Chief Executive of the Urdd thanks the teachers of Wales

On the last day of the Urdd Eisteddfod Cardiff and the Vale 2019, Sian Lewis, Urdd Gobaith Cymru's Chief Executive, has thanked the teachers and tutors of Wales for ensuring that the competition standard and number of entries in this year's Eisteddfod is higher than ever. She described teachers as ‘the backbone’ of the organisation.

“Without teachers and tutors in Wales giving of their time, the Urdd would not be what it is today - a progressive, vibrant and prosperous organisation. Over the decades, teachers have ensured that generations of children and young people in Wales have benefited from the Eisteddfod and other opportunities offered by the Urdd throughout the year. Their support for the Urdd goes far beyond their duties and they are invaluable to the organisation.”

As the festival came to an end in beautiful sunshine in Cardiff Bay, the organisers announced that the festival had been a huge success and that it has attracted more than a 100, 000 visitors over the week.

“This year's Eisteddfod has been very successful,” said Sian Lewis. “The venue has been fantastic and a generation of children and young people have experienced the thrill of performing in one of the best theatres in the world, the Donald Gordon Theatre.

“But what is evident, yet again this year, is the effort and sheer hours of work given to preparing for the Eisteddfod by hundreds of teachers, tutors, parents and carers over a period of months. They truly are the backbone of the organisation. A competitor's journey involves learning, creating, practicing, registering, traveling and organising. A workforce of teachers and tutors has ensured the amazingly high standard of this particular Eisteddfod.

“I would also like to thank our sponsors and partners for their support and of course to all the staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to ensure a successful festival for all to enjoy. And now, on to Denbighshire!”

This year, 797 branches of the Urdd took part, 14,500 pieces of Art, Design and Technology work were received, with 70,000 names registered to compete from all parts of Wales and beyond in a wide range of competitions, from clothes designing to singing cerdd-dant, from make-up to disco dancing.

Access to the Maes in Cardiff Bay was free this year and this has proved to be a positive experiment with a 100,000 visiting the festival over the six days. A new development which proved to be very popular was extending the entertainment on the Maes itself, with bands such as Chroma, Gwilym, Candelas and Fleur de Lis playing on two stages on the Maes.

The Urdd's social media was busy throughout the week, with original content being created for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the first time - between Sunday and Friday the #Urdd2019 hashtag had reached over 5.5 million users.

A number of announcements were made by the Urdd over the week, many of which have an international flavour. The Urdd's apprentices have been given the opportunity to work with the United Purpose agency in charitable projects around the world, starting with Kenya; the winner of the Chair will be taking part in a literary festival in Cameroon; a new element to the Bryn Terfel Urdd Scholarship includes performing at international events in partnership with Wales Arts International. In addition, exciting plans were announced to turn the Pentre Ifan Urdd centre into a heritage and environmental centre and that Mistar Urdd will be the official mascot of Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games in 2022! Mistar Urdd also made a new friend, none other than the manager of the Welsh Football Team, Ryan Giggs, who announced his Welsh squad from the Eisteddfod on Wednesday.

There was a winner in all the main ceremonies, with Siriol Jenkins of Wiseman's Bridge winning the Composer’s Medal; Francesca Sciarrillo from Mold winning the Learner’s Medal, Mared Roberts from Pentre'r Bryn, near New Quay, and Cardiff winning the Drama Medal:  Iestyn Tyne, originally from Pen Llŷn, now living in Caernarfon, winning the Chair and Brennig Davies from Wenvoe winning the Crown.

The Urdd also announced the names of the lucky ones who will be performing at Disneyland Paris’ Welsh Festival next year: Lili Cet Williams, Ysgol Carreg Emlyn (Yr.2 and Junior Solo); Beca Hagan, Ysgol Gymraeg Morswyn (Yr.3 and 4 Solo); Alwena Owen, Ysgol Bro Teifi (Folk Song Years 6 and under); Elen Morlais Williams, Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf (Solo Folk Dance for Yr.9 and under) and Lili Mohammad (Solo from a Musical for Years 10 and under 19 years old).

Next year, the Urdd National Eisteddfod will be held in Denbighshire between 25 - 30 May.