Today (4 May), the names of those living in south east Wales honoured by the Gorsedd of the Bards at the Anglesey 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 Bodedern on Monday 7 August and Friday 11 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 their degree in literature, music, drama or art, also receive the Green robes, as will the winner of the Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize every year and the winners of the Urdd Crown and Chair.
Only the winners of the main competitions at the National Eisteddfod are honoured with White robes.
The Anglesey National Eisteddfod is held in Bodedern from 4-12 August. For more information go to www.eisteddfod.wales.
Richard Crowe, Cardiff, is honoured for his expertise in the field of legislative law and its processes with regards to the Welsh language in the context of devolution, along with his mastery of the language. Originally from Dorset, he learned Welsh on his own before going to university in Aberystwyth. He was Assistant Editor with the University of Wales Dictionary for years, before accepting a job as a legal translator in the National Assembly. He drafted legislation in Welsh, and went on to study in order to obtain qualifications in law. Since 2005, he is the Chief Jurilinguist for the Welsh Government and has steered the development of Welsh as a legislative language for almost twenty years.
Ian Gwyn Hughes
Ian Gwyn Hughes, Cardiff, was a sports reporter with the BBC in Wales for years. But he came to the attention of most people last year in his capacity as Head of Communications for the FAW during the Euro championship. He made the Welsh language a central feature of the Association’s work, showing the team and the officials’ pride in the language. This gave the language an international platform during the competition, creating a sense of ownership of the language as well as the team. He has also been innovative in promoting football in Welsh communities across the country.
Michael Jones, Cardiff, is a long-time campaigner for Welsh medium education in Cardiff and nationally. He is well known in the field of law here in Wales, and has worked on a number of court cases relating to the language during his career. He is still a member of RHAG (Parents for Welsh Education), having served on the Executive and Chair, and is a well-known governor at some of the city’s Welsh medium schools. He has been the President and Secretary of Cylch Cinio Cymraeg Caerdydd, and has worked hard to promote the Welsh language in business in Cardiff and beyond.
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.
Originally from Anglesey, presenter, Nia Roberts, Cowbridge, is the daughter of the late actor and teacher, JO Roberts. She is one of S4C's most familiar faces and a much-loved voice on Radio Cymru, with extensive experience of presenting live events and cultural events of all kinds, including the National Eisteddfod, the Urdd and Côr Cymru. She also presents Radio Cymru’s weekly arts show, Stiwdio. Last year, she received an honorary Fellowship for her contribution to the field of broadcasting by Bangor University.
With his roots deep in Bodffordd, Anglesey, football has been Osian Roberts’ life from a very young age. Following a period in the USA, he returned to Wales to work in the football world, and has been part of the Wales training team for a number of years. His experience and expertise was vitally important in Wales’ footballing success at last year’s European Championships, when the team reached the semi final round. He was key to ensuring Welsh was seen and heard during the competition, raising the language’s profile on the international stage. He has already been named at the Honorary President at this year’s Eisteddfod.
David and Ruth Roberts
David and Ruth Roberts, Llanelen, Abergavenny, were critical to the success of Monmouthshire and District National Eisteddfod last year. They co-chaired the Abergavenny Appeal Committee, working for two years to raise money for the Eisteddfod. With a target of £100,000 in an area with few Welsh speakers, and with a small and active group working with them, they both worked strategically and practically, smashing the target and reaching almost £120,000. They are also a central part of Welsh language and cultural life in the area, including Cymreigyddion y Fenni, and David is the Vice-Chair of the local Menter Iaith, and Ruth volunteers as the secretary of Merched y Wawr locally.
Iwan Guy, Cowbridge, is a well-known singer, conductor and teacher. A former national winner, he worked as a professional opera singer for years, performing with various opera companies. Following an accident, he trained as a primary school teacher, and was very influential both as a teacher and a head teacher in the south east, before being appointed as Director of the NAHT union in Wales. He continued his interest in music and has established and conducted a number of choirs and the Cowbridge Choral Society.
Geraint Jarman (to be honoured in 2018)
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.
Rhodri Jones, Penarth, has given a lifetime of service to Welsh as a second language education in south east Wales, spending twenty years as Head of the Department of Welsh at Barry Boys School, a teaching consultant with responsibility for Welsh as a second language in the secondary schools of Cardiff and the Vale and as an inspector with Estyn. But his contribution to Wales is much broader than this, due to his interest in the traditions of Wales, especially folk dancing. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Welsh National Folk Dance Society for decades and is one of the founders of Cwmni Dawns Caerdydd. He also organises national training courses.
Jeanette Massocchi, Abergavenny, has been part of the music world in Wales for many years, making a vast contribution as an accompanist, adjudicator and coach. She was one of the National Eisteddfod’s accompanists for 30 years until 2004, and with the festival held in Abergavenny last year, decided to return as an official accompanist during the week itself and working with an providing the accompaniment for the Eisteddfod choir. She has supported hundreds of performers over the years, many of them Blue Ribband winners who have enjoyed successful musical careers. She also adjudicates or accompanies at a number of eisteddfodau across Wales, including the local Abergavenny Eisteddfod, where she has also been a committee member since the event was re-established in 2002.
Wynford Ellis Owen
To generations of Welsh speakers, Wynford Ellis Owen, Creigiau, Cardiff, is Sir Wynff from the famous series ‘Anturiaethau Syr Wynff a Plwmsan’, and to others, he is Donald, the minister in the series 'Porc Peis'. But for hundreds of individuals who are dependent on drugs or drink in the Cardiff area, he is the man in charge of their treatment, as Chief Executive of the 'Living Room' charity. Having gained qualifications in the field prior to setting up and opening the centre, which has been very successful, with plans afoot to extend the project and set-up other ‘Living Rooms’ in west and north Wales. The centre in Cardiff has transformed lives, and this was the intention following his own experiences.