Tributes have been paid to a well-known business man in Senghenydd ahead of his funeral tomorrow.
John Cavanna, 86, passed away on July 26 after battling ill health. His family, who own and run Cavanna’s, on Commercial Street, Senghenydd, have been inundated with sympathy cards from well-wishers.
Rugby-loving Mr Cavanna, who was born upstairs in the shop his family have run for more than 100 years, was a huge figure of village life.
His wife, Angela, told Caerphilly Observer the support the family had received had been “overwhelming”.
The couple would have been celebrating 47 years of marriage on Monday August 18.
She said: “We’ve more than 100 cards, most of Senghenydd have come into the shop with their condolences and offers of help.
“We’d just like to thank the people of Senghenydd.”
Mr Cavanna’s daughter Cristina added: “The support we’ve had has made the whole situation much more bearable.
“People are coming in and just talking about my father. He had been ill for a long time and he would have found the number of people coming in and offering their support unbelievable.
“We don’t know how to thank people enough.”
Mr Cavanna played rugby for Senghenydd and Penarth and was also a keen boxer during his time with the Royal Signals on National Service in the late 1940s.
A proud community man, Mr Cavanna often attended local functions.
Mrs Cavanna recalled the time when the pair attended Senghenydd Choir’s charity at Penyrheol Community Centre.
She said: “The dinner started at 8pm and we were running late as we didn’t close the shop on time. We drove down and as he was parking the car I went in.
“Going into a brightly-lit room from the darkness it looked like there was an open space. Everyone was in there and they saw me waiting. The next thing I knew, John had walked through the glass door.
“There was glass everywhere but John only suffered from a nick to his nose. He completely smashed it.
“The man running the bar gave me a brandy, but they didn’t get John anything.”
Mr Cavanna is survived by his wife Angela, daughters Cristina and Annlouise, granddaughter Emma and great-grandson Callum.
Mr Cavanna’s funeral service will take place at St Helen’s RC Church in Caerphilly on Friday August 15 at 12.30pm then at Thornhill Crematorium, Wenallt Chapel at 1.30pm.
The family have asked for donations to be made to the Aber Valley Heritage Centre and money raised will be given to Senghenydd’s Splash Pad and the National Mining Memorial.