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Hedd Wyn Ceremony and Eisteddfod

Hedd Wyn Ceremony  and Eisteddfod

 

Wirral Hospitals’ School recently had the pleasure and privilege of hosting an all-day event in partnership with the Birkenhead Welsh Society, Friends of Birkenhead Park and many other esteemed organisations.

 

In Welsh culture an Eisteddfod is a festival of poetry, music and performance dating back to the 12th Century. The winner of the poetry competition is presented with a specially made chair.

 

Eisteddfod celebrations had been held in Liverpool and Birkenhead during the 50 years before 1917 for the large Welsh population in the area.

In September 1917 the National Eisteddfod of Wales was held in Birkenhead Park and the winner of that year’s poetry competition was Ellis Humphrey Evans (Hedd Wyn), who was born on 13 January 1887 in Meirionydd, Wales. He was a shepherd and a pacifist and only went to war when conscription was introduced and his family had to send one of their sons. He wrote the winning entry, Yr Awr, (The Hero) for the Birkenhead Park Eisteddfod in 1917 while away at the front in the First World War. When his name was announced no-one stepped forward. He had been killed in the Battle of Ypres a few weeks earlier.

The chair, designed by Eugeen Vanfleteren, a Belgian refugee who lived in Borough Rd, which would have been given to Hedd Wyn, was draped in black and returned to his home.

 

Professor D Ben Rees led a team of volunteers and organised a day of lectures, one of whom was esteemed BBC newsreader Huw Edwards.

A young person’s poetry competition was also held, with winners from Wales and England. We are proud to announce that Brodie Powell (a Wirral Hospitals’ School student) was awarded first prize of a silver crown worth over £350 by the Archdruid. Second prize was won by another local student from Portland Primary with third prize going to another of our students, Jake Young.

 

After the unveiling of the Hedd Wyn Stone in Birkenhead Park and the Eisteddfod presentations, the day ended with musical performances by the Cor Leuenctid Mon youth choir from Anglesey and the North Wales Rugby Choir featuring tenor soloist Huw Ynyr and harpist Dylan Cernyw. A wonderful day was had by all. The school feels honoured to have been part of this unique event. Below are some quotes and images from the day.

 

“Please convey my sincere thanks to Mr Arrowsmith and all his colleagues for the fantastic welcome on Saturday. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. Until next time. Best wishes. Huw”

 

Huw Edwards, BBC News

 

Dear Phill and Sarah

We just want to express our appreciation and admiration for your hard work on Saturday.  It was a huge occasion to manage - a unique event involving such variety of contributions from unusual individuals and groups - it would have daunted most people.  Your organisation was superb, as was your warm, friendly welcome and your ability to deal with everything that was thrown at you! We were so glad simply to be visitors who could sit back, enjoy the 'show' and watch in awe as you handled everything with patience, good humour and skill.

Please pass on our thanks to all your staff who gave up their Saturday to accommodate and look after everyone.  We were very well treated.

 

Anne Spooner and Brian Gregory from Welsh Club Preston.

 

 

I write to you following the Festival of the Black Chair that was hosted at the school on Saturday. My daughters and I were present from the very beginning to the end. I would like to say how wonderful it was to see the cooperation between the school and the committee hosting the festival. This was highlighted by the very efficient presence of your headmaster Mr Phillip Arrowsmith and Deputy Headteacher Ms Sarah Marrion. These two were exceptionally accommodating and willing to help proceedings in every way and their time keeping was brilliant! They sorted everything out with no fuss. I was also very impressed to see the sense of community within the school after seeing various members of staff also contributing to the success of the day. The headmaster's words saying that when others asked 'why?' that you as a school would ask 'why not? made an impression on me, and made me feel that there is a great sense of team spirit at the school.
Could you please pass this e-mail on to the headmaster and Ms Marrion as a token of our appreciation of their very hard work on Saturday, which no doubt made ensured everyone's enjoyment of the festival.

 

Delyth Medi Jones

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