A NEW area recently discovered in Kents Cavern is to be named after a Newton Abbot man who dedicated nearly 30 years of his working life to the Torquay caves.

Nick Powe, Kents Cavern director, made the revelation at Monday’s funeral for Terry Williams at the Torquay Crematorium.

He said the newly discovered chamber, lying between the Face and the Bear’s Den, of the labyrinth will now be known as Williams Way. It leads to Santa’s Grotto – Terry won countless plaudits for his wonderful portrayal of Father Christmas for many years.

Those attending the celebration of his life wore bright clothing, and Torquay Crematorium was packed for the service conducted by Brian Jarvis.

Terry died suddenly aged 64.

He had graduated at the University of Edinburgh with an ecological sciences degree in 1975 and held a number of jobs developing environmental community and educational programmes.

After spending a time in Mozambique, Sri Lanka and then at Beaulieu, Hampshire, working outdoors, he returned to Newton Abbot and then began his love affair with Kents Cavern.

He began as a seasonal guide and in 1989 became education officer introducing the Stone Age to thousands of youngsters until recently.

Mr Powe, paying tribute to Terry, said he had a unique way of guiding, encouraging schoolchildren to engage with all their senses.

‘He would welcome school groups in the garden, speaking quietly, capturing their attention, moving around the caves followed by his young audiences, at times against the normal flow to avoid interrupting public tours around him.

‘His tours lasted longer than most and year after year, schools would book asking Terry to lead their visit,’ he said.

Not only did Terry do tours but he also balanced the books and calculated the staff wages. At busy times he would not only help when an extra guide was needed, but also rolled up his sleeves and helped out in the kitchen.

In his leisure time Terry was a keen skittler and had won many trophies for Bovey Bees for whom he played for 25 years in the Newton Abbot and District Skittles League, latterly calling themselves Black Sheep. He won the Torquay First Division with Layabouts for whom he was a member for many years and he had success in the Torquay Social League with Gulls, as well as playing for Newton Abbot’s Saracens in summer competitions, and the Newton Abbot club in the Royal British Legion competitions.

Terry was a dedicated Torquay United supporter, being a season ticket holder and often went to away games as well as home, while he especially enjoyed quizzes.

Mr Powe said it had been an honour and privilege to know Terry.