In January 31st 2003, Min Lewis died at the age of 83. Stanley was utterly grief stricken to be left on his own and decided to live with his daughter at Little Oak in Saddleworth, Lancashire and so, on St Davids Day, March 1st 2003, he travelled to Saddleworth and settled down to a new life in Lancashire. ‘I might be 97 years old but I don’t need a nursemaid’, he said to his daughter one morning, ‘ but I do need a secretary and you and I will work together until the day I die, however long that is!’. Consequently, Stanley’s first project at his new home,  Little Oak,  was to reissue the first edition of Min’s ‘Laugharne and Dylan Thomas’, (the original book had been launched at The Browns Hotel in Laugharne in 1967). The second edition of ‘Laugharne and Dylan Thomas’ was to be a memorial edition dedicated to his late wife Min, so consequently Stanley worked night and day and added 80 more drawings and newspaper cuttings.
As the project developed, the paste up of the book was sent to a local printer, Taylor and Clifton in Uppermill,  Saddleworth, Near Oldham,  for the  printing and binding of the book.  Stanley, in the meantime, contacted  many people including Jeff Towns in Swansea and Jeff was very supportive and  suggested that the book ‘must’ be launched in Laugharne at the Browns Hotel. He also suggested that Dylan Thomas’ daughter should  be informed about the re-issue of this book. Over the years Stanley and Min had lost contact with Aeronwy, and Stanley  was excited at the prospect of meeting her again.  The book was now more or less finished at Taylor and Clifton, but  Aeronwy  insisted to be part of it and wrote a Foreword, but alas, it was too late as the book was now being finalised at Taylor and Clifton and Dr Patrick Oates had already submitted a foreword. However, Aeronwy’s foreword was ‘slipped’ into the book, and it added authenticity to Min and Stanley’s book and their earlier  friendship with Dylan and Caitlin Thomas.
In 2004 Stanley contacted Neil Morrisey, the actor,   who owned the Brown’s Hotel, and a date was arranged for the launching of the second edition. It was agreed that the book could be launched there and Stanley’s illustrations would be exhibited in one of the rooms. Beautiful prints were made of Stanley’s drawings and framed so that they could be exhibited at The Browns Hotel.  Sadly, the publicity was a disaster and Stanley’s exhibition never materialised, as there were no facilities for displaying the work,  and  what is more, nobody realised that the book was being launched at ‘The Browns Hotel’.  Although posters had been sent to various people in Laugharne, they were conspicuous by their absence. A hundred invitations had been sent out, but few people responded and did not attend the launching so therefore it was a quiet launching,  but it did not matter as Aeronwy Thomas, Dylan’s daughter  attended, as well as Roger Cucksey the Curator of Newport Art Gallery, and Julian and Gill Brown. Julian had lectured at Carmarthen School of Art with Stanley and is a prolific artist.  Stanley’s daughter Jennifer,  presented  Aeronwy  with an original drawing from ‘Laugharne and Dylan Thomas’. On realising that there was no media coverage, she immediately   rang the local newspaper, and asked them to quickly send a reporter to record the launching and eventually a reporter turned up with a camera. Many months previously Stanley was well aware that he could not attend the launching so commissioned a film to be made.The video called ‘Laugharne and Dylan Thomas’ shows Stanley in his studio at Little Oak. He can be heard and seen talking about the  2nd edition book and his illustrations, and this was played at The Browns Hotel on the day of the launching of the second edition of “Laugharne and Dylan Thomas’. Everyone said that watching the video was uncanny, as it was as if Stanley was actually at the launching.

Advertisements