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Tributes to renowned poet and priest

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Respected poet and priest: Canon ap Gwilym

THE ARCHBISHOP of Wales has paid tribute to renowned Welsh poet and priest, Canon Gwynn ap Gwilym, who died on Sunday after suffering from cancer. 

As well as a respected clergyman, Canon ap Gwilym was a Welsh language poet, writer, editor and translator. Originally from Machynlleth, he served in the Church in Wales in the dioceses of Bangor and Llandaff before taking on the roles of Bishops’ Advisor for Church Affairs and Language Officer. He translated all the Church’s liturgy over the past decade into Welsh and also wrote an acclaimed translation of the metrical psalms.

The Archbishop, Barry Morgan, described him as a ‘scholar priest’ and said the Church had lost a ‘brilliant language officer and translator’.

He said: “Gwynn ap Gwilym was in the old Welsh tradition of being a scholar priest ‘un o’r hen offeiriaid llengar’. He was a Chaired Bard of the National Eisteddfod, and was about to publish a scholarly book on one of his predecessors at Mallwyd – John Davies, who had helped translate the New Testament into Welsh. He also produced a metrical version of the psalms in Welsh – translated from the original Hebrew – Salmau Cân Newydd. He succeeded in his aims of making these psalms accessible and singable without deviating from their original meaning. That was only possible because of his Hebrew scholarship, his ability as a poet and his deep knowledge of the Welsh language. Welsh congregations were able, often for the first time, to sing and understand the meaning of the psalms since they were translated in such a way that they could be set to familiar Welsh tunes.

“He was a brilliant Language Officer and translator for the Church in Wales. He translated most of the Church in Wales’ liturgical material, again using his gifts as poet and linguist. In later years, he brought the same thoroughness and energy to ecumenical relationships when he took on the task of being the officer responsible for the Church in Wales’ relationship with churches across the world. His attention to detail, his meticulous observations and his ability to communicate will be gifts that will be sorely missed, as will his thought provoking sermons, which always used the scriptures to illuminate contemporary issues.

“Our hearts go out to his widow Mari and the family.”

Canon ap Gwilym, 66, began his ministry in Bangor Diocese after graduating from the University of Wales, Bangor, and training for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He was Rector for 16 years of Penegoes and then Mallwyd, serving churches in the Upper Dyfi Valley area . In 2002, he moved to Llandaff Diocese, serving in Penyfai and then Eglwys Dewi Sant – a Welsh language church in the heart of Cardiff – until 2007 when he was appointed Bishops’ Advisor and Language Officer.

In 1983, he won the Welsh Arts Council prize for his volume of poetry, ‘Grassholm’, and 30 years ago, in 1986, he was Poet Chair at the National Eisteddfod in Fishguard for his ode, ‘Y Cwmwl’.

He published three volumes of poetry -‘Y Winllan Werdd’, ‘Gwales’ and ‘Yr Ymyl Aur’ – and co-edited an anthology of 20th century Welsh poetry – ‘Flodeugerdd o Farddoniaeth Gymraeg yr Ugeinfed Ganrif’.

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Tra Bo Dau concert a sell-out success

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RHYS MEIRION and Aled Wyn Davies, two tenors with a shared sense of humour and mischief, matched only by their lifelong love of music performed to a sell out audience at Theatr Felinfach on Saturday (Jan 13).

Both tenors have solo careers in their own rights as well as being members of the Three Welsh Tenors and are well-known throughout Wales and the world. Their concert comprised of famous duets from the world of opera and musicals, famous Welsh songs and hymns, and contemporary compositions.

The audience enjoyed some of the classics by Ryan and Ronnie, Jac and Wil, Robat Arwyn, and many more, with the whole evening in the capable hands of Dilwyn Morgan and accompanist Menna Griffiths.

Part of the concert included items by pupils from Ysgolion Cynradd Aberaeron and Felinfach.

Take a look at Theatr Felinfach’s website to see the upcoming events for the Spring https://theatrfelinfach.cymru/.

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Four arrested as man remains in ‘critical condition’

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FOUR men have been arrested after a man was hospitalised in the early hours of Sunday morning (Jan 14).

19-year-old Ifan Richards Owen is in hospital in critical condition after the attack.

The incident took place in High Street, Aberystwyth, at approximately 2:20am.

Four men, aged 19, 20, 23 and 25 have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent.

They are in police custody.

Police are now appealing for witnesses to contact them as a matter of urgency.

DCI Anthony Evans, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “We are issuing a fresh appeal for witnesses to the assault on Ifan Richards Owens, aged 19, which occurred on High Street, Aberystwyth at around 2.20am on Sunday, January 14.

“In particular we would like to speak to anyone who gave first aid to Mr Owens before emergency services arrived.

“Mr Owens remains in hospital in a critical condition.

“We would urge anyone with any information that could assist in our investigation any witnesses to the incident or anyone who may have any CCTV or video footage of the incident to contact police on 101, quoting incident number 402 of January 14. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

“Four men, aged 25, 23, 20 and 19, have been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent and remain in police custody at this time.”

Ifan’s family said in a statement:  “Ifan is a kind and gentle person, and we have been overwhelmed with messages of support from family, friends, as well as Ifan’s school friends, teachers, university friends, and sports teams, who are all sending their best wishes for Ifan, who is desperately ill following this incident in Aberystwyth.

“Ifan’s only choice for university was Aberystwyth, he had no interest in any other university and absolutely loves the town. He plays football and rugby for the Geltaidd Football and Rugby Clubs and is enjoying his second year studying Criminology at Aberystwyth University.”

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‘Once in a lifetime’ reorganisation planned by Health Board

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THE LOCAL Health Board is embarking on a ‘once in a lifetime’ reorganisational plan which is looking at all potential options to ‘change the status quo and focus on improving health’ of locals.

This will involve, a press release has revealed, transferring more hospital services into the community where appropriate.

This is part of a strategy that the Health Board is looking into, to help solve an acute recruitment problem which is putting a great deal of pressure on the way that the Heath Board operates – and is leading to an untenable level of use of costly temporary staff to plug gaps and services.

In the summer of 2017, the Health Board embarked in an engagement with the public called ‘The Big Conversation’ which involved public workshops and drop-ins being held across the three counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The Health Board now says the it has independently analysed opinions of the general public and has been using that data to explore, challenge and test different scenarios.

It is yet to be seen what these changes will mean for end service users.

The Herald understands it is likely to mean hospital services being reduced or cut, and replaced with community alternatives.

The Health Board has said it will not make any changes, unless it can guarantee the safety of the people which it serves.

The Health Board has insisted that no preferred option for change has yet been determined, and nothing has been signed off or agreed at this stage.

Medical Director Dr Philip Kloer said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our health service and community to work together to design an NHS which is fit for our generation and beyond. It has been acknowledged for some time across the UK that healthcare services are challenged like never before and we need significant change. Indeed this has been recognised in the recently published ‘Parliamentary Review of Health & Social Care’ here in Wales.

“We need to develop more proactive, resilient and better resourced local community services to support and improve people’s health and wellbeing, and avoid deterioration where possible. This will involve closer working with our partners, particularly colleagues in social care. We are also looking at ways of providing the most modern clinical practice, using the latest digital, technological, and new scientific developments, in fit for purpose facilities to provide better patient outcomes and experience.

“A number of our services are fragile and dependent on significant numbers of temporary staff, which can lead to poorer quality care. For us specifically in Hywel Dda, the geography we cover is large, with many scattered communities that are getting older, needing more holistic health and social care treatment and support. Because of this, we need to better resource our community based care, which is where most of our patient contact is, and help people manage their health conditions. We also need to evolve traditional ways of working and provide a more proactive approach. This should give patients – young, older and frail and everyone in between – the services they need when the need it, so people do not have to wait too long.

“This will mean changing hospital-based care, as well as community care, and we appreciate the attachment local people and our own staff have for their local hospitals. They have been cared for in them, or work in them, and they also play an important role in our wider communities. The options may propose change to a local hospital; however this is about more than the buildings. This is about investing in our communities, attracting doctors, nurses and therapists by operating a modern healthcare system and keeping hospitals for those who really need hospital care.

“We will not put in place any change that isn’t safe for our patients and population. And we will look at all the impacts from ensuring services are safer with better patient outcomes, to considering the wider impact on people, including the most vulnerable.”

Dr Kloer added: “The potential options are evolving, with changes to them on almost a daily basis. Many will never even reach public consultation, for a variety of reasons including safety, accessibility and affordability, or will change significantly as they are tested against population needs and healthcare standards.

“We will be coming back to the public in the spring with fewer options that have been more rigorously tested and we will open and honest about what we think our preferred option is and why. We would not, and cannot, propose something that would not be safe for our population.

“We live in this community, use our NHS and work for our NHS and we want to work with our patients, staff, partners and public to ensure it is the best it can be.”

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