This year’s Welsh Learner of the Year is Fiona Collins.
She was honoured in a special ceremony on Wednesday evening on the Pavilion stage, following an excellent competition. This is the first time the competition has been held in the Pavilion and the hope is that this will help to raise the competition’s profile across Wales and beyond.
The adjudicators were Daloni Metcalfe, Janet Charlton and Emyr Davies.
A former teacher, Fiona Collins has worked as a storyteller for a number of years, working with children and people of all ages, making legends, stories and folklore come alive in her own magical way.
She works through the medium of Welsh and English, and believes there’s an important role for Welsh folklore in our lives, with the Mabinogi stories able to teach us about our country and its landscape. She says she has a ‘secret mission; to teach everyone about these fantastic stories.
Fiona has lived in Carrog for over fifteen years, and has established a Story Cafe locally, where a group of people come together monthly to share stories, recite poetry or sing.
She began learning Welsh in 1999, and this year felt confident enough to compete in the Welsh Learner of the Year competition.
Fiona received a beautiful trophy designed by Meinir Wyn and donated by Gari Bryn Jones, Pentrefoelas, and £300 (Llandudno Soroptimist International).
The other three finalists, Paul Huckstep from Penmachno, Grace Emily Jones from Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr, and Gemma Owen from Maenan, Llanrwst received trophies, also donated by Gari Bryn Jones, Pentrefoelas, and designed by Meinir Wyn.
They also received £100 each, presented by Merched y Wawr Capel Garmon, Gwawr Dafydd, Conwy and Merched y Wawr Penmachno.
The finalists also received a year’s subscription to the magazine, Golwg, and gifts from Merched y Wawr. Fiona has also been invited to become a member of the Gorsedd.
Fiona will be at the press conference on Thursday morning.