Today (3 May), the names of those honoured by the Gorsedd of the Bards at the Cardiff National Eisteddfod, have been announced.
These honours, presented annually, are an opportunity to recognise individuals from all parts of the country for their achievements and their commitment to Wales, the Welsh language and to their local communities across the whole of Wales. This year’s individuals will be honoured at special ceremonies on the Eisteddfod Maes in Cardiff Bay on Friday 10 August.
In line with the Gorsedd of the Bards’ arrangements for honouring new members, all new members enter the Gorsedd on the same level, irrespective of whether they are honoured into the Blue or Green robes.
Those who have succeeded in the fields of Law, Science, Sports, Journalism, Media, local / national activities become Honorary Druids – Blue robes - for their services to the nation.
The Gorsedd also honours new members to the Green robes for their contribution to the arts.
Those who have succeeded in the Gorsedd examination or are eligible because of the degree in Welsh, Music or any subject mostly studied through the medium of Welsh also receive the Green robes, as well as the winners of the Urdd Crown and Chair.
Only the winners of the main competitions at the National Eisteddfod are honoured with White robes.
Among the well-known names honoured by the Gorsedd this year are rugby player, Jamie Huw Roberts, National Assembly for Wales Presiding Officer, Elin Jones, broadcasters John Hardy and Vaughan Roderick and Judge Eleri Rees.
The Cardiff National Eisteddfod is held in Cardiff Bay from 3-11 August. For more information go to www.eisteddfod.wales.
Marie-Thérèse Castay, Larressingle, France, is responsible for translating the majority of recent Welsh literature to a language other than English, and over the years, she has ensured that Welsh works are translated into French and published overseas. She has been a strong and passionate supporter of Wales and our culture, and through her work, many Welsh writers have succeeded in reaching audiences outside Wales.
Terry Dyddgen Jones
Originally from Carmarthenshire, Terry Dyddgen Jones, Cardiff, is best known as one of network television’s leading drama directors and has produced films for BBC and ITV. He has directed over 200 episodes of soap opera, Coronation Street, and is also known in Wales for directing Parch and Byw Celwydd as well as his work as senior producer of Pobol y Cwm.
Manon Eames, Swansea, is originally from Bangor, and is known for her work as a dramatist, scriptwriter and actress. Her scripting work includes translating Shirley Valentine, writing the film Eldra, which won many prizes in Wales and beyond, the Treflan series and a number of adaptations for the stage. She continues to create storylines and write for Pobol y Cwm and Gwaith Cartref and has recently published her first novel, Porth y Byddar.
Dylan Foster Evans
Dylan Foster Evans, Cardiff, is Head of the School of Welsh at Cardiff University, and has contributed much towards the language in education both at local and national level. As a member of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Academic Board, he played a leading role in a number of the organisation’s developments, including the Welsh Language Skills Certificate. He is an expert on the history of the language, its literature and culture in Cardiff, as well as its place in developing the capital’s mixed and multi-ethnic identity.
Gwyn Griffiths, Pontypridd, is honoured for his vast and unique contribution as a historian, journalist and as one of the vital links between Wales and Britanny. He was also known as a prolific writer, editor, co-editor and translator of at least 25 books. One of his greatest strengths was his readiness to help so many individuals and organisations both locally and nationally, wholly voluntarily over the years. Gwyn Griffiths died at the end of April this year.
One of Wales’ most famous comedians, Ifan Gruffydd, Tregaron, is known for his work on series like Ma’ Ifan ‘Ma and Noson Lawen, as well as his radio work on programmes like Nyth Cacwn and Dros Ben Llestri. He has also written ten short plays and two volumes with another on the way. As well as his public work, he has also worked quietly, diligently and voluntarily in his local area for many years without the public recognition he deserves.
Eiddwen Jones, Abergele, has always worked in the education sector, and has greatly contributed to a number of fields over the years. Her interest and expertise lie in the teaching of Welsh and she introduced Welsh as a second language using the Canada Plan, before training other teachers to do the same. She has presented papers on second language teaching techniques at a number of conferences, and has also written five historical novels set in Flintshire and Montgomeryshire.
Michael Lloyd Jones
Michael Lloyd Jones, Pwllheli, is better known as Mici Plwm, or Plwmsan, one half of the iconic comedy duo, Syr Wynff a Plwmsan, who starred in a classic and unique children’s comedy programme, which remains a classic today. He was one of the earliest professional DJs in Wales, with his travelling disco, and he also worked as a presenter and actor on stage, radio and television over the years. Most recently, he worked at the Gwynedd and Anglesey Age Well Centre.
Cynfael Lake, Aberaeron, is one of our leading academics on Welsh literature and has worked at both Aberystwyth and Swansea Universities. He has published numerous important studies on the Cywyddwyr and made a substantial contribution to the new electronic edition of the work of Dafydd ap Gwilym. He is also an expert on 18th century literature and the ballad and interlude. He was also the Secretary of the University of Wales Alumni Society’s 18th and 19th Century Culture Department, and has organised an annual conference.
Don Llewellyn, Pentyrch, Cardiff, worked for HTV for years, winning more than one BAFTA for his work. But he is honoured by the Gorsedd for his contribution to his community. He is a strong ambassador for the Welsh language locally and is an expert on the Gwenhwyseg dialect and local history. He is regularly invited to share his knowledge with numerous societies. He was also the captain and president of the local rugby club in Pentyrch, and led the campaign to build a village hall, which is now an important local asset.
Originally from the Llŷn Peninsula, Dafydd Parri, Cardiff, is honoured for his work as a television producer as well as his voluntary work in the field of music, particularly brass bands, for many years. He has also regularly volunteered with the National Eisteddfod and is the Chair of the current Technical Committee. He is part of the team which has set up a brand new brass band in the capital, Band Pres Taf, which is hoping to compete for the first times at the Eisteddfod in Cardiff this year.
Ifan Alun Puw
Alun Puw, Llanuwchllyn, has worked tirelessly in his area for many years, providing support for the Urdd, working with branches and preparing youngsters for different competitions. Since retiring, he has also supported the Young Farmers, taking every opportunity to offer support and guidance locally. He was the chief steward when the Eisteddfod was held locally in 2009, and gave the festival many years of service as one of the co-ordinators of the Literary Pavilion, before retiring from the role following the Anglesey National Eisteddfod last year.
Ned Thomas, Aberystwyth, has contributed much to Wales, both on the national and international stage. He is regarded as one of Wales and the Welsh language’s leading intelligentsia, and is always willing to get involved at a practical level. A multi-linguist, Ned is fluent in Welsh, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian and his work in promoting minority languages across Europe is valued by all. He has served on many national boards and committees, and is always ready to share his expertise and to push boundaries.
For years, Dennis Williams, Llanfairpwll, has been linked with the world of brass bands, and it’s easy to understand this given his huge contribution to the field throughout his career. He conducted Menai Bridge Band for many years, and also led the Deiniolen Silver Band for a time. But Dennis also plays an active role in his community, and his contribution as the former chair of the Llanfairpwll Football Club and as chair of the local community council show his commitment at grassroots level.
John Davies, Crymych, has given a lifetime’s service to all kinds of national organisations as well as those in his locality. A farmer by trade, he is the former Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council as well as the Welsh Local Government Association. He chairs the Royal Welsh Show’s Board of Trustees and is a member of the S4C Authority. He has provided great support for the local Young Farmers Clubs in Pembrokeshire, coaching and inspiring the members in public speaking competitions. This is a man who has contributed much in many different areas, and is worthy of the honour from the Gorsedd of the Bards.
This year sees Elaine Edwards, Carmarthen, retiring from her post as UCAC’s General Secretary after leading the organisation for ten years. Following a successful career as a teacher, she became involved in union matters as a county secretary for UCAC before being elected National President. She now discusses education and employment matters at the highest level with the Welsh Government, the UK Government and a wide range of other organisations. The physical and mental wellbeing of teachers are close to her heart and have been prioritised during her time leading the Union.
Before retiring, Haydn Edwards, Llangefni, was the Principal at Coleg Menai for many years. He has also played a pivotal and important role within many other Welsh organisations over the years, and is currently Chair of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Board of Directors. He was Chair of the Anglesey National Eisteddfod Finance Committee last year, and it was his vision and leadership which led to the incredible success of the fundraising work. He is a man of many interests, which include the history of railways and rugby, and is a gentleman and a conscientious campaigner.
Huw Edwards (to be honoured in 2019)
Originally from Llangennech, Huw Edwards, London, is a well-known journalist and television presenter. He has been responsible for a number of important feature series on Welsh history, including the story of Owain Glyndwr and Wales in the Middle Ages, Welsh politics in the 19th century and more recently, his series on the history of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia. He continues to support a number of organisations in Wales, including the Academy named after his father at Swansea University, Academi Hywel Teifi. He is also the presenter of the BBC flagship news programme, News at Ten and is the main presenter on a wide range of major TV events.
Gwyn Ellis Griffiths
Gwyn Ellis Griffiths, Bangor, was the first operational paramedic in Gwynedd, and with North Wales Police, he developed the paramedic service for the Air Ambulance service. He has given a lifetime of service to the ambulance service, and continues to support and mentor paramedics keen to move on to a higher level. He was a member of the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team for many years, and is involved with a number of charities, including cancer research, Tîm Irfon and Hawl i Fyw.
Originally from Bangor, John Hardy, Cardiff, is a familiar face and voice in the media here in Wales. He has been broadcasting for almost forty years, and at the moment hosts the early morning show on Radio Cymru during the week. He is well known for his work in the sporting world, having commentated on over 200 international matches on Radio Cymru, but he has also worked in a number of other areas including all kinds of entertainment. His contribution to the world of broadcasting in Wales has been huge over the years.
Paul Hopkins, Llantwit Major, is at the top of his profession as a barrister. As the elected Leader of the Wales and Chester Circuit, his responsibilities and contribution to the legal world in Wales are vast. He represents the profession in discussions with the Welsh Government, the UK Government, the Lord of the Chief Justice, the Lord Chancellor, the General Counsel of England and Wales and the Welsh Prosecution Service. He also represents Welsh barristers on the Bar Council.
Margarette Hughes, Whitland, has worked tirelessly promoting the language and culture of Wales locally for over 40 years. She worked in the pre-school sector locally, and when the Eisteddfod came to the area in 1974, she organised a crèche on the Maes, working with Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin. After identifying that there was a lack of Welsh lessons locally, she began working as a Welsh for adults tutor in the evenings, and she continues to teach three classes per week locally today. Merched y Wawr has played a significant part in her life over the years, and she served as its National President from 1988-90.
Anne Innes, Cardiff, has raised over £100,000 towards heart research, and she is recognised by the Gorsedd for her exemplary voluntary work over the years. Following her husband’s illness in 1982 when he was given a new heart at Harefield Hospital, she decided to concentrate on fundraising and supporting good causes. Her main features are conviction, enthusiasm and her ability to never give up. Many charities in Wales have benefitted from her support over the years.
Elin Jones, Aberaeron, has been the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales since May 2016, and has worked to ensure that the Government is more accountable to the people of Wales and to ensure that that there is respect and dignity in all elements of the Assembly’s discussions and procedures. She has represented Ceredigion in the Assembly since the beginning in 1999, and the privilege of representing her area has been her priority since her election. She has worked tirelessly for her area for over 25 years so far, and her contribution across Ceredigion and Wales makes her more than worthy of this honour.
Eric Jones, Pencader, has volunteered with both the National Eisteddfod and the Urdd since 1984, working quietly in the background with a smile on his face. His contribution to his local area at grass roots level has been great, he is a deacon at the local chapel and is an enthusiastic member of the Llanfihangel ar Arth local Eisteddfod committee. He is always happy to help and to go the extra mile.
Gwyneth Briwnant Jones
Gwyneth Briwnant Jones, Cardiff, has contributed in two very different areas, the field of education through her professional work, and the health world, through her work with the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Community Health Council, as well as numerous other health organisations. She was involved in the developments at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, the reorganisation of services for mothers and babies and the reorganisation of mental health services, as well as a number of other services. Originally from the Aman Valley, she has contributed much to her locality and the wider community both voluntarily and professionally over the years.
Alaw Le Bon
Originally from Caernarfon, Alaw Le Bon, Barry, works as a primary school teacher in a Welsh school in Cardiff, taking every opportunity to share her interest in Welsh culture with her young pupils. She led the Summer Play Groups at Menter Caerdydd, and also volunteers as a Welsh language welcomer at the Wales Millennium Centre. She has played a central role in the work of raising funds and awareness for the Eisteddfod’s visit to Cardiff this year, campaigning vigorously in the west of the city for many months.
Helen Middleton, Abergavenny, was a leading member of the team which ensured the success of the Eisteddfod in Monmouthshire in 2016. It is difficult to think of anyone who has contributed more to promoting the Welsh language in the Abergavenny area over the years. Originally from Aberangell, Helen is a key member of the Welsh community in the area, and is involved in all Welsh language events and activities. Her style is to work quietly and determinedly, a style which has brought great success to the promotion of the language locally.
Originally from Llandre, Ceredigion, Eleri Rees, Cardiff, is a Senior Circuit Judge and is a Resident Judge at Cardiff Crown Court. She has been a Circuit Judge since 2002 and she is also the Liaison Judge for the Welsh Language, and chaired the working group which set up the order which practically reflects the principle of equality for Welsh as well as English in line with the 1993 Welsh Language Act. She is the Cardiff Recorder since 2012, and was the first woman to be appointed to this influential role.
Jamie Huw Roberts
Jamie Huw Roberts, Cardiff, has been one of Wales’ greatest rugby stars for over a decade. He has won 94 caps for Wales and played on two Lions Tours. He is extremely proud of his Welsh background, and his contribution to raising the language’s profile among young players is exemplary. Born and brought up in Cardiff, the Gorsedd is delighted to honour him in his home city.
Vaughan Roderick, Cardiff, is one of the most recognised faces and voices working in the media in Wales today, due to his worked as BBC Wales’ Welsh Affairs Editor. With a keen interest in politics, he has spent his career following democracy in Wales and Westminster. He regularly presents on Radio Cymru and Radio Wales, and has been one of the main presenters of election coverage in both Welsh and English here in Wales for many years.
Jonathan Simcock, Derby, has done valuable work to promote the language in this part of England. He organises regular events and activities for Welsh learners from the Midlands, combining formal educational events with social and relaxed activities, so that learners can experience all kinds of Welsh events. A keen supporter of the Eisteddfod, he represents Welsh learners in England on the organisation’s Learners’ Committee.
Linda Tomos, Dolgellau, has been at the forefront of promoting culture for the benefit of the people of Wales for many years, with her experience and enthusiasm for heritage a great boost to the whole of the country. She was the first woman to be appointed to lead the National Library of Wales, with her commitment to engage with disadvantaged communities across the country a sure sign of her personal interest in ensuring that people throughout Wales have access to our heritage and culture. She formerly worked for the Welsh Government as the Director of the division responsible for Museums, Archives and Libraries.
Rhys Owen Thomas
Although he has worked across the world, Dr Rhys Thomas, New Inn, Llandeilo, has returned to his roots, where he contributes greatly to his community. After graduating in medicine, he joined the Parachute Regiment and worked in Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan, before returning to Wales. He used the skills he learnt on the battlefield to develop pre-hospital critical care for the Welsh Flying Doctors Service, working with Dr Dindi Gill. He now works as a consultant anaesthetist at Ysbyty Glangwili.
Andrew White, Llanharran, has worked as the Director of Stonewall Cymru for almost a decade, leading the work to ensure legal equality and social justice for all LGBT people here in Wales. Having learnt Welsh at secondary school, he worked as the head of the Health and Voluntary Sector team at the Welsh Language Board before joining Stonewall Cymru. A natural leader, his lobbying work ensured that the Welsh Government amended the Public Sector Equality Duty in Wales to be more inclusive with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Rosemary Williams, Crickhowell, is honoured for her contribution to Welsh culture in the Abergavenny, Crickhowell and Heads of the Valleys areas. Having been head of Ysgol Gymraeg Brynmawr, Blaenau Gwent for years, she was responsible for promoting the language and Welsh medium education to generations of local residents. She is a stalwart of the Welsh community and her contribution to both the Abergavenny Eisteddfod and the National Eisteddfod in 2016 was great, as part of the small but committed team which created such a legacy for the language and our culture locally.
Carole Willis, Y Groesfaen, Pontyclun, is an integral part of her community. After learning Welsh and graduating in the language, she spent decades working with others to raise awareness and promote the language locally with a wide range of groups and organisations, including Côr Godre’r Garth, Pontyclun Community Council and as the current Chair of Governors at Ysgol Gynradd Gymunedol Gymraeg Llantrisant She has also worked closely with the Urdd, Mudiad Meithrin and the local chapel over the years.
The following individuals were honoured last year and will join the Gorsedd at the Cardiff National Eisteddfod.
Geraint Jarman, Cardiff’s contribution as a composer and poet has had a far-reaching and lasting influence on the culture of Wales. He has been an integral part of the Welsh music scene for over forty years, publishing two volumes of poetry along with eighteen albums from 1976 to 2016. Undoubtedly, he has contributed so much to Welsh language in Wales, influencing generations of individuals and bands through the years.
Although he hails from Provo Utah, Ronald Dennis’ ancestors were from the Halkyn area in Flintshire. He set about learning Welsh to be able to read the work of his great great grandfather, Captain Dan Jones, chief Mormon missionary in Wales, and learn more about the Welsh contribution to the growth of this unique faith. His advice and support have been readily available for decades for anyone interested in the field, especially the website he developed tracing the history of the Mormons. He managed to rediscover an important and forgotten piece of history, transforming our knowledge and awareness about the contribution of Welsh Mormons to the history of Utah.
Robert Evans, Oxford, has led Welsh language activities in the city of Oxford and its university for many years. He has been President of the Dafydd ap Gwilym Association, and continues to welcome and support students during their time at university. He is an international authority on history and held the university’s most prestigious History Chair, the Royal Chair (Regiws). He is now and Emeritus Fellow at Oriel College, and prior to this was a Fellow at Brasenose College. He was one of the Founding Fellows of the Learned Society of Wales, and continues to support the work of the Society.
Jeremy Randles, Abergavenny, played a key part in attracting the Eisteddfod to the area in 2016. He founded a committee to promote the cause and encourage local councillors and business people to support the Eisteddfod. Once the news came that the Eisteddfod was to be held locally, he was very active, as a member of the Executive Committee, the Abergavenny Appeal Committee, and the festival choir. He chaired the Technical sub-committee and served as the Chief Steward during the week. He now works diligently to ensure a fitting legacy for the Eisteddfod in Monmouthshire. Originally from Wrexham and the son of a non-Welsh speaking family, he has learned the language fluently and he and his family are active members in Welsh activities in Abergavenny.