10:25, May 29 168 0 theguardian.com

2020-05-29 10:25:04
Other lives  Eirian Evans obituary

My aunt, Eirian Evans, who has died aged 104, was the first female solicitor elected to the council of the Law Society.

In 1973, she became the first female president of the Chester and North Wales Law Society. Although the battle to admit women to membership of the Law Society had long been fought and eventually won in 1922, the council of the Law Society remained an all-male bastion until Eirian was elected to it in 1977, representing Chester and North Wales. Four years later, when she stood down, the Law Society Gazette noted that she would be missed “not merely or mainly because she was the first woman member but because her contributions to the debates had always been both constructive and apt”.

Eirian was born into a Welsh-speaking home in St Asaph, Flintshire, the third of four children of Edward Owen Evans, a surveyor and sanitary inspector, and his wife, Edith (nee Brooks), and attended the local grammar school. Having studied law at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, she joined the firm of solicitors JR Williams of Abergele, where she remained for the whole of her working life.

If Eirian’s professional life was busy, her leisure time was no less so. She was a leading light in the Garthewin theatre company, which was housed in a large converted barn behind the 18th-century mansion of Garthewin, near Llanfair Talhaearn, Conwy. In 1947, Eirian became secretary of the company. She acted in many of the productions staged between 1937 and 1969, some of which were Welsh-language plays written by figures such as Saunders Lewis and Huw Lloyd Edwards, others Welsh translations of European classics. Her performances received warm praise from reviewers in the Welsh-language press: “All agreed that Eirian Evans was the star of the evening” (Drama magazine) and “One of the best on our theatrical stage” (Y Faner).

Eirian contributed in other ways to the cultural life of Abergele. She was a member of an English-language amateur dramatic society in Rhuddlan, took an interest in local history, was a member of the Cambrian Archaeological Society and of the Soroptimists, and was instrumental in securing an Abbeyfield retirement home for Abergele.

Eirian’s older brothers, Berwyn and Llywelyn, and her sister, Myfanwy, predeceased her. She was a much-loved aunt to me and my siblings, Huw, Arthur and Joanna, and to the sons – Gerallt, Iwan, Alun (deceased) and Dafydd – of her cousin and close friend, Glenys.