious, dedicated, reliable and talented – all the qualities we would look for in a professional photo-journalist, and we will miss his contribution greatly. He was an asset to Port Talbot, had a great future ahead of him, and our thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time.


Allen Blethyn (Port Talbot Old and New)

I have only been a friend of of Lewis for about a year,we met owing to us both being at events in our town with our cameras clicking side by side. I took an immediate liking to this seemingly little lad with brightly coloured hair. After a few such meetings he invited me to view some of his photography work, and even though I am no expert in such things, I could see straight away that he was someone with a special talent.

I then tried to help him gain work in his new photographic venture which he had then just formed.
After that we met up regularly at mainly Church and Town Centre events to do with charity work, which we both supported. We recently spoke of getting together, with me taking him with me on my walks of interesting places within our Borough, for him to use his camera skills to the full on such locations. We thought that with me adding historical notes to go with his pictures, we could maybe work together on a future project.

I am saddened to say that those walks together will now never bear any fruit, but as I make the walks alone, my thoughts will be with young Lewis.


Peter Ross  (Port Talbot Old and New)

His hair that changed colour by day
Stopped all that saw from being down
The day after tragedy came his way
His rainbow shone over all our town


If you would like to add your own tribute to Lewis, please use the comments section below or email porttalbotmagnet@gmail.com. Details of Lewis’s funeral have not been formally released but will be added to this page as soon as they become available.

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5 Responses to Lewis Thelwall – a tribute

  1. Jan mason on December 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Lewis will be sadly missed we loved his input to the group he was a talented young man our sympathies go out to Lewis family and friends at this sad time

  2. jean okeefe on December 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    lewis used to go to see my grandsons playing in their group and used to take their photoes .he will be missed . sleep tight babes

  3. Diane on December 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    As a Committee member of the Afan Lido Campaign, I met Lewis at our meetings. He took the photographs of our public meetings, and helped us when we had a table at the Aberafan shopping centre collecting signatures.. We became facebook friends, he was such a polite young man, always finding time to help others.
    Lewis was a quiet boy, who touched my heart with his kindness.
    He will be missed by all those who had the honour of meeting such a beautiful talented boy.. R.I.P Lewis.xxxx

  4. Matthew Trick on December 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    As the Vicar of St Paul’s, I got to know Lewis as a quiet person with an extremely large heart and willingness to help out whenever he was needed.

    I remember watching over the last year as photography became more than just a hobby but a passion he lived for. His talents and creativity were obvious in his work and I look forward to seeing his work exhibited in due course.

    The funeral has now been confirmed as Thursday the 13th December at 12.45pm in St Paul’s Church followed by cremation at Margam at 2pm. Please come to the funeral prepared to celebrate Lewis’ life.

  5. Jodie Jones on January 22, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I met Lewis on facebook through a friend and I heard he was a photographer so I asked him to send me a link to his page as I have a big interest in photography. His work came across to me as inspiring and he gave me advice on how to start my own photography business. We often met up and went to his studio with his little sister Tia, We took crazy photographs and often he would let me play about with his camera. Me and Lewis got close over a few months. And we regularly spoke via text and Facebook as well as video calls on Skype. We arranged a photo shoot as I really wanted to become a model and he offered me help. Lewis was the type of person where if he knew he could help someone even in the slightest he would go out of his way to do so, Which was another inspiring thing about him. Lewis often spoke to me about his dad and how he aspired to do him proud, I’m not Les but I do know for a fact that he was looking down on Lew the whole time with a beaming smile on his face as he was a determine son and he helped with his family in whatever they needed whether it was baby sitting Tia whilst his mam went to the shop or involving in computer games with his little brothers. Lewis did well in everything he did and he was a very proud boy. He constantly had a smile on his face. The first thing I said to Lewis when we met was “God, you are small aren’t you” who had thought that that one sentence would have developed a really strong friendship. I miss Lewis greatly and I know that Lewis is safe where he is now from all the bullies and he can live with his father in Heaven with a beaming smile on his face as he looks down on us. Rest In Peace Smurf, you truly are a brave little man. I love you, keep shining baby!<3<3

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