Today, the Gorsedd of the Bards will honour its new members at the Monmouthshire and District National Eisteddfod.
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.
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.
Cardiff is Roger Boore’s home, and this is where he brought up his family. When the children were young in the late 1960s, he realised how few Welsh books were available for children and how bleak and boring they looked. So he set about establishing Gwasg y Dref Wen, working with foreign publishers to create compelling content with colourful design and layout, beginning a new chapter in the history of children’s publishing in Wales.
Rhiannon Davies, Llanellen, Abergavenny, has contributed to the vitality of Welsh in Monmouthshire. She has made a valuable contribution strengthening Welsh language services in the health service locally in her capacity as Welsh Language Officer at the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. She has also managed to bridge the work she has done to promote the language at grass roots level with her work in the Health Board in a number of ways, including building relationships with local Welsh schools to encourage Welsh speaking pupils to consider a career in the NHS.
Robin Harries Aled Davies
Robin Davies, Coleford, Gloucestershire, has actively promoted the language in the Monmouth area for many years. In addition to leading the local fundraising work for the Eisteddfod this year, Robin edited the local papur bro, Newyddion Gwent, for a decade and was part of the group which set up the local language initiative, Menter Iaith Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen and Monmouthshire in 2008. He was responsible for establishing the Monmouth and District Welsh Society, and plays a leading and important role in Cymdeithas Gwenynen Gwent, the Association of Lady Llanover, serving as secretary since 2008.
H Ellis Griffiths
Hywel Ellis Griffiths, Dinas Powys, has been the head at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw since 2006. His vision is to create fully bilingual individuals who take pride in their identity and heritage, and this vision is transferred to pupils and parents alike. Hywel Ellis Griffiths ' work in promoting the Welsh language and the concept of speaking the language as a privilege and opportunity has inspired a generation of young people, and there are now almost 1,000 pupils at the school, which is itself a vibrant and successful Welsh community significantly contributing to positive attitudes towards the language.
Brian Jones, Llanarthney, Carmarthenshire runs the Castell Howell Foods Company. This is Wales' largest food provider and now also operates in parts of England. He founded the company when diversifying after working on the family farm, Castell Howell. The company is known for promoting Welsh food, and Brian and the company are also known for supporting all kinds of Welsh associations and Welsh institutions, especially those promoting the Welsh language and culture. Brian Jones is also President of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show next year, with Carmarthenshire sponsoring the Show.
Emyr Wyn Jones
Emyr Wyn Jones, Rhos y Gwaliau, Bala, is well-known as President of the Farmers Union of Wales between 2011-15. He worked tirelessly for the Union, providing clear and firm leadership during his tenure at the helm. He was a conscientious and dedicated for the principles on which the Union was formed. He has been active with a number of agricultural organisations and associations for years, and has won numerous awards and has been honoured by various organisations and associations in the Welsh farming world.
Richard Jones, Wrexham, is recognised locally and nationally as a voice and champion for children and young people with special educational needs, specifically those with Down syndrome. He was very influential working with children, their parents and Mencap to ensure the social and educational inclusion of children with Down syndrome, including campaigns to enable them to attend mainstream playgroups, primary and secondary schools. He was the first head teacher at Ysgol Gymraeg Hooson, Rhosllannerchrugog, is a talented musician and well-known accompanist, and supports all elements of culture in the town and across the region.
Elin Maher, Newport, is one of the Welsh language’s greatest supporters in the south east. Through her commitment, hard work and inspiration, Elin has set up and steered Menter Casnewydd. She organises Welsh language events in the city, is an important contributor to Capel Mynydd Seion, a teacher and a great supporter of Welsh medium education across the region. She campaigned hard for the creation of Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Is Gwent, and she is Chair of the Governors at the school which opens its doors next September.
Aled Wyn Phillips
Disco Aled Wyn has been an integral part of the Welsh language music scene since the late 70s with Aled Wyn Phillips, Cardiff at the helm. Since he moved from Rhos in the 80s to work as S4C’s head of on-air promotions, he has passionately promoted the language, by chairing various committees, organising, producing, Djing, providing lighting and sound resources for local and national events and activities. He also chaired Clwb y Diwc, a social group which was formed to promote Welsh events in the capital, following the Eisteddfod's visit to the area in 2008.
Ken Rees, Whitland, is honoured for his contribution to the Hywel Dda National Society, and in particular to the Hywel Dda Centre for many years. A former teacher at Ysgol Dyffryn Taf, Ken Rees is an important part of his local community, and his commitment to the centre as gardener, caretaker, carpenter, guide, reporter and course organiser, is priceless. A strong advocate for tourism and for his area for many years, Ken has organised many exhibitions over the years, raising the profile of Hywel Dda’s Laws, to ensure that future generations are aware of their importance in Welsh history.
Philip Brian Richards
Philip Brian Richards, Mountain Ash, has been honoured for his work in the Law sector, and this during the year of his retirement. He learnt Welsh as a second language, and not only presides over cases in Welsh, but has also served as Chair of the Lord Chancellor's Standing Committee on the Welsh Language twice. He has also been active with Rhieni dros Addysg Gymraeg (Parents for Welsh Language Education), and has served as a governor in a number of Welsh schools in Rhondda Cynon Taff over the years.
Elizabeth Saville Roberts
2015 was a significant year for Liz Saville Roberts, Morfa Nefyn, as she was elected as MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd. She is Plaid Cymru’s first female member in Westminster. Originally from London, Liz learnt Welsh at university in Aberystwyth, and after a period working in London, she returned to Wales as a reporter with the Herald Group. She worked in Coleg Meirion Dwyfor for years, supporting and developing post 16 Welsh medium education. Until her election, she was Director of Bilingualism at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.
Sue Roberts, Pwllheli, was brought up in an English speaking household in Cardiff, and Welsh was limited in the catholic schools of Cardiff during her schooldays. She started to learn Welsh supported by classes at the Urdd branch and a local neighbour. She has been the co-ordinator for the Catholic Circle for twenty years, working to make Welsh a natural part of the Church and the Church a part of Welsh life. Her contribution includes offering opportunities to children and young people to use Welsh in Church activities, as well as organising all kinds of activities over the years.
Ceri Thomas, Abergavenny, has been active in Welsh activities in the area for many years. She chaired the Abergavenny Eisteddfod for almost a decade until 2011, and she remains very involved, looking at technology and new communications tools to reach competitors of all ages. Originally from Abergele, Ceri is an integral part of the Welsh community in Abergavenny and promotes the use of Welsh locally and in the workplace. She has worked hard during difficult times to strengthen the Welsh language in Abergavenny and in various workplaces.
Gwenda Thomas has been an Assembly Member since 1999, representing the constituency of Neath for seventeen years. During this period, she chaired the Housing Committee, the Equal Opportunities Committee, and the review on Safeguarding Vulnerable Children in Wales. In addition, she was the Deputy Minister for Social Services. During her tenure, she worked diligently to improve Welsh medium provision in the health sector and social services. Throughout her time as part of the Assembly, Gwenda Thomas was committed to improving things for people who use public services.
John Gordon Williams
John Gordon Williams has been an integral part of the Welsh community in Liverpool for years. He was a Consultant Doctor in Respiration in local hospitals until his retirement, and was President of the Welsh Medical Society, regularly lecturing at its conferences. Over the years, he contributed to many Welsh activities in Liverpool, and was active in the preparations for the Mimosa Festival in the city last year. He has also contributed regularly to the local papur bro in Merseyside and Manchester, Yr Angor. Originally from Holyhead, he was the Day President at the Anglesey Eisteddfod recently.
Gwyneth Williams, Sennybridge, has been extremely supportive of the language and culture of Wales throughout her life and is very active with all kinds of eisteddfodau. She has spent years training and supporting generations of children and young people, teaching them the art of recitation. It gives her great pleasure to see so many local young people succeeding on local as well as national stages. Gwyneth Williams has been a reporter for the local papur bro, Y Fan a’r Lle for twenty years and is very active with many organisations across the region.
His community is an important part of Dafydd Wyn, Glanaman’s life and his contribution to that community has been significant over the years. One of the founders of the community newspaper Glo Mân almost forty years ago, he was a regular columnist in the paper over the years. He was responsible for setting up the Ammanford Library Welsh Language Reading Circle, and continues to jointly run the scheme today. He is a community councillor, has been Mayor of Cwmaman twice over the years. He is a poet and winner of several chairs in local eisteddfodau.
Carole Collins, Prion, Denbigh, taught Welsh to herself and her husband, and raised her children in Welsh. She has given a lifetime of service promoting and teaching Welsh to generations of children in the northeast. Passionate about the language and culture from an early age, she has ensured that Welsh, school eisteddfodau and the Urdd have ben given prominence in some of the English schools in the area and works as an area teacher in Flintshire, responsible for planning the teaching of Welsh in 16 primary and 3 secondary schools. This is a woman who promotes Welsh at every opportunity through her work and her personal life.
Martha Davies, Lincoln, Nebraska may be from the USA, but her Welshness is a strong personal trait, and she has been active in the North American Welsh community for many years. She came to live in Wales for four years, and learned Welsh at Aberystwyth before returning to the USA where she worked as an archivist, librarian and the translator of several Welsh books and documents. With her husband, Berwyn Jones, she runs the Great Plain Welsh Project Centre in Nebraska, receiving all kinds of documents, books and artefacts from Welsh homes and chapels across the country. She is also responsible for digitising the two North American Welsh newspapers, Y Drych and Ninnau.
Originally from Cricieth, Jennifer Eynon has lived in Wrexham for half a century, and is one of the pillars of the Welsh language and cultural community in the area. She trains children and young people to recite for concerts, eisteddfodau and services, and get great pleasure from doing so. She served as the Chair of the National Eisteddfod Recitation Committee in 2011. She has also raised money for Nightingale House Hospice for many years, and organises Welsh activities and events in the area, providing a new platform for those who want to perform in Welsh locally.
Gruffydd John Harries
Gruffydd John Harries (Griff), Mumbles, Swansea, is a musician who has worked with a wide range of ensembles. He has experience with many prominent orchestras and has also worked with the National Eisteddfod at many concerts over the years. Much of his work deals with the world of television, with the majority of his work on Welsh productions. He recently worked as an associate musician for the successful ‘Under Milk Wood’ film recently. He is an excellent musician who is always willing to promote the Welsh language and culture.
Anne Hughes, Tongwynlais, Cardiff’s interest lies in Welsh folk dancing, and she has worked diligently to promote folk dancing for many years. One of the founding members of Gwerinwyr Gwent, she was also one of those who founded Dawnswyr Gwerin Penyfai, and remains a member of the group. In 2012, she was co-responsible for the selecting the youngsters and teaching the flower dance for the 2012 Vale of Glamorgan Eisteddfod, and since then, Anne has continued to advise the coaches of the dance. She is a member of the Welsh Folk Dance Society executive committee, and the National Eisteddfod and Urdd dance panels, and is secretary of the Celtic Connections Festival, Porthcawl.
The Urdd’s work in Eryri would have been much more difficult without the presence and support of Ken Hughes, Cricieth, over the years. A primary teacher and head for over 40 years, he gave generations of children the chance to perform on stage. He was responsible for scripting and directing the Urdd’s primary school show in 2012, and executive secretary of the Urdd Eisteddfod in 1990. He currently chairs the executive committee for the Gŵyl Gerdd Dant in Pwllheli this year. He is a respected eisteddfod adjudicator and has contributed much to the culture of his area over the years.
Gwyn Elfyn Lloyd Jones
Gwyn Elfyn Lloyd Jones, Pontyberem, Llanelli, is well-known to S4C viewers as Denzil from Pobol y Cwm. Although he worked in Cardiff for many years, the Gwendraeth Valley was always home. He is Chair of Menter Iaith Cwm Gwendraeth Elli and its management committee, and is very active with the local rugby club, and has trained youngsters for years through the medium of Welsh. Nowadays, he is the Minister at Zion Chapel Drefach, with the Sunday School and services flourishing again in his care. An actor, minister, patriotic Welshman and local hero who has contributed greatly to the life and culture of Wales.
Megan Jones, Penparcau, Aberystwyth, has supported many humanitarian organisations in Ceredigion, raising thousands for charities and good causes. She supports cultural events in the Aberystwyth area, is chair of the committee local papur bro, Yr Angor, and worked hard to re-establish the Eisteddfod in Aberystwyth. She is also chair of Cymdeithas Eisteddfodau Cymru (the Welsh Eisteddfod Association). She is a faithful and active member of her local Merched y Wawr branch, and has served as branch president several times. She was also the Ceredigion Region President for the organisation from 2013-15.
Siân Lewis is from Cardiff and has worked hard for her city over the years. She joined Menter Caerdydd nearly fifteen years ago, and the Menter has developed and flourished in her care, with Welsh language activities increasingly dramatically during the period. The annual Tafwyl festival at Cardiff Castle has been a great success, giving an opportunity for tens of thousands of people to enjoy a wide range of events. The recent development of the Old Library in the city centre is an exciting addition to Welsh life in the Welsh capital. Siân’s energy, vision and perseverance have been a critical part of this success.
Wyn Lodwick, Pwll, Llanelli, is known to everyone as 'Jazz Man'. He has enjoyed an extremely successful career in the world of jazz, travelling the world performing, and has been a familiar face on television over the years. His instrument is the clarinet, and he is a versatile musician, who has arranged Welsh language tunes and songs in a jazz style. He has also lectured extensively on the history and meaning of jazz, and has worked tirelessly to promote the language and culture through jazz, here in Wales and beyond.
Ruth Lloyd Owen
Ruth Lloyd Owen, Llanddoged, Llanrwst, is an active and enthusiastic person who has contributed much to the language and culture in her area. A teacher by occupation, she has trained and accompanied a large number of children and young people from the area over the years. She accompanied Côr Merched Carmel for years and continues to accompany Côr Genod y Gân. She is also a gifted songwriter, responsible for the Wales YFC anthem, Gobaith yn y Tir.
Dafydd Meirion Roberts
Dafydd Meirion Roberts, Cwm-y-Glo, Caernarfon, is the chief executive of the Sain recording company, and a member of the popular group Ar Log. Dafydd’s contribution to the world of Welsh music is well known, and has worked hard for fair conditions and rights for musicians from Wales through Eos. He served on the Welsh Music Foundation board, supporting Welsh musicians and successfully attracted WOMEX to Cardiff two years ago. Dafydd has also worked tirelessly for culture and the language in his community by ensuring that hundreds of children and young people benefit from opportunities to perform
Godfrey Wyn Williams
Godfrey Williams, Trevor, Llangollen, is best known as the former owner of the radio station Marcher Sound serving Wrexham and north east Wales. Under his leadership, Marcher Sound became Sain y Gororau, giving the Welsh language and Welsh programmes a worthy platform on its wavelengths. After selling the station, he became involved in the community, acting as an active and energetic member of several committees and national and local boards over the years.