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Tribute paid to ‘amazing’ and ‘brave’ mother and grandmother from Penarth

THE family of a much-loved mother and grandmother, who moved to Penarth during the second world war, have paid tribute after she died last month. 

Camelia Keegan was born in Woolwich, London where her father was on the Army Base.

Daughter Dawn-Jones Norris said: “Camelia was an amazing lady who always put everyone before herself. 

“She was a good listener and always gave good advice to her children and grand children. 

“Camelia was very brave and fought her illness with dignity. 

“She will be greatly missed by all her family and many friends.”

After 10 years of Polymyalgia, and two strokes, she died on the 17 May 2021 aged 91. 

Ms Keegan was the only child of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas and Ivy Wilkinson and went to the famous Greycoat School for girls in Westminster.

In December 1939, due to the outbreak of war the family moved with to Milton Road, Penarth where her father worked at the Army base in Barry.

Ms Keegan started school at St Almas and from there gained a scholarship to the highly acclaimed Howells school in Llandaff, Cardiff where she was a boarder. She was there during the war years and was popular with the other boarders when her father sent fruit cakes for her.

She made lifelong friends including Mary Simpson, Godmother to Paul, who died 2 months ago and was the longest with over 80 years of friendship.

After she left school she went to Secretarial College in Bond Street, London to learn Pitman shorthand and typing. She was the youngest there.

Penarth Times: Camelia and Brin. Camelia and Brin.

This was followed by her return to Penarth where she got a job in Cathedral Road for an insurance company sending out renewal notices and answering the phone. Her next job was working as the Director of the Coal Board’s secretary in Cambrian Buildings. She enjoyed her jobs.

Ms Keegan enjoyed sport at school including cricket (where she was hit on the nose) and tennis. She joined Penarth Lawn Tennis Club in 1947. She played for the team and won many trophies over the years including mixed doubles with her son Martin.

It was about this time she met the man who was to become her husband and life partner Brinley James Keegan an Architect at that time working at City Hall, Cardiff.

It wasn’t long before they were married in 1952 and building their first house in Plymouth Road, Penarth where their first two children Paul and Martin were to join them.


Ms Keegan spent ten happy years in Shrewsbury and her third child Dawn was born. They also built another luxury and modern bungalow splitting the garden of the property they had in half. 

She also worked from home for Sarah Coventry Jewellery, Spirella Corsets and Avon Cosmetics.

In 1970 it was then time to move again, and it was decided to move back to Penarth rather than other options. A large comfortable house was found for the family in Stanwell Road.

Ms Keegan decided to go back to work and found a job as Secretary to Mr Roland Harris owner of the Penarth Times. She was there for many happy years.

She then worked for Bateman Catering (later Grand Met) in Windsor Place and ended her career at Cardiff and Vale Enterprise in Cardiff Bay which helped up and coming businesses.

She was on the PTA at Victoria School and was involved in the successful train trip to the Ideal Home Exhibition where they hired the whole train and sold tickets.

In her spare time, she played tennis well and worked hard with Brin to save Penarth Lawn Tennis Club in Rectory Road from closure.

They were able to secure a long lease and prevented the club site becoming a housing development, and worked hard with Lord Plymouth and Plymouth Estates. She was then given Life Membership of the club and was the first female Club Captain.

Ms Keegan also enjoyed family holidays abroad and celebrating birthdays and special occasions with a wonderful spread of food.

Her and Brin moved to Cosmeston Drive in 1983 and spent many happy years there. She looked after her Parents in old age and also cared for Brin who had heart valve problems.

She was able to enjoy four world cruises and a lot of travel abroad and around Great Britain before illness prevented further trips. She was a regular Bridge Player.

Ms Keegan had a long and happy marriage, had three children, five grandchildren, one great grandchild and a dog called Molly.

Her son Paul lived with her for the last five years to ensure as much quality of life as possible.


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