The Nant is celebrating 40 years since establishing Ymddiriedolaeth Nant Gwrtheyrn (Trust) this year. The great dream of transforming an old quarrying village into a progressive language centre is now a fact. The Nant has welcomed over 30,000 Welsh learners since 1982 and now employs 37 local staff. The original vision of creating a ‘Peiriant Cymreigio (Welsh machine) and provide local employment’ has certainly come to fruition.
To mark this important milestone, ‘Gŵyl y Nant – Dathlu 40’ was held during September. On Tuesday, September 18th, two trail races were held. Ras Rhys a Meinir for the adults and Ras Elis Bach for the children. The children’s route went up to the forest and around the village while the adults ran up the bike track to the top of the valley, across the fields and back down along the coastal path – quite a challenge! Huge congratulations to everyone who took part!
There was a lively atmosphere in the village during the afternoon on the 22nd of September. An exhibition was launched in the chapel that depicted the changes that have happened since 1978. Professor Jason Walford Davies gave an excellent lecture on R. S. Thomas and his poem ‘Nant Gwrtheyrn’. Local children were kept busy creating a cake out of craft work with local artist, Gwenda Williams, to mark the special birthday. The cake looked fabulous and was presented to Carl Clowes and other trustees during a special reception during the afternoon.
The reception was an opportunity to reminisce about the past 40 years and to thank everyone who have contributed along the years. Carl Clowes, President and founder of Nant said that “Nant Gwrtheyrn has succeeded in achieving those original goals of creating local employment and ensuring a future for the language. Today, the area’s confidence and awareness of the value of the Welsh community has risen significantly. The national effort was worth it and I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to ensure the success we see today. Long live Nant Gwrtheyrn for the next 40 years!”
After thirteen years as chairman of Ymddiriedolaeth Nant Gwrtheyrn, Jeffrey Williams Jones retires and during the reception the chairmanship was transferred to Huw Jones. Jeff said he was “Looking forward to a new era led by Huw with all his successful experience of managing and chairing.” According to the new chairman of Ymddiriedolaeth Nant Gwrtheyrn, “The progress that has happened in the Nant during Jeff’s chairmanship has been astonishing, the foundations are now firm and there is a special role for the Nant in increasing the number of Welsh speakers. I look forward to working with the team as we continue to realize the spectacular vision that is at the heart of Nant Gwrtheyrn today.” Mair Saunders, Manager of Nant Gwrtheyrn, said she was “looking forward to developing and building on these solid foundations that have been established during Jeff’s period as chair of this special organization.”
The highlight of the celebration was the gig on Saturday night, of course! It was an amazing evening with great performances by Gethin and Glesni, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, Patrobas, Geraint Lovgreen a’r enw da, Alys Williams and Band Pres Llareggub! Thanks to everyone who came to join us during the celebrations and Byw Fyddi Nant Gwrtheyrn! (Nant Gwrtheyrn will live)