Honours for the stalwarts of village eisteddfodau
STALWARTS of village Eisteddfodau across North Wales were recognised for their voluntary service over many years during a meeting at the National Eisteddfod.
Cymdeithas Eisteddfodau Cymru (Association of Welsh Eisteddfodau) honoured 25 people who between them had more than 900 years of service to their local festivals.
Presenting the certificates, chairman Megan Jones said their contribution to Wales’ cultural heritage had been immeasurable: “They work diligently behind the scenes throughout the year organising the Eisteddfod and make sure it all goes smoothly on the day.
“More than 120 small eisteddfodau are held throughout Wales each year. Research has shown that more than 93,000 people are involved in the voluntary running of these Eisteddfodau.
“They keep the culture of rural Wales alive and naturally help sustain the Welsh language.
“More than that they give our young people the opportunity to develop their talents on stage. Competitors don’t just need to be able to sing or recite because village Eisteddfodau also offer opportunities to write prose and poetry or practice their artistic talents.”
One of the recipients of the long service awards, Gladys Pritchard, said it was a “great honour” to be recognised by the Association.
Mrs Pritchard has been the treasurer of Eisteddfod Môn, one of the larger provincial festivals in Wales, for many years.
This year she is also chairman of the Eisteddfod Môn court, which is organising next year’s festival, being staged over three days at Llangefni.
She is also a member of the National Eisteddfod’s Gorsedd of Bards as well as its Anglesey counterpart.
After receiving her certificate the retired school administrator from Holyhead said: “I am so pleased to be awarded this hon- our at the Eisteddfod on Anglesey. It was totally unexpected.”
One of the longest-serving Eisteddfod officials to be awarded a certificate is Annwen Hughes, who first started volunteering at the Melin y Coed Eisteddfod near Llanrwst 54 years ago.
She began helping her father, who was the secretary at the time, and has held the post since 1995.
Megan Jones said Annwen types out the programme, designs the posters and prints all materials including the tickets.
“She has attended our committee meetings since the first one.
“An excellent organiser and the success of the Eisteddfod is down to her diligence,” she added.
Thanks to Welsh Government funding, the Association is able to employ two development officers to promote the smaller Eisteddfod.
Association officials meet Welsh Language minister Alun Davies to discuss their work.
“It is important he sees, at first hand, the work carried out by the Association,” said Mrs Jones.
Gladys Pritchard from Holyhead with her long service certificate
Singers perform at the Daniel Owen ceremony while (right) Rhys Meilir, from Llangefni, finished first on the Cerdd dant 16 and over 21 (Far right) Mali Elwy Williams, from Llansanan, was first in the recitation from the scripture,16 and over
Learners’ Chair winner Judith Stammers with Archdruid Geraint Lloyd Owen