Friday, September 14, 2007

Welsh speakers: Valerie Brent and Beryl Rowlands

Patients Reunion: Valerie and Beryl in the courtyard of Craig-y-nos Castle

In preparing the exhibition “Children of Craig-y-nos” I had overlooked one major change that's taken place in Welsh culture since I lived in Wales.

That is the growing significance of the Welsh language. When I was in school Welsh was never taught. Indeed you did your best to get rid of your Welsh accent and some girls had elocution lessons to make sure they left school without a trace of it.

Well, I am proud to say that did not happen in my case and I still have a Welsh accent, albeit one mixed in with a touch of Glaswegian.

It was Dr Carole Reeves who recognised the significance of the Welsh language so there was a rush to get all the captions translated into Welsh.

Now I thought with this resurgence in the language it would be easy. Not so. While many people speak Welsh they are less happy to commit themselves to writing it.

Eventually with the help of Cynthia Mullan and the Sleeping Giant Foundation people were found who did the translations for us.
Phew!....we all heaved a sigh of relief.

But our troubles were only beginning....television stations and radio stations came on all wanting to do interviews in Welsh....could we provide them with people who were fluent Welsh speakers who had been patients and staff in Craig-y-nos?

Step forward Valerie Brent, a teenage nurse in Craig-y-nos during the 1940s and Beryl Rowlands ( nee Richards) a patient in the mid 1950s.

So a special “thank-you” to Valerie and Beryl for representing the “Children of Craig-y-nos” in the Welsh media.

No comments: