The Mighty Wallers
Mini Wallers was created to inspire adventures, it seems only fitting that the initial inspiration behind a Flamingo called Val was one Mighty Waller indeed. We come from a family of strong women and this lady stands out for her astonishing life.
Sometimes you only have to look back into the history of your own family to find the remarkable. Born in Cardiff in 1912, the Great grandmother of the original Mini Wallers Little Miss N and Master A, was one Valerie Davies who was also a one in a million Mother and Grandmother. With the recent amazing commonwealth games coming to a close we were reminded of how much of a big deal it was that this one Valerie Davies from Cardiff, was not only part of a commonwealth team but did it in a time when women in sport was not the norm and travelling to the games took weeks rather than hours. She went, she saw and she came home with medal’s, I think its safe to say she had an adventure!
She began turning heads early in her life, at just 14 years old she won the Welsh Ladies title at 100 yards and then in 1927 aged just 15 she represented Great Britain in the European games in Italy where she swam in the relay team winning Gold. In 1930 she travelled to Canada for the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. As a one woman Welsh swimming team she ensured that the Welsh did not come home empty handed by securing their only medals of the games, one Bronze and two Silver.
Then, in 1932 the Olympics called – and Val travelled across the seas to America and Los Angeles. In a time of Movie Stars and Twinkle Town the Olympians found themselves surrounded by Hollywood glamour with film stars coming to the stadiums to watch and receiving invitations to large dinner parties with the likes of Gary Cooper. A far cry from her life in Cardiff and her training sessions in Roath Park where she would swim in the lake. The glitz of it all would be enough adventure for most, but Valerie and the rest of the Great Britain team were there for a reason! As part of the Swimming team Valerie won her 100m Backstroke heat to find herself, a 20 year old Welsh lass in the Olympic Final. She not only swam herself into a Bronze medal in the 100m Backstroke final, she was also part of a Bronze winning 100m relay team.
A Flamingo called Val sits in an umbrella, in a puddle in honour of Valerie Davies. Although I’m not sure how her swimming would match up to Valerie’s, with a swimming career spanning decades and a number of medals to show for her achievements from trips to the Welsh Championships, European Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. Val stands and watches, maybe she is on her way to the Flamingo Olympics, maybe she stands tall in her umbrella dreaming of Hollywood nights…
Thank you Valerie Davies, for your story and for inspiring our very own flamingo.