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‘Friendship bench’ decorated by Welsh learners to welcome National Eisteddfod visitors

A ‘friendship bench’ decorated by Welsh learners to celebrate the upcoming National Eisteddfod has been given pride of place in Criccieth.

The bench was created to commemorate the 1975 Bro Dwyfor Eisteddfod and this year’s Llŷn ac Eifionydd National Eisteddfod.

Students at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor painted the bench, which features among its decorations the winning 'cywydd' (poem) from the 1975 Eisteddfod: 'Eifionydd' by Evan Griffith Hughes.

The learners also adorned the bench with Eisteddfod symbols such as bardic crowns, the chair, painted figures of the 'Gorsedd y Beirdd' and also the 'Awen', symbolising the inspirational muse of creative artists.

All this was under the direction of Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor art lecturer Ffion Gwyn, who has been integral in the recent success of Criccieth Creadigol, a community art project in the town.

The bench has now been placed outside Criccieth library and community centre at Encil y Coed, where it will welcome visitors en route to the Eisteddfod Maes in Boduan, just outside Pwllheli.

The Welsh learners involved in decorating the bench are all from the Dwyfor area and are following the Entry Level 2 Welsh Learners course, run by Learn Welsh North West, which is taught at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor’s Pwllheli campus. They were given a presentation on ceremonies and traditions associated with the Eisteddfod before taking to the bench with their brushes.

One student, Laura Cowley, said: "I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the creative project with Ffion. It was an interactive way to listen to some Welsh language.

“It was also interesting to learn about some local Welsh history connected to the Eisteddfod. Lastly it felt very nice to be included in the Welsh culture by taking part in creating a new piece for the local eisteddfod. Diolch yn fawr.”

Another student, Vikki Harvard, said: “Thanks, Art Department. We had a great time painting the bench!”

Adrian Edwards said: "I enjoyed taking part in the project with Ffion, and learning about the National Eisteddfod."

Robin Asby added: "I felt it was really nice that our group was able to contribute to the Eisteddfod.”

And Penny Marrington said: "As a Welsh learner (and an English woman) I was very happy to be able to take part in the preparations for the Eisteddfod.”

The 1975 Bro Dwyfor Eisteddfod was the last time the National Eisteddfod was held in the area, when the winning cywydd was 'Eifionydd' by Evan Griffith Hughes, of Rhoshirwaun, Pwllheli.

The Crown at the 1975 Eisteddfod was won by Elwyn Roberts, while the winner of the Chair was Gerallt Lloyd Owen.

Grŵp Llandrillo Menai will be hosting a full programme of events on the Maes for this year’s event, which takes place from Saturday, August 5 to Saturday, August 12.

For more information on courses at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, click here.