Urdd keeps the language alive

16th June 2006 at 01:00
It was pleasing to read the article ("Heaven on Urdd despite the mud", TES Cymru, June 2) on the Urdd Eisteddfod. However, it was disappointing that you dealt with the impact of the week-long event in such a flippant and haphazard manner.

You failed to raise the awareness of your readers about the outstanding work the Urdd does for Welsh speakers and learners of all ages. The Urdd motivates children, young people and parents to actively participate in a wide range of activities.

It is, as was pointed out, a starting point for many children to gain the confidence and experience to raise their aspirations and achieve on a larger stage. Bryn Terfel, Tara Bethan, Ioan Griffith, Rhys Ifans, and Daniel Evans are just a few of the personalities who have developed through being members of the Urdd.

With increasing numbers of non-Welsh speaking parents sending their children to Welsh-medium schools, it is undoubtedly the extended curriculum and opportunities to participate in activities at Urdd residential settings in Bala and Llangrannog which add to the value of the movement.

I spoke with a number of parents regarding their views on the Eisteddfod and its influence on their children's development - something missed out on in your coverage.

One mother from Rhyl, who had moved to Wales from Manchester, said: "I am so proud to see my son singing in the choir. We don't speak Welsh at home but he is completely bilingual, and these experiences have really developed his self confidence."

A father from the Cardiff area, a former Welsh rugby union star, said: "I didn't get the opportunity to speak Welsh but I had a lump in my throat today when my daughter competed on the stage, it was like being back at the Arms Park."

These were the essential elements your article missed, the extra dimension that the Urdd gives to the children, young people and parents in Wales.

John T Morris Director, Erddig Training

Ffordd Ystrad, Coed-y-Glyn, Wrecsam

Editor's note: we reported on the Urdd Eisteddfod on May 26 and June 9, as well as June 2, highlighting some of the benefits of participation for children.

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