by Mike Egan
Mike moved to Deerbrook in 1968, when he was 6, with his parents and his older sister, Lorraine, and younger brother, David. His father was from Ireland originally, and his mother was from London; after moving around the UK with his father’s work, they finally settled in Cwmbran. The family lived in 2 different addresses in Deerbrook before moving away from the estate in 1977.
He attended Fairwater Infants School and Fairwater Comprehensive School, which had just been built and which was just a 2-minute walk from his house… through a very muddy field in winter!
He had a brilliant time growing up on the estate, which was just surrounded by old farms, and woods and fields where he used to play. He also used to enjoy going up the mountain and he can’t imagine his life not revolving around Mynydd Maen and being outdoors in nature. This passion for nature was instilled in him from a very young age, making him choose to work outdoors rather than in an office or factory.
There was a great sense of community on the estate, there was always someone to go to if you needed help with anything. He feels that society has lost this sort of sense of community.
At the centre of the Byways community was the Threepenny Bit community centre, which Mike’s parents both worked on the committee for, organising the bingo and other events, like jumble sales, which happened on a weekly basis.
A local film maker, called Ken Clarke, used to run a film club on Saturday mornings where the children from the estate got to watch films and cartoons for free. There was a little bit of an ulterior motive, though… the children’s parents were roped in to help clean the hall because the committee couldn’t get a cleaner. This all worked out very nicely!
Mike’s sister, Lorraine, had an enjoyable wedding reception at the Threepenny Bit after getting married at the Methodist Church on Fairhill.
Mike has 2 children, Damien, 27, and Amy, 21, who both still live in Cwmbran.