A young cornet player from Ruthin whose great-grandfather switched his shift for band practice and escaped the 1934 Gresford Colliery Disaster has joined fast-growing North Wales law firm Swayne Johnson as part of their private client team.

Eleri Roberts is one of two new recruits as the firm, which has just announced the opening of its first Flintshire office in Mold, continues to expand.

The opening of the office in Mold created vacancies in Denbigh and Eleri, who lives in Llanfwrog, and colleague Winter Loseby, from Chichester, in Sussex, have been added to the strength.

Eleri, 24, a member of the City of Wrexham Brass Band and the fifth generation of her family to have played in brass bands, is a former pupil of Ysgol Brynhyfryd, in Ruthin, and Ysgol Castell Alun, in Hope, originally gained a BA in History at the University of Chester but switched to Law and gained a further two Master’s degrees.

She initially worked for a firm on Deeside where she specialised in Private Client work which deals with wills, trusts and probate.

Eleri said: “I really enjoy it. You are helping people often at a time of real need.

“You don’t see them at the best of times and if I can relieve them of the stress they’re under I feel I can rest easier and that’s a good feeling to have.

“I was just looking at Swayne Johnson’s site on Facebook and I saw they were recruiting so I sent in my CV not expecting much but I was offered an interview and the same day as the interview I was offered the post.”

Eleri’s great-grandfather was a miner at Gresford Colliery and a tuba player who swapped his shift so he could attend band practice and escaped the tragedy which took the lives of 266 miners.

She said: “My great-great-grandad, Robert Emlyn Davies, was chairman of either Llay or Gresford Colliery Brass Band at some point while my great-grandad, Robert Davies, who played the tuba, is the one that switched his shift and survived the disaster.

“My grandad, Desmond Davies, couldn’t play brass because he had half a lung removed as a child due to an illness but he played percussion and sang with the Rhos Orpheus Male Voice Choir.

“My mum, Lynda Roberts, maiden name Davies, played baritone horn and when she was younger played for Llay and later Rhos Colliery bands where she met my dad, Ian, through playing in the band.

“I play flugelhorn, but cornet and trumpet are my second and third instruments and my dad and my brother, Ieuan, both play euphonium in City of Wrexham with me as well.”

Eleri learned to play the flugelhorn with her mum and dad and said: “I’ve played since I had front teeth.

“I have played the Last Post on Remembrance Day at Tilston near Chester – nine years ago I saw they needed someone and I volunteered and have done it every year since.

“I think it truly is an honour to play for such an important occasion and I look forward to continuing to do this for as long as I can.”

Her colleague, Winter, who has just moved to a small village near Betws-y-Coed, graduated in Law at Bournemouth University and has worked in Bristol and Cardiff but was glad to relocate for a place in the private client team with Swayne Johnson.

She said: “I saw the film Legally Blonde and similar movies and it showed me you could be a woman and feminine and still do law.

“It’s the people element of it that interests me and if I can help a family at a difficult time and make it easier for them and their children then it’s really worthwhile.

“I worked briefly at Bristol Zoo where I used to volunteer and I’ve been involved with animal charities and Swayne Johnson are very supportive of charitable work so I’d like to continue with that.

“I also like hiking, walking and being in nature and my boyfriend and I love visiting North Wales so it made sense to come and live and work here.

“I’m based here in Swayne Johnson’s Denbigh office as a paralegal and hope to qualify as a lawyer soon.”

Swayne Johnson Director Lynette Viney-Passig, Head of their Private Client department, the largest of its kind in North Wales, said: “We are continuing to expand and the roles for Eleri and Winter have come about because we are opening a new office in Mold.

“It reflects the way we are growing organically and we have a proven track record of recruiting and training people and five of our seven directors did their training with the firm which gives us a continuity of culture and expertise.

“We try and recruit a couple of private client trainees every year to maintain that goal of growth because we believe it’s important to have people of varying degrees of experience to make a good team because they can be well supported by people who started as trainees with us themselves.

“We offer a comprehensive range of services across a wide area of law and we have the kind of high-quality expertise that means clients don’t need to look to firms from outside the area for the legal skills they need.

“At Swayne Johnson we believe in building relationships with our clients and providing them with the reassurance that they’re dealing with people who know and understand them.”

For more on Swayne Johnson go to http://www.swaynejohnson.com/