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Rowing challenge for Millenium Centre Anniversary

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Maggy Clarke: ‘Its going to be tough’

Maggy Clarke: ‘Its going to be tough’

AN INTREPID team of oarsmen (and women) will be rowing arund the west coast of Wales over the coming fortnight, as part of a programme of celebrations to mark the tenth anniversary of Wales’ Millenium Centre.

Among the rowers will be 71-year-old Maggy Clarke from Porthmadog. She will be aiming to complete the first five legs of the ‘Cob to Cardiff’ challenge – a 230 mile row in a Celtic longboat from Porthmadog to Cardiff Bay.

The sea journey will form part of an array of celebrations for the Millenium Centre’s Ar Waith Ar Daith event, planned by world-renowned outdoor arts specialists Walk the Plank.

The Porthmadog boat will stop over in Aberdyfi, New Quay, Fishguard, Whitesands Bay, Dale, Tenby, Mumbles, Porthcawl, and Barry before arriving into Cardiff Bay on 12 September, accompanied by a flotilla of Celtic longboats from sea rowing clubs along the Welsh coast.

Setting out on 2 September, Ms Clarke, along with a 20 strong rowing team from Madoc Yacht Club Rowing Porthmadog, will attempt the club’s most ambitious challenge to date. On board their Celtic longboat, they’ll also be carrying an engraved slate plaque – as a gift to Wales Millennium Centre – brought down from Llechwedd Quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog, by zip wire, mountain bike and finally the Ffestiniog railway, mirroring the journey taken by the piece of slate that formed the foundation stone for the Wales Millennium Centre, put in place by opera star Bryn Terfel. In Porthmadog the engraved plaque will be met by local MP Liz Saville Roberts, who will pass the plaque on to Maggy and the team in their Celtic longboat, ready to be rowed down to Cardiff.

Working in relays, the Porthmadog boat will be averaging around 20 – 30 miles of arduous rowing per day to complete the journey down the west coast of Wales to Cardiff Bay, facing the challenges of unfamiliar waters, unpredictable weather and high seas. As they progress on their journey, they will be joined by around 25 boats from sea rowing clubs along the Welsh coast, arriving into Cardiff Bay on 12 September to take part in Wales Millennium Centre’s breath-taking 10th Anniversary outdoor spectacular, the Ar Waith Ar Daith finale event.

Maggy Clarke said: “It’s going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s wonderful that the Celtic longboats get to play a part in the Ar Waith Ar Daith finale and it will be a beautiful sight to see so many of them rowing into Cardiff Bay together.”

Co-organiser of the Cob to Cardiff Challenge, Richard Aherne from Madoc Yaught Club rowing Porthmadog said: “We’ve crossed the Irish Sea in the Celtic Challenge, rowed a marathon up the Thames in London’s Great River Race, and we regularly race at clubs along the coast, but this will be a spectacular challenge of endurance and determination in potentially tough conditions, a marathon every day, and the club is looking forward to rising to this exciting challenge.”

“We were inspired by watching Celtic longboats racing off Aberdyfi, echoing the race to get a pilot out to sailing ships to help them navigate into port” said John Wassell, Producer for Walk the Plank and originally a boatbuilder himself. “Realising that many ports and harbours around the coast of Wales are connected by a network of rowing clubs, we contacted the Welsh Sea Rowing Association, and we were delighted when 15 clubs responded. The Porthmadog boat is making the longest voyage: 230 miles through some treacherous waters…a tough challenge in a rowing boat! “

The flotilla of Celtic longboats will form a striking part of the Ar Waith Ar Daith finale event, in Cardiff Bay on 12 September. Taking place on an immense scale, with over 700 participants from across Wales, this unforgettable event will celebrate Wales’ rich cultural heritage and history with a breathtaking display of procession, dance, aerial artistry, projection, storytelling, music and pyrotechnics.

“More than 150 rowers will accompany the Riches of the Sea procession into the Roald Dahl Plas, and at the end of the event, the boats will set off back across the Bay, a flame blazing in each boat, symbolising the return of the fires of creative inspiration which nourish the Wales Millennium Centre to their communities “ added Liz Pugh, Artistic Director.

Danielle Milliner from the Welsh Sea Rowing Association commented: “When John Wassell of Walk the Plank and Wales Millennium Centre first approached the Welsh Sea Rowing Association with the idea that they wanted our Celtic longboat rowers to form part of the Wales Millennium Centre 10th Anniversary celebration event we were delighted. I am really pleased that so many of our clubs will be taking part in this event and I’m sure I speak on behalf of all in the WSRA that we are proud of ‘MYC rowing Porthmadog’ for taking on such an arduous challenge of rowing all the way to Cardiff. We are all excited and looking forward to forming part of the grand finale procession of Ar Waith Ar Daith at Cardiff Bay. This sensational sea spectacle will surely be a memorable event for all our sea rowing community and we thank you for inviting us.

Towy rowing club will be involved in the finale of the event, which will be shown live on S4C. Rowing coach Nicola Thomas told The Herald that it would be a fantastic display:

“There are two boats going up from the club – our junior rowers, who won the Welsh Championships, and our lady rowers in another boat,” she said.

“We’re meeting just outside Cardiff, for three days of rehearsals. All the boats will be rowing into the festival, coming together in a choreographed display.”

The Ar Waith Ar Daith finale event will take place in Roald Dahl Plas on Saturday 12 September at 7.30pm. Audiences are advised to arrive early to secure a good vantage position to watch the show, and to dress appropriately for an outdoor show. The event is free to attend and suitable for all ages.

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Community

Wizardry night a success at Aberystwyth Library

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The fourth Harry Potter Book Night was held at Aberystwyth Library on Friday, 07 February.

After dark, it was a time for fans to celebrate the iconic series of books with events all around the World.

Ceredigion Library Service held the event at Aberystwyth Town Library, which was decorated with all things Harry Potter.

Emyr Lloyd and Delyth Huws, both Assistant Librarians organised the night. They were very pleased with the success and turnout. Emyr Lloyd said, “We enjoy putting on the Harry Potter Book night. The fourth one was no different with 86 children attending the free event and very positive feedback. We hope events such as these spark a joy of reading in the young and old.”

Three Owls from New Quay Birds of Prey came by and Luke the close-up magician entertained the audience. The children were also entertained with a reading from one of the books and also a crafts and activities area.

Follow the events of the Ceredigion Library Service on Facebook @llyfrgellceredigionlibrary. The next event will be a sale of stock on 22 February between 10am and 4pm at the Bandstand in Aberystwyth.

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Stage set for post-apocalyptic phenomenon

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On Monday, 2 March, Cwmni’r Frân Wen, in partnership with Galeri will bring the theatre adaptation of Manon Steffan Ros’ post-apocalyptic novel to Theatr Felinfach as part of its tour of Wales.

‘Llyfr Glas Nebo’ is a Welsh language literary phenomenon.

The novel has made an enormous impression since its publication in 2018. A week after winning the Prose Medal in the 2018 Cardiff National Eisteddfod, a reprint was being prepared. It swept the boards at last year’s Wales Book of the Year awards and has already been named as a set text for GCSE.

The novel follows the amazing story of Siôn, his mother Rowenna, and his younger sister, Dwynwen as they attempt to survive after a nuclear accident – a nightmare that had a devastating effect on the inhabitants of the village of Nebo and beyond.

Tara Bethan plays the mother, with Eben James playing her son, Sion. Tara said: “It’s a huge honour to play a part in adapting ‘Llyfr Glas Nebo’ for the stage – there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most exciting Welsh novels in recent years.”

As the dust settles after a nuclear apocalypse, Rowenna and her children Siôn and Dwynwen are facing a world where signs of life are quickly disappearing. Their story is recorded in a little blue book as the family tries to survive the devastating effects of the incident.

‘Llyfr Glas Nebo’ is an unflinching story about life, death and hope. You will laugh. You will cry. But above all, you will question how we live, love and care about the world around us. Frân Wen and Galeri are proud to bring Manon Steffan Ros’ beautifully harrowing novel to stage.

Tickets are selling fast. Contact the Box Office on 01570 470697 or go online to theatrfelinfach.cymru. Tickets are £12 for adults, £10 for OAPs and members and £8 for students, young people and children. Age Guidance is 12+.

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Community

Oldest St. David’s Procession in Wales?

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Gorymdaith Gŵyl Dewi Aberaeron (Aberaeron’s St David’s procession) was founded by the late Alun Williams, the former headteacher of Ysgol Gynradd Aberaeron in 1979 and is possibly the oldest procession of its kind in Wales which continues to this day.

The date of the 2020 Gorymdaith Gŵyl Dewi in Aberaeron is Monday 02 March with the procession due to start at 9.30 a.m. The 2020 procession will be a little different to that of previous years as Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron pupils will join Ysgol Gynradd Aberaeron pupils to walk around the town. The two schools will walk from their sites to Alban Square where both schools will join and walk together to Pwllcam where a short ceremony will bring the event to a close at 10 a.m.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn is Ceredigion County Council’s Leader. She said, “St David’s processions have become more and more commonplace in recent years. There are now processions held in towns and cities across Wales such as Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Lampeter and Cardigan. Just as in these other locations the aim of Gorymdaith Gŵyl Dewi Aberaeron is to draw as many local people together to celebrate the day of the Patron Saint of Wales, Welsh identity and the Welsh Language in a sea of song and colour in the town centre.”

40 years since the first procession, Ysgol Gynradd Aberaeron is still the organiser of the procession and this year they have been co-operating with Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron and Cered, the local language promotion initiative to develop the event. As part of this cooperation the Welsh Council at Ysgol Gynradd Aberaeron and Cered’s Welsh in Business Officer Siriol Teifi will distribute information to the town’s businesses in order to give them ideas on how to be a part of the event.

Anyone is welcome to join the procession – individuals or groups. If you would like to take part or if you would like further details, contact Cered on 01545 572 350 or cered@ceredigion.gov.uk.

As well as Aberaeron, remember the other four parades in the county to celebrate St. David’s Day.

· Tregaron, Friday 28 February, 2:00pm.

· Cardigan, Saturday 29 February, 10:30am.

· Lampeter, Saturday 29 February, 11:00am.

· Aberstwyth, Saturday 29 February, 1:00pm.

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