Although the National Eisteddfod has been postponed for a year, the Gorsedd has decided to announce the names of those who were to be honoured on the Maes in Tregaron this year
The aim is to ensure that we are all able to celebrate their success and look forward to when we are able to gather together safely, to honour them in the traditional and dignified way next year.
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 Bards’ arrangements for honouring new members, all new members are admitted at the same level, irrespective of whether they are honoured with 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 admits new members to the Green robes for their contribution to the Arts. Those who have succeeded in the Gorsedd examinations or are eligible on account of their degree in Welsh, Music or any subject mostly studied through the medium of Welsh also receive the Green robes, as do the winners of the main Urdd ceremonies.
Only winners of the main competitions at the National Eisteddfod are honoured with White robes.
A number of those honoured this year have learned Welsh and have moved to live here in Wales, whilst others continue to live in other countries, and have done excellent work to promote the Welsh language and create valuable connections between Wales and other parts of the world.
The aim is to hold the ceremonies on the Eisteddfod Maes next year. As the process had been completed prior to lockdown, we will not be reopening nominations for the Ceredigion National Eisteddfod, and nominations for the Eisteddfod in Llŷn and Eifionydd will open in a year’s time.
Deian Creunant, Aberystwyth, has contributed to the arts both locally and nationally. One of the first Welsh-language voices on Radio Ceredigion, he has worked for the Urdd, the Big Lottery Fund and the Welsh Government and is now director of communications with FOUR Cymru. He is vice-chair of the Ceredigion National Eisteddfod Executive Committee, he co-leads the Ffoto Aber initiative and was chair of the Urdd National Eisteddfod in Ceredigion in 2010. He is a member and former chair of the Management Board and Trustees of Cwmni Theatr Arad Goch, a member of the Morlan Centre Management Board, and an elder of Morfa chapel. Over the years he has run to raise money for local and national charities.
Originally from Crosshands, artist Anthony Evans has settled in Cardiff. He is a former head of art at Ysgol Glantaf, an illustrator of children’s books, and a political artist who supported the miners’ strike campaign and the anti-apartheid movement. He was a county secretary for UCAC, one of the founders of the Old Library Artists Company, Oriel Canfas and the Awen charity, as well as being involved in Clwb y Bont. He has been a professional artist for 30 years, and has performed with Cwmni Drama y Fuwch Goch, Clwb Ifor Bach, and Capel y Crwys Drama Company, not to mention appearing in two pantomimes in Whitchurch to raise money for the National Eisteddfod.
Rhiannon Evans, Blaenpennal, is known for her jewellery, which are original interpretations of our Welsh and Celtic artistic traditions, especially the legends of the Mabinogion and the cult of the Saints. Since its inception in 1971, Rhiannon Jewellery and the Craft Design Centre Wales have become almost synonymous with Tregaron itself. The Centre promotes Welsh-made craftsmanship and sponsors quality artists and designers through the shop, workshop and Gallery. Rhiannon has been a leading light in rural economic development by co-founding ‘ATOM Tregaron’ in the 1970s, and was a mentor for the Welsh Development Agency, and a member of the Curiad Cymru initiative.
Angharad Fychan, from Pen-bont Rhydybeddau, Aberystwyth, has contributed extensively to the study of Welsh place-names. Since 2011, she has been secretary of the Welsh Place-Name Society, lecturing regularly on the subject. She leads educational walks to explain the importance of place names in the landscape, and has contributed a monthly column on place names to the community paper, Y Tincer, since 2013. She is also a member of the Welsh Language Commissioner’s place-names standardisation team. Angharad has also made a significant contribution to the Welsh language through her work as Senior Editor on the staff of Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru.
Robat Gruffudd, Talybont, Ceredigion, is honoured for his contribution to the language and culture of Wales. He started campaigning while a student at Bangor, and in 1965, with his friend Penri Jones, published the first issue of the satirical magazine, Lol. In 1967, he founded Y Lolfa press, one of today’s leading presses in Wales. He has twice won the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize, and published a volume of his poems, A Gymri di Gymru?, in 2008, and his diaries, Lolian, in 2016. He was a member of the team that established the community newspaper, Papur Pawb, and remains active in his local area.
Musician Jeffrey Howard, Cardiff, is a well-known name to Eisteddfod fans, as one of the festival’s official accompanists for over twenty years. A talented organist and music director, as well as an experienced vocal instructor, he has worked with leading Welsh music organisations, including the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Welsh National Opera. He received the Joseph Parry Award for his contribution to music in Wales in 2018. He has learned Welsh, and uses the language regularly when working on Eisteddfod choral projects, both in the community and in preparing for performances on the Pavilion stage.
Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones
Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, Aberystwyth, has worked for over 30 years in networks and projects that connect Wales and the Welsh language with continental Europe, drawing on her international experience to enrich the discourse about the Welsh language. In 2017, she was appointed to the Council of Europe group reviewing the European Charter for minority and regional languages. She developed the Mercator Centre, and through the Wales Literature Exchange and Literature Across Frontiers has ensured that hundreds of books from Wales have been translated into world languages. She is a Professor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, a member of the Management Board of the National Eisteddfod and Chair of Cwmni Theatr Arad Goch.
Wynne Melville Jones
Originally from Tregaron, Wynne Melville Jones, Llanfihangel-Genauʼr-Glyn is well known as a PR pioneer, artist and the father of Mistar Urdd. His passion lies in developing and realising ideas. The Urdd is particularly close to his heart and he is Honorary President of the movement. He founded StrataMatrix, Wales’ first bilingual communications company, running it successfully for 30 years and is a founder member of Golwg Cyf. Active in his community he set up, with others, Banc Bro to develop local social activities in Welsh. After retiring, he returned to art, and has been extremely productive and successful, drawing heavily on the depths of his roots in Tregaron and Ceredigion.
Originally from Pfalz in Germany, Helgard Krause, Aberaeron, came to Wales in 2005. She was appointed to the Welsh Books Council, marketing books abroad, due to her extensive experience in publishing. Two years later, she committed to learning Welsh in order to become the Council’s Head of Marketing, and within a few months she was fluent. Following a period as Director of the University of Wales Press, she returned to the Welsh Books Council in 2017, having been appointed as its Chief Executive. Helgard is a prime example of how someone totally unconnected with Wales can reach the top of one of our most important institutions by embracing our language and culture.
Originally from the Llandysul area, Emyr Llywelyn, Ffostrasol, has sought to promote and protect our language and culture throughout his life. He was active during his time as a student at Aberystwyth, and was at the forefront of discussions to establish a Welsh-language hall of residence, which led to the establishment of Neuadd Pantycelyn. He was imprisoned in 1963 for causing damage to the construction site of the Tryweryn dam, before announcing that he would not use violence again. He was responsible for setting up and leading Mudiad Adfer from the early 1970s and is the editor of Y Faner Newydd magazine. He has been consistently active in his community in Ceredigion over the years.
With his roots in the Tregaron and Llanddewi Brefi area, Huw Rhys-Evans, Harrow, has made a name for himself as a successful tenor who has travelled and performed around the world, putting Wales on the map on stages such as Carnegie Hall, New York, Bastille Opera House, Paris, and the Albert Hall, London. A winner of the Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize, he has supported the National Eisteddfod and local eisteddfodau for many years, returning to adjudicate and to conduct Cymanfaoedd Canu. He teaches singing to pupils of the Welsh School in London, is a member of several societies, and sings regularly to raise money for Welsh causes in London.
Originally from Milan, Carlo Rizzi, Penarth, is a world-renowned opera conductor. He was musical director of Welsh National Opera from 1992 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2008, and returns to work with the company regularly. He is best known for his intuitive work interpreting and conducting Verdi’s operas, and is recognised as one of the world’s leading conductors in this field. Carlo Rizzi is in great demand with his dynamic energy, natural understanding of music and ability to engage with the orchestra and audience in a completely enigmatic and emotional way. He has learned Welsh and has raised his family through the medium of the language.
Although Geraint Roberts, Carmarthen has made a pioneering contribution to Welsh-medium education, he is honoured for his contribution to Welsh literature and culture. He is a great ambassador for Cerdd Dafod (poetry in traditional Welsh metres) both locally and nationally. He is the founder of Ysgol Farddol Caerfyrddin, and his enthusiasm and organising ability has ensured the survival of this vibrant school over a period of 30 years. He has also, for about ten years, organised the Ysgol Farddol Fach team, offering summer taster lessons in cynghanedd in the Carmarthen area. He is an avid supporter of eisteddfodau, both large and small across Wales, and has won numerous prizes and chairs.
Eilir Rowlands is from Sarnau and Cefnddwysarn, and has never moved from his local area. He farmed for many years before turning his hand to landscape gardening and design. He is an integral part of the local community, a cornerstone of Welsh culture in his area, and has given the ‘Pethe’ years of service. His contribution, both locally and more widely, is huge; no one is more willing to offer his service than Eilir. Nationally, he is a trustee of the D. Tecwyn Lloyd Memorial Fund, which was set up to promote Welsh language education and culture, which is a great support to organisations across Wales.
Originally from Aberdare, Delwyn Siôn, Cardiff, has composed iconic songs such as ‘Un Seren’ and ‘Niwl ar Fryniau Dyfed’, classics that are as popular now as ever. In addition to his contribution to our culture, he is honoured for his work with the Bobath charity, following the birth of his son. He was involved in establishing here in Wales a branch of that charity, which works to improve the quality of life for children with cerebral palsy and related neurological conditions. There is now a specialist therapy centre in Cardiff, and over the years Delwyn has fundraised extensively to support that centre. He is active locally and is the leads services at Bethlehem Chapel, Gwaelod-y-Garth.
Cledwyn Ashford, of Cefn-y-bedd, Wrexham, undoubtedly deserves his place in the Gorsedd on account of his contribution to Welsh football for over forty years. He has worked with some of football’s biggest stars, mentoring them from an early age and keeping a close eye on their development over the years. However, ‘Cled’ is best-known to us as a vital member of the team that runs the Maes (Eisteddfod field) during the week. Always willing to lend a hand, Cled is one of the Eisteddfod’s silent heroes, and is honoured for his outstanding contribution to the organisation over many years.
Anwen Butten, Lampeter is honoured for her contribution to the sport of bowls at local, national and international level, over a thirty-year period. Following an extremely successful career, competing at world level, Anwen now focuses on training, and has been selected as a member of the Team Wales Athletic Commission for the next Commonwealth Games. In addition to her sporting success, Anwen has a successful career as a specialist head and throat cancer nurse at Glangwili Hospital, working across the Hywel Dda Health Board area.
Jeff Davies, Abergavenny, has played an important part in local Welsh life for many years, and was instrumental in the success of the Eisteddfod held in Monmouthshire in 2016, in Blaenau Gwent in 2010 and in Newport in 2004. Following the Newport Eisteddfod of 1988, Jeff was a member of the group which campaigned for a Welsh-medium primary school in Abergavenny, and when the school opened its doors in 1994, Jeff was amongst its first governors. He has a keen interest in nature, and leads wildlife walks through the medium of Welsh. He is also expert on the local history of his area.
It would be no exaggeration to say that much of the Welsh activity in the Lampeter area would come to an end without the contribution of Mary Davies, Dre-fach, Llanybydder. She has worked tirelessly for many organisations – with perseverance and tenacity – for decades. Mary has been involved with the local community newspaper, Clonc, since its beginning and has played a key role in the success of local and national eisteddfodau in the area. Her contribution to local organisations, including the Young Farmers, the Urdd and Undodiad y Smotyn Du, has been huge, indeed exceptional, over the years.
Originally from Brynaman, Glan Davies, Rhydyfelin, Aberystwyth, is well-known to generations of us as an actor and comedian. A charismatic presenter of nosweithiau llawen across Wales, he played the part of Clem Watkins in Pobol y Cwm from 1988 to 1997. He was chosen to lead the Aberystwyth St David’s Day Parade in 2017, due to his contribution to the cultural life of that area. He is well-known for his charitable work, raising money for Children in Need, health charities, and Aberystwyth Rugby and Football Clubs. He is also an integral part of the charity Hearts Wales, which has successfully secured over 70 public defibrillators in Ceredigion and more than 1,300 across Wales.
Cyril Evans, Tregaron, is honoured for his valuable contribution to Welsh language and culture over many years. He worked at the National Library of Wales for nearly thirty years, contributing extensively to the life and work of that institution. In addition, Cyril has contributed much to the life and culture of his own square mile. He has been honoured by the Welsh Eisteddfod Association for his commitment to Eisteddfod Gadeiriol Tregaron, as secretary and chair of the committee. He is a key part of his community’s life, and one of the custodians of Ysgoldy Llanio, his family’s old home, holding services and meetings there regularly.
Anne Gwynne’s contribution to the Tregaron area dates back more than half a century. Societies and organisations that have benefited from her work include the Bronnant branch of Merched y Wawr, where she collected material for a publication celebrating the branch’s 50th anniversary, and the Tregaron Historical Society. She also runs a class for Welsh learners in Tregaron, and her pupils report she is an excellent teacher. However, her greatest contribution is to the Edward Llwyd Society. She has led many of their walks from the start, and since 2004 has been recording the monthly walks in detail, together with numerous photographs, creating an invaluable archive for the Society.
Ronan Hirrien was brought up in a small village near Brest, Brittany. He could not speak Breton as a child, but at the age of seventeen he learned the language in evening classes and at university, before turning to learning Welsh. Ronan is a director and television producer, creating high-quality documentaries which offer depth, substance and a different ‘take’ on people, places and important subjects in Breton culture. He produced the documentary film Aneirin Karadog: Barzh e Douar on Varzhed, which shows the strength of Welsh culture through the lens of poetry, the Eisteddfod and the Gorsedd. Honouring Ronan is a powerful symbol of how taking ownership of the Welsh language can lead to assimilation into the family of our language and culture.
As secretary of Cwmni Nod Glas, and with the team’s support, Arfon Hughes, Dinas Mawddwy, has secured numerous grants for the area in order to buy the Old Shop in the village centre, turning it into a successful craft café and flats for local people. They also managed to secure Government funding to upgrade the Mawddwy footpaths, ensuring accessible access for all, among many other projects. He founded the Mari Lwyd evening in the area twenty years ago, and has organised the local Plygain for over a decade. He is one of the founders of the Dolgellau community newspaper, Llygad y Dydd. This is a man who is at the very heart of his community and deserves to be honoured by the Gorsedd.
Dr Ruth Hussey, Liverpool, retired as Chief Medical Officer for Wales in 2016. During her time in that post, she was responsible for dealing with the largest measles epidemic in south Wales since the vaccination programme began. Although now ‘retired’, her experience is in demand across numerous organisations and committees involved in health strategies in Wales and England, and she has been honoured by a number of prestigious universities for her work. Originally from Llanrwst, Ruth Hussey’s contribution to the NHS stems from her desire to work for improving the health of whole communities, rather than just individuals.
Llŷr James, Carmarthen, works quietly and unobtrusively to help others, and this is typical of the chartered accountant who has run his own business since the 1980s. From the outset, his company provided a fully Welsh language service. Over the years, he has led the way, putting pressure on others to provide and acknowledge forms and documents in Welsh, enabling businesses and organisations to conduct their own activities through the medium of the language. He has generously supported and sponsored a number of Welsh-language events and organisations, and is currently Treasurer of Ysgol Farddol Caerfyrddin – and he can also write in cynghanedd.
John Milwyn Jarman
Judge John Milwyn Jarman, Penarth, is honoured for his contribution to the field of law. Originally from the Newtown area, he served as a barrister from 1980 until 2007. He became circuit treasurer and head of the well-known chambers, 9 Park Place, Cardiff. He was appointed Crown Court Recorder in 2000 and Queen’s Counsel in 2001. He has been a judge since 2007, and is recognised as one of Wales’ leading judges. He has learned Welsh fluently, and conducts cases in Welsh, strengthening the use of the language in our courts and bringing justice closer to the people of Wales.
Siôn Jobbins, Aberystwyth’s contribution to Wales in recent years has been enormous. He was born in Zambia, but the family moved to Cardiff when he was a baby. Since his student days in Aberystwyth, Siôn has campaigned passionately for the Welsh language and independence for Wales. He founded Ras yr Iaith in 2014, a campaign that takes the language through the communities of Wales every two years, raising money along the way. He is also the founder of the Aberystwyth St David’s Day Parade. He is chair of Yes Cymru and co-ordinator of the successful marches for independence, and was one of the leaders of a bid to secure the web domain dotCYMRU (.cymru). A prolific writer and editor, he is honoured for his leading contribution to the future of Wales.
Janet Mair Jones
Janet Mair Jones, Pencader, has given a lifetime of service, both locally and nationally, and her door is always open if help is needed, be it with cakes, reading with school-children or making sure that the community hall is tidy after use. She is the co-ordinator of ‘County Cars’, a local service for elderly people who are unable to use a bus or drive a car. She is a key member of the National Eisteddfod’s team of supervisors, and she and her husband, Eric, have served the Eisteddfod for many years, with Janet overseeing the Gorsedd entrance to the Pavilion. It will be good to see her in procession with the other Gorsedd members at the Ceredigion Eisteddfod.
Dr Esyllt Llwyd, Llanrug, Caernarfon, is a GP who leads two local GP surgeries with approximately 6,000 patients. She also advises local students considering studying medicine, mentoring them carefully, and offering them work-experience opportunities in the practice. She serves on the Marie Curie Wales Board, and supported the campaign to establish a School of Medicine in Bangor. She is vice-chair of Ysgol Brynrefail’s board of governors, and forges valuable links between the school and the community by arranging for sixth form pupils to visit lonely patients and those with severe conditions in their homes.
Ann Bowen Morgan
Originally from Rhyl, Ann Bowen Morgan has lived in Lampeter, for almost a decade, and is an integral part of town life. She plays a leading role in all kinds of social and cultural activities, promoting the Welsh language in all its aspects. She is a Welsh for Adults tutor at Aberystwyth University, and has worked tirelessly to ensure that learners become part of their local community. She was instrumental in establishing the town’s St David’s Day Parade, and is committed to projects such as the Refugee Welcome Committee which lends support to local Syrian families.
Begotxu Olaizola, from Zarautz, in the Basque Country, is undoubtedly the best-known Basque in Wales, and over a period of thirty years has contributed greatly to fostering and promoting the relationship between Wales and the Basque Country, for the benefit of our language and culture. She has achieved this as a commentator and interpreter, organising tours for individuals and delegations, and as a guide and translator. She is also a dedicated and effective campaigner for the rights of linguistic minorities everywhere. She has become known across Wales over recent years by contributing to Welsh-language programmes, commenting on events in the Basque Country and Spain in general.
Glyn Powell, Sennybridge, is a scholar, writer, teacher, farmer, leader and recorder of his people’s history. He spent his career in education, and campaigned for Welsh-medium education in an area where the number of Welsh speakers was low, successfully gaining the support of the community as a whole and regaining respect for the language. He contributed extensively to agriculture, leading the campaign for Epynt during the challenging times of foot and mouth disease, and when the Senni Valley was under threat of drowning. His contribution, both locally and nationally, has been substantial for many years, and we are delighted to honour him this year.
Carys Stevens, Aberaeron. has made an enormous contribution to end-of-life care in west and mid Wales. She believes that everyone has the right to live and die with dignity. She contacted all local medical practices, ensuring that a team of staff, both volunteers and paid staff, were on hand to support patients and their families. She also set up a Hospice at Home service to address the challenges of providing end of life palliative care for residents in local rural communities. Carys places emphasis on teaching about dying and living, encouraging people to talk openly and fostering a realistic and humanitarian attitude towards end of life.
John Thomas, Lord Thomas of Cwmgïedd in the Swansea Valley, is honoured for his contribution to the Welsh language through the justice system. He was a High Court Judge and Presiding Judge of the Welsh Circuit prior to his promotion to the Court of Appeal, and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. He ruled in a number of cases concerning the constitution of Wales, emphasising the importance of the Senedd as the democratic voice of the people of Wales. Through his work as Chair of the Commission for Justice in Wales, he has made far-reaching recommendations for the benefit of the people of Wales, including devolving responsibility for justice to the Senedd, and firm recommendations regarding the Welsh language in the field of law and the administration of justice.
A former Acting Chief Constable of North Wales Police, Clive Wolfendale, Llandrillo-yn-Rhos, is chief executive of CAIS, the Drug and Alcohol Agency in Wales. He learned Welsh while with the police, and has continued to learn and use the language, supporting and promoting the importance of Welsh-language services for people suffering from addiction, mental illness and the after-effects of trauma. He is a key member of many organisations in this field across Wales, and is the treasurer of Nant Gwrtheyrn, having personally experienced the value of the Centre while learning Welsh. He has an interest in music and is a former conductor of Llandudno Town Band and conductor of Llandudno Swing Band