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New revelations about the fate of Owain Glyndŵr

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​'​In The Last Days of Owain Glyndŵr​'​: By ​Gruffydd Aled Williams

OWAIN GLYNDŴR, 600 years since his death,​ is still one of the most important and fascinating figures in Welsh history. His fate during his last years is unknown, and where he was buried is an enduring mystery.​

​’​In The Last Days of Owain Glyndŵr​’​, which is published this week by Y Lolfa, ​​Gruffydd Aled Williams, a leading authority on the subject, here rigorously assesses the evidence in oral tradition, manuscripts and printed sources, as well as on the ground, sorting fact from fiction.

He also investigates Glyndŵr family history and, based on new research, brings to light new information available in English for the first time on Wales’ most enduringly inspiring national hero, who led the war of independence in the early fifteenth century.

A descendant of the Princes of Powys through his father and of the Princes of Deheubarth through his mother, Glyndŵr was proclaimed Prince of Wales in 1400, the last native-born leader to boast this title. In the first years of the century, he led a successful campaign against the English rule of Wales under Henry IV, capturing strategically-important castles and winning key battles against the English army.

However, by 1409 the castles had been retaken and the last documented sighting of Glyndŵr seems to have been in 1412. What happened to him after that and the locations of his death and subsequent burial remain shrouded in uncertainty.

​”​There are certain mysteries that can never be finally solved. One such mystery is that of the last days of Owain Glyndwr,​”​ sa​id Gruffydd Aled.

​”​This volume, therefore, has not been written with the intention of finally revealing where Owain died or where he was buried. Its aim is rather to survey the various traditions that have been recorded about Owain’s last days in detail and to evaluate them as far as is possible in the light of known historical facts and the broader historical context,​”​ he added.

The author’s original Welsh language book, Dyddiau Olaf Owain Glyndŵr (2015) ​-​ the first extended and comprehensive analysis of the subject – was hailed as ‘outstanding’ and won the 2016 Wales Book of the Year ‘Creative non-fiction’ award.

​’​The Last Days of Owain Glyndŵr​’​ also discusses one or two new locations and traditions which have come to light since the publication of the 2015 volume, and which are significant from the point of view of tracing Owain’s last days.

The volume also includes colour photos by acclaimed photographer Iestyn Hughes.

​”​It was my intention to fill a gap in Welsh historiography and to do that in as readable a manner as possible,​”​ added Gruffydd Aled.

Gruffydd Aled Williams grew up in Glyndyfrdwy, the district which gave Owain Glyndŵr his name. Before retiring, he lectured in Welsh at University College, Dublin and the University of Wales, Bangor, and was Professor of Welsh and Head of the Department of Welsh at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He delivered the 2010 British Academy Sir John Rhŷs Memorial Lecture on medieval poetry associated with Owain Glyndŵr, and contributed chapters to Owain Glyndŵr: A Casebook (2013). He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, President of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society, and a member of Gorsedd y Beirdd (Gorsedd of the Bards).

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Ceredigion man runs Cardiff half marathon as thank you to Wales Air Ambulance

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A CEREDIGION man has raised just under £2,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance as a thank you after its crews flew to the aid of him and his brother-in-law following an accident in 2014.

Jason Jarrams from Llwyncelyn was involved in a road traffic collision outside Llanarth, which resulted in him and his brother-in-law Jordan Wilson, being cut out of the wreckage.

Two air ambulances were sent to the scene and both patients were treated by the Wales Air Ambulance medics. Jordan was airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff due to his head injuries and Jason went to hospital via a road ambulance. It is believed that Jordan was the first Wales Air Ambulance patient to receive a general anaesthetic at the roadside.

As a thank you – Jason, 34, set himself the huge challenge of running the Cardiff Half Marathon for the lifesaving Charity, whilst also trying to lose weight.

Jason, who now lives in Llangeler said: “I’ve run the Cardiff half for the air ambulance because unfortunately their services were required when we had two of their amazing choppers loaded with the best crews there are at our road traffic collision. My brother-in-law required extensive medical care at the roadside with slipped discs in his back, broken ribs, broken eye socket and with loads of cuts and bruises. I suffered with a broken fibula and tibia which required surgery to correct and two broken ribs on the sternum.”

Jason spent 11 days in hospital and Jordan was discharged after four days, Jason said: “Jordan was flown to the University Hospital of Wales due to his head injuries, it took less than half an hour to get there by air ambulance which to me is hard to get my head around.

“This service in Wales is absolutely critical to access remote areas and the speed in which the patient can get to the required specialist hospital is critical. Every second counts and I’m glad to say we can count on Wales Air Ambulance.” 

After the accident Jason lost an incredible six stone and then set his eyes on completing the virtual Cardiff half marathon, which he did in 2 hours and 25 minutes.

He added: “I had two friends run it with me and I set a very respectable time and found it fairly easy. The other two who took part with me are not much short of athletes with one just retired from rugby and the other training to swim the Chanel this year for charity, I kept up well and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Jason is grateful to everyone who contributed to his fundraiser or supported him with his training or during the virtual Cardiff half Marathon and the recent Cardiff half marathon. He ran the last race by himself.

The utilities operator said: “The support I’ve had from everyone has been nothing shy of incredible, my amazing other half has been with me all the way fully supporting what I’m doing and listening to me rant about my bad runs. My family have been totally amazing with my mum, sister and my other half all coming to Cardiff for the event to watch me start and finish, they all said it was very emotional to see me finally complete the event that had been on my lips for over a year.” 

The Wales Air Ambulance celebrated its 21st anniversary on St David’s Day 2022. Now operational 24/7, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its emergency helicopters flying and its RRV’s on the road.

Jason’s employer Volac facilitated £1,000 from a charity fund set up by the company’s founder he added: “I was totally taken aback by it and respect the company I work for doing this.”

Katie Macro, Campaigns Manager for Wales Air Ambulance, said: “It is always heartwarming when we hear stories of former patients who go on to fundraise for the Charity after they’ve experienced how essential our service is. A huge thank you to Jason for completing the Cardiff Half Marathon in aid of our lifesaving Charity and to everyone, especially his employers, who have supported him in his fundraising and weight loss journey. Donations like this one will help us to continue to be there for the people of Wales when they need us most, whether that is by air or via our rapid response vehicles. Your support is much appreciated.”

Wales Air Ambulance offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying ED’.

The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia, and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care.

There’s still time to show your support to Jason by donating to his Just Giving page Jason Jarrams www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jason-jarrams

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Ben Lake MP joins Mencap in celebrating Learning Disability Week

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CEREDIGION MP, Ben Lake is backing ‘Listen To Us’ – an ambitious new mental health campaign by the learning disability charity Mencap.

New research by the charity reveals that people with a learning disability in the UK are facing a mental health crisis in the wake of the pandemic, with 88% of families and carers surveyed saying their loved one was always or very often felt sad, and 82% felt lonely due to rarely being able to leave their homes.

At a parliamentary reception held yesterday in Westminster, MPs heard how people with a learning disability were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and how they continue to face barriers in reconnecting with their communities.

Attendees also discussed Mencap’s new report exploring isolation and loneliness, which was funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). People with a learning disability who were interviewed for the report described their lives as a “prison,” with limited social contact during the pandemic causing them to feel suicidal.

Speaking at the event, Brendan Chivasa, 28, a Mencap campaigner who has cerebral palsy and a learning disability, shared how he became depressed during the pandemic and is still dealing with the repercussions:

“Mencap’s report shows lots of stories like mine. The pandemic has had a huge impact on people with a learning disability because there was not enough support for us. We need the government to make sure people with a learning disability can get the support they need, like respite care and day services. Lots of day services which provide activities locally and social opportunities for people with a learning disability have still not opened fully. But we need them open so they can help people to overcome loneliness and promote positive mental health.”

Mencap’s reception was attended by MPs and peers from across all political parties alongside campaigners with a learning disability, and their supporters, from across country.

The event also comes ahead of Learning Disability Week 2022 (20-26th June), Mencap’s annual campaign to make sure the world understands what life is like for people with a learning disability.

After attending the reception Ben Lake MP said:

“Meeting and hearing stories from people with a learning disability and their families about their experiences during the pandemic shows the reality behind the shocking statistics we’ve seen around the impact of loneliness and isolation.

“I’m supporting Mencap’s ‘Listen To Us’ campaign to ensure we can combat loneliness through preventative measures such as community services and activities, alongside better support aimed at treating and managing poor mental health for people with a learning disability.

“I look forward to working with Mencap to reduce poor mental health and to enable people with a learning disability to access the urgent support they need and deserve.”

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RNLI releases vital beach safety advice in the South Wales as temperatures set to rise

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WITH temperatures forecast to hit mid-20s in some parts of the South Wales, the RNLI charity is offering lifesaving advice to anyone heading to the area’s coastline. 

With the Met Office prediction of a warm weekend, the charity’s advice to those visiting the coast is to choose lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. We encourage you to visit our website to find details of their nearest lifeguarded beaches. 

Figures released show that RNLI lifeguards in Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Swansea, Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend and Denbighshire aided 888 children and 715 teenagers in 2020 

The RNLI, with the support of HM Coastguard, is urging everyone to remember to Float to Live if they get into trouble in the water. To do this: lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the Coastguard. 

RNLI Water Safety Lead Chris Cousens said: “Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble. 

“Children should be supervised at all times and people of all ages should avoid swimming alone. 

“We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.”

For further information on the water safety campaign visit: RNLI.org/FloatWales2022

Interviews with an RNLI spokesperson are available.

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