Weekes, Philip, 1920-2003.

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Weekes, Philip, 1920-2003.

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Philip Gordon Weekes (1920-2003) was the National Coal Board's Area Director for South Wales from 1973 to 1985. A prominent and well-respected figure in the Welsh coal industry, he believed passionately in mining and the communities it supported.

Philip Weekes was born at Nant-y-B┼Ách near Tredegar on 12 June 1920 to Albert Edwin Weekes and Gladys Magdalene Jarrett. Educated at Tredegar County Grammar School, he was articled to the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company, whom he joined as a junior official in 1939. Whilst with the Company he was awarded a scholarship to attend the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire at Cardiff, from where he graduated with an Honours degree in mining engineering in 1942. During the Second World War he served with the Royal Air Force.

In 1946 Philip Weekes joined the Tredegar (Southern) Colliery Company, and was made manager of Wyllie Colliery in Monmouthshire at the age of only 26. Two years later, following the nationalisation of the coal industry, he was put in charge of the huge Oakdale and Waterloo Collieries. 1950 saw him seconded to the Colonial Office, serving in Nigeria for a year as an advisor on management and industrial relations in the mining industry. On his return to Britain, he took several managerial positions in various areas across the South Wales Coalfield.

In 1965 he was seconded to the National Coal Board's Staff College at Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire as the Director of Studies, and became the Deputy Director (Mining) for the South Midlands in 1967. Following a move to London in 1970, as Chief Mining Engineer at the National Headquarters, he rose to become the Director-General of Mining, 1971-1973. At his own request he returned to the South Wales Coalfield, as Area Director, in December 1973, a position he held until his retirement on 30th June 1985. During his managerial career he also served as a part-time member of the Board of the National Coal Board, 1977-1984, but left under Ian MacGregor's chairmanship. During the 1984-85 Miners' Strike, Philip Weekes was prominent in making sure that the dispute in South Wales was policed by local officers, unlike other regions where additional numbers were brought in from metropolitan areas, thus helping to largely avoid the violent clashes between police and pickets so noticeable elsewhere.

Philip Weekes was initially awarded an OBE in 1977, but was later advanced to CBE in 1993. He became a Fellow of University College Cardiff in 1982 and was also a Fellow of the Institute of Mining Engineers. After his retirement he made a welcome return to the coal industry when he took on the Chairmanship of Tower Goitre Anthracite Ltd in 1994. He was also a member of The Prince of Wales' Committee (South Wales Group), 1978-1989, the Broadcasting Council for Wales, 1976-1982, the Committee of the Institute of Business Advisers Wales, 1983-1990, and a Governor of United College of the Atlantic, 1981-1995. Philip Weekes died on 26 June 2003 at Llantwit Major.

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