Welsh choir stripped of prize over verse

30th May 2003 at 01:00
A primary school choir in Wales was stripped of first prize at a youth festival this week, because pupils sang in an African language, rather than in Welsh.

Dewi Sant school, in Carmarthenshire, had won first prize at the Urdd Eisteddfod with a rendition of the South African anthem, one verse of which is in Xhosa.

But a day later the festival organisers told the school it had not won because it had broken the Eisteddfod's Welsh-only rule.

Meirion Davies, head of Dewi Sant, criticised the decision, saying the school had sent a copy of the piece it was planning to perform to the Urdd in advance.

He said: "We were not aware of the ruling regarding other languages. In hindsight we should have checked."

Sian Eirian, director of the Urdd Eisteddfod, said: "The Eisteddfod's Welsh rule states clearly that only Welsh can be used on the stage. My sympathies are with the children and their trainers."

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