Author, former headteacher, lecturer and occasional town-tour guide, Gerald Morgan, has been chosen to lead Aberystwyth’s 2015 Parêd Gŵyl Dewi (St David’s Day Parade).
The honour of ‘Tywysydd’ (guide) is given every year at the Parêd to a local Aberystwyth person or persons for their commitment and dedication to Wales and the Welsh language and life.
Gerald will follow in the footsteps of Megan and Gwilym Tudur (founders and proprietors of Siop y Pethe) and Dr Meredydd Evans of Cwmystwyth. As the ‘Tywysydd’ Gerald will wear a specially commissioned Parêd sash by Caroline Goodband of Borth, which includes the names of previous Tywyswyr. He will also be awarded a specially commissioned walking stick by Capel Dewi resident, Hywel Evans.
Gerald was born in Brighton in 1935 to Welsh parents. He graduated in English from Cambridge and Celtic Studies from Oxford but has lived in Wales since 1962. After many years in the Ystwyth valley, he and his wife the Rev. Canon Enid Morgan live in Aberystwyth; they have three sons and six grandsons. After teaching English in Mold and Cardigan, he became headteacher of Llangefni Comprehensive School on Anglesey and then the first headteacher of Ysgol Gyfun Penweddig in 1973.
Gerald has been a prolific author in both Welsh and English for nearly fifty years. His books include: Yr Afal Aur (1965), The Dragon’s Tongue: The Fortunes of the Welsh Language (1966), This World of Wales (editor; 1968), Crist yn y Gwlag (1986), Castles in Wales: A Guidebook (2008), A Brief History of Wales (2008), Looking for Wales (2013) and Dinefwr: a Phoenix in the Welsh Landscape (2014).
He’s also written extensively about Ceredigion in both languages: Cyfoeth y Cardi (1995), Helyntion Y Cardi – Ysgrifau Ar Hanes Ceredigion (1997), A Welsh House and its Family: the Vaughans of Trawscoed (1997), Nanteos: A Welsh House and its Families (editor; 2001), Ceredigion: A Wealth of History (2005), Llwybr Arfordir Ceredigion – O’r Teifi i’r Dyfi / Ceredigion Coast Path – From the Teifi to the Dyfi (2008).
From “Nil Welsh” to Fluency
Gerald’s upbringing in England, his extended family in Wales, his wide knowledge of the country and his experience in learning Welsh from nil to fluency have all given him some understanding of the need to help people of all backgrounds to learn Welsh.
“The strength and diversity of Welsh language culture in Aberystwyth is down to people like Gerald Morgan,” said Siôn Jobbins, Chair of Parêd Gŵyl Dewi. “Gerald could easily have been ‘lost’ to Wales but he knew as a boy that he was Welsh, and he decided as a young man that Wales and the Welsh language had much to offer to him and that he certainly had something to offer to Wales and her language too.
Founding Ysgol Penweddig – Overcoming Concerns about Welsh Medium Education
“His dedication and vision at the time of the founding of Penweddig was also very important. There was some opposition and concern at the time as to whether Welsh medium secondary education would be detrimental to the pupils. Gerald was one of the pioneers in Ceredigion who helped show that all subjects could be taught to pupils of all backgrounds and abilities in Welsh – whatever their home language. We’re very glad he’s agreed to be this year’s Tywysydd,” added Siôn
Gerald Morgan says: “I was startled but thrilled to be given this honour. It’s a privilege to follow in the steps of Merêd and of Gwilym and Megan, who have given so much to Wales and our language.”
The 2015’s Parade will be held on Saturday 28 February, and, as in previous years, will start at the town Clock and then proceed along Great Darkgate St and Baker Street before finishing at Llys y Brenin. The Parade will be a musical and colourful event and individuals and local groups are invited to join the parade and show their support for the Welsh language, St David and Welsh culture.