A well known singer has died after being taken ill moments before he was due to speak at a meeting at Chepstow’s Drill Hall - a venue he had campaigned to save.
Opera singer Karl Daymond, was known to Abergavenny audiences for his appearance at last year’s National Eisteddfod and as the conductor of the Usk Singing Club. He also took the helm of the St David’s Hospice Harmony Choir which was formed last year.
Classically trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and National Opera Studio, Mr Daymond sang as a principal baritone with the Welsh and English National Operas on renowned stages across the world and was known locally as a passionate supporter of the arts.
His career included performing at the BBC Proms in 1999 and 2002, and twice at the Royal Variety Performance, in 1982 performing The Pirate King from Pirates of Penzance, and as a soloist in 2004.
He also appeared with Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman in a 1989 production of the Merchant of Venice, and took a starring role in Leonard Bernstein’s Grammy-nominated one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti in 2001.
Chepstow mayor Dale Rooke said he was "one of those larger than life characters" with a "huge heart and a huge passion” adding that he would be sorely missed in the town.
Mr Daymond was due to speak at a meeting, was organised to consider the future of Chepstow’s Drill Hall which could be transferred from the local authority into the hands of a newly-formed charity.
The hall secured £50,000 from the Big Lottery in February to fund renovations with plans for a further £1m bid dependent on who owned it in future.